Daisuke Yoshida, M.S., R.D.N.
Daisuke Yoshida completed his dietetic internship through the UC Davis Medical Center in August 2017. He now works at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula as both an inpatient clinical dietitian and an outpatient dietitian. He also serves as an adjunct nutrition instructor at the Monterey Peninsula College. Daisuke graduated from Colorado State University with a Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition. Prior to his nutrition studies, Daisuke received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of California, Davis before working abroad in Japan for three years in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program as a language teacher and prefectural advisor.
Interviewer: Prior to starting UC Davis Medical Center's dietetic internship what were your career goals?
Mr. Yoshida: My career goal was to become an oncology dietitian to help cancer patients like my father and their caregivers. During graduate school, I had an opportunity to speak with a private practice oncology dietitian and became deeply interested in and inspired by their line of work, especially developing and holding cooking classes to teach oncology patients and their families how to create and enjoy nutritious meals during chemo/radiation therapy.
Interviewer: When the year was done and you had completed the internship, did your career goals change? If so, how?
Mr. Yoshida: My career goals did not entirely change. Instead the internship strengthened and confirmed my decision to become an oncology dietitian, but specifically in the outpatient setting. One of the best experiences that I had during my internship was working with the registered dietitians at the Comprehensive Cancer Center; they taught me some of the most important lessons as a future dietitian.
Additionally, the internship showed me the importance and benefits of getting a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) certification, which is something I am currently working on and hope to achieve in the near future. Diabetes is a common comorbidity with many chronic diseases (also prevalent among oncology patients), and I want to take an active role in its prevention and management by becoming a more knowledgeable educator.
Interviewer: What was the greatest lesson you took away from your year long internship?
Mr. Yoshida: The greatest lesson I learned from my internship experience was no matter how small your role or action may be, you can be a huge difference or make a significant impact on a patient. I will always remember my case study patient who I helped transition from tube feeding to an oral diet. Prior to being discharged, this patient thanked me for being part of his medical care team and my simple act of incorporating his favorite foods into his meals. He shared with me that after being approved to eat orally, having a bite of his favorite foods brought some joy to him and made his hospital stay a little better. My role was small, but my simple intervention made a large impact on this patient from an emotional perspective.
To this day, this lesson is something I embrace and keep in mind that every intervention we recommend or do for our patients as registered dietitians is making a difference in some shape or form.
Interviewer: What is your favorite memory from your internship class year?
Mr. Yoshida: My favorite memory would be the theme meal event that my intern-mates and I developed, organized, and executed during our food service rotation. Although it was stressful and tiring, it was still a fun experience for me to collaborate with the executive chefs and all of the food service staff who were very supportive and it was very rewarding to see our recipes enjoyed by so many people.
And of course, many of my other favorite memories are the times spent with my intern-mates outside of and within the hospital. I'm so grateful to be part of the same class with the individuals I studied and worked with!
Interviewer: What was your greatest accomplishment during your internship year?
Mr. Yoshida: One of my greatest accomplishments during my internship experience was being able to contribute my expertise or knowledge and provide my recommendations at a family meeting for an oral cancer patient. During my staff relief rotation, I managed the oncology and bone marrow transplant floor on my own and was asked one day by the discharge planner to come and attend a family meeting about a patient's plan of care. At the meeting, the pharmacist, social worker, attending nurse, physician, and I all took turns to share our recommendations with the patient and family to help improve the patient's quality of life and care. I felt very honored to share my suggestions as the nutritional expert of the team. It was a great accomplishment for me because after all the training and studying during my internship, I was now able to implement the knowledge and skills I learned and acquired into practice and be recognized as the nutrition expert at that very moment. This small accomplishment helped me realize that I am glad that I chose the path of a dietitian and be able to contribute to the advancement of quality patient care.
Interviewer: Since graduating, where has your career path taken you? How did the internship help guide you towards this career pathway?
Mr. Yoshida: Since graduating, I returned back to my hometown in the Central Coast and currently work at the hospital that I used to volunteer at. I have been very fortunate to work as a dietitian in all three major realms of dietetics: clinical, community, and food service. As a clinical dietitian in the inpatient setting, I collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive care to patients in various units including general medicine, rehabilitation, cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology, bariatric and general surgery, and behavioral health. In the outpatient setting, I provide nutrition counseling and wellness coaching and teach classes on various nutrition-related topics to patients and the general public. In food service, I help modify therapeutic diet orders and develop new recipes to better meet patients’ nutritional needs. Additionally, I teach introductory nutrition at a local community college as well serve as a Super User in supporting my colleagues in learning and utilizing EPIC, which was implemented at my hospital in August 2018.
The UCDMC’s dietetic internship has helped me greatly by providing me with a robust, all-around experience and training in the three major areas of dietetics. Each of my rotations has prepared me for the tasks that I am now performing. In other words, they have prepared me to become a versatile, well-rounded dietitian.
Interviewer: If you could give any piece of advice to future and graduating interns, what would it be?
Mr. Yoshida: Future interns: Be sure to make yourself a well-rounded candidate by focusing on your academics, volunteering a lot in various fields of dietetics, and simply networking with current and aspiring dietitians. The more exposure you have to the world of food, nutrition, and dietetics will help open additional doors and opportunities in finding the right internship site for you. It will also help determine what kind of dietitian you may want to be.
Graduating interns: I recommend you take your registered dietitian exam within the first month or two after graduating so you can get it out of the way immediately. Additionally, if you already have an idea of what kind of dietitian you want to be or have an area of interest you want to work in, start looking and submitting applications to potential employers during the last few months of your internship. But overall, congratulate yourself on your amazing achievement and enjoy your career as a registered dietitian!