Dietetic Internship

Immaculata’s full-time dietetic internship, currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, will give you 1,200 hours of supervised practice in a hospital, food service and community settings with an emphasis in cultural competence and diversity in dietetics practice. The dietetic internship will provide you with masters-level coursework, prepare you for the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) exam, and help you secure a job in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Following the successful completion of the supervised practice portion of the internship, you will receive a verification statement that will be submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for eligibility to take the national registration examination to be a registered dietitian nutritionist. You may continue to enroll full- or part-time to complete the master’s program in nutrition education.

This full-time internship begins in late August and can be completed in approximately 10 months. Course requirements are GEN 502, NED 645, 647, 655, 659, 662, 663 and 664 (24 credits). GEN 502, NED 645, 647 and 655 can be completed prior to acceptance into the internship or concurrently.

Please review the minimum qualifications and submit your application materials no later than the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) deadline.

Internship Mission and Goals

Mission Statement
The mission of the Immaculata Dietetic Internship is to prepare interns to meet the standards of performance for entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists; to promote a spirit of leadership and participation in service to the profession of dietetics and to the community; to encourage them to engage in lifelong learning; and with an emphasis on Cultural Competence and Diversity in Dietetics Practice, to empower them to assume useful and meaningful roles in a diverse world.

The mission of the DI is compatible with the mission of the university in encouraging lifelong learning and service. It is compatible with that of the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science in promoting a spirit of professional leadership.

Program outcomes data are available upon request.

Goals and Outcomes
Goal #1: The Dietetic Internship will prepare interns to become competent entry-level Registered Dietitians.

  • Outcome 1a—Program graduates will pass the registration exam with a target of 90% for the first attempt. This is both over a single year and as an average for five years.
  • Outcome 1b— Program graduates will pass the registration exam with a target of 95% for the one-year pass rate. This is both over a single year and as an average for five years.
  • Outcome 1c—93% of program graduates will obtain a position in the dietetics profession within one year after completion of the internship.
  • Outcome 1d—Beginning with the first cohort under the 2008 ERAs, 88% of interns will complete all program requirements within 150% of the time planned for completion (15 months for full-time and 20 months for part-time.) This is both over a single year and as an average for five years.
  • Outcome 1e—Beginning with the first cohort under the 2008 ERAs, 97.5% of all interns who begin the program will complete it; this is for an average over a five-year period and does not include interns who are unable to complete the program due to serious health issues or death.

Goal # 2: The Dietetic Internship will promote a spirit of service and continued learning.  

  • Outcome 2a—20% of internship graduates will actively participate in a professional organization within one year.
  • Outcome 2b—50% of internship graduates who do not already possess an advanced degree will complete Immaculata’s master’s degree program within five years after finishing the Dietetic Internship.
  • Outcome 2c—Based on self-described comfort level, 93% of internship graduates, beginning with the first cohort under the 2008 ERAs, will feel confident engaging with culturally and otherwise diverse persons and populations in both professional and personal activities.

The practice component of the internship is designed to respond to changes in the evolving profession of dietetics, to lead students to become translators of the theories and content of nutrition science to the public and other professionals, and to provide students with the opportunity to develop strong, appropriate entry-level dietetic performance skills through 1,200 hours of supervised practice in clinical dietetics, food service management, and community nutrition. The Internship begins in late August and can be completed full-time or part-time (three days per week).

Following the successful completion of the supervised practice portion of the internship, interns will receive verification statements, and their names will be submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for eligibility for the R.D. examination.  Students may continue to enroll full- or part-time to complete the master’s program (48 credits).

The Dietetic Internship is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 800-877-1600, ext. 5400, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Selection Criteria

Application Requirements

  • Completion or anticipated completion of an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics
  • Application and acceptance or pending acceptance to the College of Graduate Studies
  • Completion of the Dietetic Internship application via DICAS and submission of required information to D&D Digital Systems for computer matching.
  • Experience (paid or volunteer) in a food service or clinical setting
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.2 in DPD (on a 4.0 scale) *
  • Current Immaculata University graduate students must have a minimum grade of “B” in required courses and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

*May be waived for a student who has completed at least 12 graduate credits with a minimum GPA of 3.25.

Suggested Achievements for Application

  • 500-plus hours of experience (paid or volunteer) in clinical, food service and/or community nutrition setting
  • 50+ hours shadowing a clinical or out-patient registered dietitian nutritionist
  • Graduate coursework with excellent grades (A or A-)
  • Fluency in a foreign language or American sign language

Selection is based on:

  • Scholastic achievement
  • Work experience
  • Recommendations
  • Leadership ability
  • Written communication skills
  • Interview

A selection committee reviews applications and interviews candidates to make the final selections.

Application Information

DICAS Application
Immaculata participates in the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System. Applicants must submit their application via the DICAS portal. Information on GRE scores is not required and is not considered in Immaculata’s intern selection process. Completing the section on Awards, Experience, and Volunteer Activities is not required, but information entered will be used in evaluating applicants.

D&D Digital
All applicants to the Immaculata University Dietetic Internship Program must participate in computer matching. A $55 fee is charged by D&D Digital Systems for this service.

College of Graduate Studies Application
Applicants who are not currently enrolled in the College of Graduate Studies at Immaculata must complete the College of Graduate Studies application for Immaculata University. The application and fee must be submitted by February 15. References and a goals statement are not required; the information submitted to DICAS is utilized. Official transcripts do not need to be sent to the College of Graduate Studies until after candidates are accepted into the Internship or if they do not match with an internship and choose to pursue graduate coursework at Immaculata.

