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Dietetic Internship:

WHAT TO EXPECT AND THE TRANSITION


FROM UNDERGRAD TO INTERN

Sean Servalish, Andrews University


Dietetic Intern
Overview:
The various rotations of the internship and my experiences at each.
How to successfully transition to an intern from your undergrad.
Advice for continued success from myself and other interns.
Andrews University Dietetic
Internship
The internship at Andrews has a heavier focus on Medical Nutrition Therapy
than most. It consists of:

7 weeks of Food Service Administration


2 weeks of Community Nutrition
16 weeks of Clinical Nutrition
2 weeks of Community Wellness
Food Service Administration
Overview: Working in a hospital food service scenario, you will learn
about managing employees, implementing new ideas for revenue,
scheduling, food safety and controlling a budget.
Projects: Menu design, Theme Meal, Performance Improvement,
Budget Review, Scheduling, New Product Implementation and in-
service presentation.
Biggest challenge: Seeing all aspects of the kitchen and food-
service operation to identify places where we can improve and
reduce the budget.
Most rewarding aspect: The atmosphere and people. You learn so
much in each rotation, much of it is more independent. But here you
have a huge team and staff that care about your success!
What did I learn? How to be a leader. Being kind and respectful to
everyone you work with, but at the same time not letting anyone
walk over you.
Community Nutrition
Overview: Community nutrition at Andrews consists of
WIC, school lunch and community wellness rotations, but
there are many places that you could spend some time
at if you are interested in more experience in a particular
company or aspect of community health.
Projects: Presentations for WIC, developing educational
materials, plate waste study and a middle-school
presentation.
Biggest challenge: I have very little experience with
kids and breastfeeding mothers. I was challenged to
break out of my comfort zone!
Most rewarding aspect: Children are a joy to work
with, you can work with preventative health in this field
more than others.
What did I learn? How important it is to learn your craft
in order to rise above communication barriers.
Clinical Nutrition
Overview: The largest field of the internship involves rotations from cardiac
to oncology to renal and diabetes outpatient. These rotations are spent in
hospital, long-term care facility and outpatient centers.
Projects: There are many handouts, education materials and rubrics to
complete, but the biggest ones are case studies (3 total) and the
performance improvement project.
Biggest challenge: The information load. There are so many medicines,
diseases and MNT aspects to learn in the medical field.
Most rewarding aspect: Getting to work with individual people and seeing
your interventions benefit their overall health and well-being.
What did I learn? How to have confidence in my undergrad education.
Success while Making the
Transition
1. Have confidence: you wont be an RD or a professional in your field quite yet, but you have
an education and the tools to succeed and change lives. Let it show through your voice and
poise.
2. Be open to constructive criticism: your preceptors are professionals and have been in the
field for some time now. Many of them will teach you things in different ways. Take their
advice and let it improve you.
3. Real People vs Book Scenarios: Remember that the people you work with are real and can
benefit from your advice and knowledge. These are no longer case studies in textbooks.
4. Stay organized: Projects, studying and a fast paced internship will make you feel
overwhelmed at times. Make the most of your down time and have concrete (but always
flexible) schedule to stay ahead of your work.
5. Dont forget why you choose this field: bring the passion that made you choose your
degree to work with you everyday. Always keep your goals in mind!
Advice for your
internship from interns
and RDs:
Preceptors are evaluating more than just your
knowledge level.
Impress your preceptors. Be punctual,
prepared and work hard. Many of them
may have the option of calling you first
when a job is available; and first jobs are
the most difficult to get!
-Michelle Litton, Dietetic Intern Louis Stokes VA, Clevel
Take care of yourself but break out of your comfort zone!

"Have a go-to stress reliever! The internship and school


will be stressful at times; new environments and new
expectations of you will do this! Exercise, read or
anything that suites you. But also, dont be afraid to
break from your comfort zone; you will learn so much
about yourself when you do.
-Taylor VanDyk, RDN: Corporate
Wellness Dietitian
Ask questions!!!

Your preceptors are there to field your


questions, so ask them. Dont do
something just because your preceptor
says to, ask Why?. You may not have this
luxury in future jobs!
-Caitlyn Skornia, Dietetic Intern: Central Michigan Univer
Write things down

You should be prepared prior to each


rotation with readings and studying of
relevant material. But write down things
you dont quite understand for later
research, you wont regret it!
-Marisa Brothwell, Dietetic Intern: University of Michigan Hospita
Advice from me:
1. Work hard but dont let it consume you, do things that make
you happy and relieve stress when you can!
2. Bring energy and enthusiasm everyday, no matter how
passionate you are about the specific rotation, or how tired you
are from the night before.
3. Be confident in your knowledge base but accept what you dont
know. You will have a college degree at this time, show it!
4. Have fun and keep an open mind! You will never get this
experience back. Take advantage of it, travel somewhere new
for it, and stay open to the many possibilities of your field.
Thank you!

Any questions?