Step 3: Finding Your Preceptors
The design of the USU Dietetic Internship provides interns with the opportunity to train close to home. Because of this, applicants planning to train OUTSIDE of Utah or as a UTAH-HYBRID are responsible for locating and securing facilities and preceptors willing to work with them during their internship. Preceptors must be secured by the time of application.
A preceptor is someone who is willing to mentor you through your rotations, teaching you what an RD might do, and evaluating your performance and ability to function as an entry-level dietitian. Your preceptor should be a professional appropriate for the facility where you will train.
Please read through the guidelines on the Preceptor/Facility Option List for detailed information on the types of facilities and preceptors that meet the requirements of the USU DI.
We have compiled a list of steps to guide you through the process of finding preceptors:
- Begin early! We recommend you start contacting potential preceptors in the early fall. This process can be time consuming, and you may hear no a few times before you hear yes.
- Do your homework. Be prepared to answer questions of potential preceptors.
- Create a list of potential preceptors or facilities.
- Use your resources and network of dietetics professionals. Talk to your DPD Director, the RD at the local hospital, the local school district food service director, etc.
- Contact members of the state or chapter affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Search for dietitians online. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a preceptor list available to student members.
- Contact USU DI gradutes in your area.
- The USU DI can provide you with a database of contacts for your state if there have been interns in that area. To request a database, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the name of the state where you would like to train. The preceptor database from USU DI does not include the name of every potential preceptor in your state. There is no guarantee that the preceptors you contact will be willing or able to train you.
- Please note: The USU DI will send preceptor databases starting October 1. Contact us on or after that date to request a database. Requests prior to that date will not be returned.
- Don't be afraid to contact someone who isn't on the preceptor database.
- A few things to keep in mind as you contact your list of potential preceptors:
- Do not assume the preceptors you contact will be willing or able to work with you.
- Be familiar with the application process, the timeline, important dates, and affiliation agreements, etc. Be prepared to explain these things because your preceptor may not understand the process or may not have worked with a distance internship before.
- Remember that the USU DI is available to answer questions throughout the application process. If you cannot find an answer to your question on the website, reach out to the USU DI.
- Start contacting and be professional!
- Contact potential preceptors by phone.
- Information you will need to share with potential preceptors:
- You are applying to the USU Dietetic Internship.
- You will be notified of your acceptance in the spring.
- They are making a committment to train you if you are accepted.
- Potential preceptors may ask you about a contract or affiliation agreements, these will be completed after you have been accepted into the USU DI. However, if a potential preceptor states that they cannot agree to precept you unless an affiliation agreement is in place, contact the USU DI for additional instructions and guidance.
- You can share a copy of this with them: Standard Affiliation Agreement Sample
- Potential preceptors may want to interview you and/or review your resume or experience. Dress professionally and approach the meeting like a job interview.
- Remember that they need to feel confident that this will be a good training partnership.
- Take a copy of the rotation syllabus and assignment guidelines for them to review or send them the appropriate rotation assignments descriptions below:
- Leave your contact information with them and follow up with them after your meeting.
- Make sure your communication with them is professional. Respond promptly to any emails they send you.
- Send them the link to the USU DI website.
- If they have questions that cannot be answered by visiting the USU DI website, provide them with contact information for the USU DI Faculty, or you may contact us and request that we contact them directly.
If you are planning to train in Southern California, please contact Lacie Peterson before contacting potential preceptors for your Community/WIC rotations.
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