DICAS and Computer Matching

All applicants to the Immaculata University Dietetic Internship (DI) must submit their application via DICAS. The fee is $40 for the first application + $20 for each additional application. The application must be completed by February 15. The resume and personal statement of candidates who are accepted to the DI will be provided to their clinical and foodservice preceptors.

All applicants to the Immaculata University DI must also participate in computer matching. A $50 fee is charged by D&D Digital Systems for this service. Applicants can register online with D&D Digital to prioritize their dietetic internship preferences.  The deadline is 11:59 PM CST on February 15. Contact D&D Digital at dnd@sigler.com with any questions.

Applicants who are not current graduate students at Immaculata must complete an application to the College of Graduate Studies. These should be submitted online or postmarked or hand-delivered by February 15.

Courses

NED 659 Preparation for Internship (3 credits, pass/fail grading)
Requires acceptance into the Dietetic Internship Program. Provides an orientation to the internship process and requirements, and overview of topics and skills that will be applied to the internship experience. (Fall semester)

NED 662-664 Internship Experience in Nutrition I, II, III (3 credits each, pass/fail grading)
Includes a seminar class and placement as a full-time dietetic intern in a hospital/community setting (total of 1,200 hours). (Fall, spring and full summer semesters respectively for full-time interns. Fall, spring, full summer and fall respectively for part-time interns.)

REQUIRED COURSES
Dietetic interns are also required to complete the following courses, either concurrently with or prior to the internship, with a minimum grade of a B.

GEN 502 Methods of Research (3 credits)
This course is designed to examine comprehensive methodological approaches to qualitative and quantitative research. Rudiments of basic research process; skills in evaluating the research outcomes as valid, reliable and useful; and the application of this knowledge and skill in the creation of a simulated study are included. (Prerequisite: statistics course)

NED 645 Medical Nutrition Therapy I (3 credits)
The role of nutrition in various disease states. Physiology of organ systems and an examination of the application of therapeutic intervention in selected pathological states. (Fall semester)

NED 647 Applied Nutrition and Metabolism (3 credits)
Study of the biochemistry and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and their inter-relationships. (Prerequisites: GEN 502 Methods of Research may be taken concurrently with approval of department chair). (Fall semester)

NED 655 Medical Nutrition Therapy II (3 credits)
Examination of the role of nutrition in nutrition support and critical care in various disease states. (Spring semester)

Practicum Experiences

ROTATION DESCRIPTIONS
Clinical (68 days)
During the clinical rotation, interns progress from screening and assessing patients to providing medical nutrition therapy to patients with complex medical conditions. Interns function as members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team. The rotation culminates in staff relief when the intern performs as an entry-level dietitian. Major projects include completion of two case studies. The clinical rotation is completed in acute care hospitals or medical centers and includes at least two days of outpatient and four days of clinical pediatrics.

Foodservice (44 days)
The foodservice rotation provides experience in all aspects of foodservice operations and management. The interns participate in all foodservice sub-systems including procurement, production, distribution, service, and sanitation. Interns function as members of the management team through their involvement in employee training programs, human resource functions, quality control and customer satisfaction. Major projects include the development and implementation of a product, program or service plan and the completion of a QI project.

Community (38 days)
The community rotation provides exposure to the role of the dietitian in providing nutrition education, medical nutrition therapy, and management in non-acute care settings. Interns work in long-term care facilities, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics, school districts and supermarkets. The final eight days are at a setting (with the approval of the internship director) of the intern’s choice.

Rotation Sites

Interns are usually assigned to one facility for both the clinical and food service rotations. However, occasionally an intern may complete these rotations at different facilities. The following hospitals have been used as supervised practice facilities within the past few years. The sites may change yearly.

Clinical and Food Service Facilities

  • Abington Memorial Hospital
  • Chester County Hospital
  • Cooper Hospital University Medical Center
  • Lankenau Medical Center
  • Lancaster General Hospital
  • Lower Bucks Hospital
  • Mercy Philadelphia Hospital
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center
  • Pennsylvania Hospital
  • The Reading Hospital and Medical Center
  • Riddle Memorial Hospital
  • Temple University Health System
  • Veterans Administration Medical Center

Community Rotations

  • School districts
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Giant Supermarket
  • Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Clinics
  • Intern’s choice

Scheduling Internships

The dietetic interns are divided into six tracks based on whether or not they are full-time or part-time, whether they have completed the required graduate coursework, whether they have previous clinical work experience, and what scheduling constraints practice facilities have.

  • Tracks A and B: For students who are full-time and have completed the required graduate course work before beginning the internship. Track A begins in the foodservice rotation and B begins in the clinical rotation. Both tracks complete 30 days of the community rotation in the spring.
  • Tracks C and D: For students who are accepted into the full-time program with verification but have not completed the required graduate coursework before beginning the internship. They take courses in the fall and complete 30 days of the community rotation. In early December they begin either the foodservice (C) or clinical (D) rotations.
  • Tracks E and F: For students who are part-time.They complete 30 days of the community rotation in the fall. In early December they begin either the foodservice (E) or clinical (F) rotations. The schedule is the same whether they have completed the required graduate coursework or complete it during the internship.

All tracks complete eight days of a rotation of their choosing after completing the community, foodservice, and clinical rotations.

Sample Calendar Example

Estimated Costs

Internship Fee
The internship fee for the fall, spring and full summer semesters is $260 per semester. Part-Time Option will require an additional fall semester fee.

Tuition
Tuition is $710 per credit. Check with the College of Graduate Studies for tuition and fee updates.

Other Costs

  • Background checks are required for all interns. Cost is approximately $50 to $80.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics student membership is $58.
  • The cost for personal medical insurance will vary.
  • Costs for transportation, parking, meals, physical examinations, lab coats, etc. will vary according to facility.

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