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USU interns at orientation

Utah State University Dietetic Internship

The USU DI provides supervised practice experience to qualified students that have completed their DPD requirements. Students that successfully complete an accredited DI and obtain a DI Verification Statement from their internship director, will then be eligible to sit for the CDR registration examination (national registration exam).

During thirty-one (31) weeks, or approximately eight (8) months, of supervised practice experience, interns will complete 1240 hours in clinical nutrition, school food service management and community nutrition rotations. Upon completion of the internship, interns will be eligible for graduation and ready to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The USU DI is a full time internship, thus interns are expected to complete a minimum of 36-40 practice hours per week. The USU DI curriculum consists of a combination of hands-on training and didactic online courses. 

To graduate, USU DI interns must:

  • Successfully complete the 31 week, or eight months, program (1240 practice hours) that consists of experience in clinical, community, and foodservice management
  • Complete all internship assignments, activities, projects, quizzes and exams demonstrating achievement of all required Core and Concentration Competencies
  • View the Graduation, Program Completion Requirements Policy for complete details

Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (AND) Student Center for more information on how to become a registered dietitian. This resource will help you clarify what is required, what programs are available, and how to begin based on your stage of life and long-term goals. 


Orientation Week — 40 practice hours (1 week)

All interns will come to Salt Lake City, Utah for a 4-day orientation. This is typically held the first full week in June of each year. All interns will attend this Orientation week regardless of when they begin their internship (Summer, Fall, Spring). This week is an opportunity for the interns to meet the USU DI faculty, get to know one another, prepare to start and function in their internship, and to have fun while learning! During the course of the week, interns will participate in workshops and lectures to prepare for the internship. Further information will be provided to interns after acceptance to the internship.

Pre-Orientation Week Lectures & Assignments:

Orientation Week workshops and lectures will prepare interns to function in their internship rotations appropriately. To ensure that the time spent at Orientation Week is meaningful, interns will complete some lectures and assignments before coming to Orientation.  

  • Mission, Goals & Outcome Measures
  • Policies & Procedures Review
  • Performance Requirements
  • OSHA & HIPAA Training
  • Pre-Orientation Ethics
  • Referencing Standards
  • Nutrition Support Basics
  • Malnutrition Simulation
  • Nutrition Care Process

Orientation Week Lectures, Assignments & Activities:

  • Rotation & Curriculum Overview
  • RD Exam Overview
  • Nutrition Support Basics Practice
  • Professional Attributes Team Project
  • Nutrition-Focused Physical Exams
  • Nutrition Care Process & Case Study
  • Online Program(s) Overview

Post-Orientation Week Assignments:

  • Orientation Quiz
  • Library Resources Quiz
  • Post-Orientation Survey
  • Orientation Week Worksheets

Clinical Nutrition Rotation — 520 practice hours (13 weeks)

The clinical nutrition rotation allows dietetic interns the opportunity to work with clinical dietitians who provide care for patients and at all levels of nutrition risk. The final two weeks of the inpatient rotation will be reserved for the clinical staff relief experience which will allow the intern to function as an entry-level dietitian and perform the normal daily workload and tasks of a dietitian in that setting. The intern will work closely with his/her preceptor and participate in nutritional screening, assessment, education and implementation of nutrition care process in acute and long-term care clinical facilities. The interns will also work with outpatient dietitians to provide nutrition education, counseling, and other interventions in health promotion/disease prevention for patients/clients needing medical nutrition therapy for common conditions. 

Clinical Nutrition Rotation Breakdown:

  • Inpatient Clinical (IPC) — 6 weeks
    • Clinical Staff Relief — 2 weeks 
  • Long-term Care (LTC) — 2 weeks
  • Outpatient Clinical (OPC)  — 3 weeks

The specific order or timing of the different clinical components is flexible (i.e. OPC can be completed prior to IPC, during IPC, or after IPC); the staff experience is generally completed at the facility the intern completes his/her IPC rotation and can be completed after the IPC is finished or after both, the IPC and OPC, are finished. The LTC component can be done in a number of types of facilities, see the Preceptor/Facility Option List, and may actually be at the same facility where you complete your IPC rotation.

Community Nutrition Rotation — 240 practice hours (6 weeks)

The community nutrition rotation consists of the public health nutrition and school nutrition education (SNE) rotations. The SNE rotations will be completed during the food service systems management rotation. Please refer to the section below for complete details on SNE rotation expectations, curriculum, and breakdown.

The community nutrition rotation (160 practice hours or 4 weeks) gives interns the opportunity to experience the role of the dietitian within a local community setting, typically a WIC clinic. The intern will develop and present a classroom lesson for WIC clientele or present an in-service for the clinic staff, and review the policies and procedures operating within a WIC clinic. The intern will learn about legislation as it affects public health nutrition programs. While the intern can also work with other community programs such as EFNEP, local food banks, and county extension agencies for part of this rotation, at least ONE week must be completed at a WIC clinic.

Community Nutrition Rotation Breakdown:

  • Public Health Nutrition — 4 weeks
  • School Nutrition Education — 2 weeks (please refer to the FSSM rotation info for complete details)

Food Service Systems Management (FSSM) — 440 practice hours (11 weeks)

This food service systems management rotation will take place in a school district that participates in the National School Lunch Program. At the district level, the intern will rotate through purchasing and inventroy, foodservice in the elementary and secondary schools, food production, administration, and a foodservice management staff experience. 

School Nutrition Education (SNE) — 80 practice hours (2 weeks)

Although SNE is part of the community rotations, it is completed at the same time as the FSSM rotation and at the same school district where the FSSM rotation is completed. During these practice hours the intern will observe teachers in the classroom prior to teaching nutrition education classes to elementary and secondary school students. These hours will be completed intermittently throughout the FSSM rotation.

FSSM and SNE Rotation Breakdown:

  • Purchasing & Inventory — varies
  • Food Production — varies
  • Food Service — varies
  • Administration — varies
  • FSSM Leadership Experience — 2 weeks
  • School Nutrition Education — 2 weeks

It is not expected that each FSSM component will be done independently of the other FSSM components. This breakdown gives general guidelines of the approximate amount of experience needed in each of the areas, not necessarily the order in which components should be completed. For example, it is not realistic to think interns will work on purchasing and inventory strictly for one week; rather, it is assumed that the different FSSM components of the rotation and SNE rotation will be mixed together and completed concurrently. The intern will spend a total of 13 weeks in the school district.