If you would have told me by first job after becoming an Registered Dietitian would have been in the middle of a pandemic and a revolution I would have laughed IN YOUR FACE. Never in my life could I have pictured such a painfully unique experience but that was and is my reality.
I started working exactly a month ago at an outpatient clinic in the Bronx and it’s nothing and everything I expected. I interned at this clinic when I was doing my dietetic internship, for 6 months, and during that time I was able to get the vibe of the site. They are a “whatever it takes” type of workplace so I knew during the pandemic they were going to make sure to continuing doing just that.
My first week my boss threw me in there as kindly as they could into what has become my main responsibility which is the emergency food pantry. This pantry operates year round for patients of the clinic and dates back many, many years but with COVID19 it was kicked up into high gear. The women working the pantry during the pandemic have been PUT 👏🏼TING 👏🏼IN 👏🏼THAT 👏🏼 WORK 👏🏼 To date they’ve delivered over 10,00 meals to patients in the Bronx and the neighboring boros. THEY AND EVERY TEAM MEMBER HELPING THEM ARE AMAZING AND DESERVE ALL THEIR FLOWERS.
All that being said the environment in the clinic is eerie, exam rooms that are normally bustling with people are empty and quiet, smiles are nonexistent because we have to wear a mask all day, lunch with your peers is no longer a thing because three chairs max are allowed in the lounge rooms in an effort to keep up with social distancing, staff are staggered so you don’t really see everyone, and we have daily meetings via zoom to discuss how the day went which end with a daily song.
In light of the current Black Lives Matter movement we’ve been having moments of transparency to discuss antiracism through a healing circle and weekly writing prompt. The whole thing is just really bizarre. In one hand it’s amazing to see how well everyone has adapted but at the same time it’s like is this going to be our reality for the foreseeable future? The answer is likely yes 🥴
So what’s my main task at work? Well since I’m not seeing patients right now I am mostly in charge of getting food to the patients. Written out it doesn’t sound like a lot but let me tell you the amount of steps it takes to get those bags into the hands of families is a lot and it’s HEAVY! But it’s so worth it when you get thank you messages from folks getting their bags.
Because of the virus I’m also working from home most days which is something I’d never expect to say from this job and that has honestly been the hardest part. Living in a studio and having to make calls while your partner and dog sleep is challenging but thankfully they are both understanding. Another challenge with WFH that I didn’t expect is the feeling of having to compensate, mostly for being the new girl. I find myself working past lunch and forgetting to drink and eat because I want to be productive and feel ‘worthy” of working there, especially with a team that is just always on point.
The amazing team I work with is made up of “traditional” RD Type A personalities, perfectionists and lots of Virgo energy. I am neither of those things so I always feel like I have to do a little more. Some of that is imposter syndrome, a lot of it is anxiety. I try to remind myself of those things and take a deep breath and realize that is NOT the reality.
On days that I am working on site I do find it harder to go things at home both for the blog and for my clothing line. It’s been really hard to get motivated to do things during the time of ‘rona now with work, that is very labor intensive btw, it’s much harder than normal. I’m working on creating systems to help me be more focused but honestly I just haven’t had the energy, but I feel it creeping back, so that’s good.
Overall the experience of working for the first month as an RD has been good, though it’s under a completely unique and unfortunate circumstance I am grateful to be in such a welcoming, progressive and supportive environment. BUT DON’T GET IT TWISTED, it’s not all peaches and plants there are issues that we are all advocating for, especially as it relates to anti-racism and securing enough PPE for all staff.
I am looking forward to the months to come where we continue to navigate the world with the pandemic and move forward to get more patients in the door and cared for. For now I’m content where we are at and I am looking forward to my first telemedicine encounter!
Have any questions about my experience so far as an RD, let me know in the comments below.
Oh and one more thing before I go, phantom mask is a thing. After wearing a mask for 8+ hours once you take it off you’ll find yourself watching TV thinking you got a mask on ‘cause you feel it on your face 😂
stay safe comadres, love you.
ZariGee the RD