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  • Dietetics Program overview

    The University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, in conjunction with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, offers a post baccalaureate Dietetic Internship designed to meet the competencies for entry level dietetics practice and to prepare students for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The internship has a Clinical Nutrition concentration and is housed within the Nutrition Services department of UK HealthCare.

    The program has been continuously accredited since it began in 1969. Our graduates have compiled a 97 percent first time pass rate in the last five years, and a 97 percent first time pass rate since the beginning of the program.

    The internship is a full-time, 10-month program that starts in August. It provides approximately 1250 hours of supervised practice. Supervised practice experiences are planned to provide a progression from the first week general orientation and direct supervision to working independently with little supervision based on a program of timely and routine feedback on performance. The program is fast-paced and rigorous requiring additional time outside of scheduled work hours to complete projects, homework, etc. Additionally, this internship requires strong time management and organizational skills, excellent study skills, and a high level of commitment to the education process.

    The program accepts six interns each year during the Spring match.

    Program mission

    The University of Kentucky Hospital Dietetic Internship program provides dietetic interns with a generalist education in hospital dietetics with an emphasis in clinical nutrition. Didactic and supervised practices experiences are integrated in the provision of patient care in the areas of clinical nutrition, food service administration, and community nutrition. Dedication to excellence in patient care is of the utmost concern and the education components of the internship program are integrated into the operation of the Nutrition department at both UKH and the VA. Guidelines for ethical practice are provided through class discussions and exposure to positive role models in the facilities, rural hospitals and community agencies, and professional organizations.  Interns are guided in developing organizational, time management and analytical thinking, and decision-making skills with an individual plan for life-long commitment to excellence and self-development.  Upon completion of the program, the intern is able to function as a competent, entry-level practitioner and is eligible to take the registration exam to become a Registered Dietitian.

    Program goals and objectives

    Goal 1: This program will prepare competent entry-level practitioners with a concentration in clinical nutrition who meet the performance standards in areas of clinical nutrition, management, and community nutrition.


    1. At least 85% of program graduates from the previous 5 years will achieve a first-time pass rate on the RD exam.
    2. The graduates from this program will exceed the national average for scores in the specific areas on the RD exam.
    3. At least 95% of all dietetic interns will successfully complete the program within 15 months (150% of the program length) of starting the program.

    Goal 2: This program will prepare the graduates for their professional goals of having employment in the dietetics profession or being enrolled in continuing education in graduate programs.


    1. Over a 5 year period, at least 70% of graduates who sought employment in dietetics will be employed within 12 months of program completion.
    2. Within 3 years of completion of the internship, at least 40% of graduates will have completed or will enroll with the intent to complete a Master Degree.
    3. At least 80% of employers of graduated interns will rate the intern’s performance as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5.

    *Bold = ACEND Required Objectives

    Program outcomes are available upon request.

    Accreditation status

    The University of Kentucky Hospital’s Dietetic Internship Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312-899-0040 ext 5400, http://www.eatright.org/ACEND.

  • FAQs

    Q: How many applications do we receive?  

    A: We receive an average of 71 applications for the 6 intern positions.  

    Q: What do we look for in an application (applicant)?

    A: We look for very good GPA and great work/volunteer experience. We honestly don't care if the applicant got paid for the experience (work) or not (volunteer), as we emphasize the learning from the experience. Letters of recommendation are very helpful. The individual letter from the applicant is very important. The letter should tell us about the person, not just list courses or accomplishments that we can find elsewhere in the application. It is the time to tell us why they think our program is a good match for their goals and a time to address any "hiccups" in the application. "Hiccups" might be sitting out a semester or having a poor GPA semester due to family illness or something like that. The interview is always a great time to make a good impression! 

    Q: Do we conduct interviews?

    A: We interview applicants that meet our criteria for admission via Skype. The interview can reinforce those candidates that might be "top picks" or might need to match another internship. 

    Q: What are some of the unique features of the program?

    A: The interns have 1:1 time with their preceptors on all rotations. We always try to allow the interns to observe procedures (EGD or heart cath for instance) as often as we can. This internship is also with the VA so we have unique rotations at both facilities. The VA has an excellent follow up system with clinics and telemedicine for instance, while at UK we have a three-week rotation for Pediatrics. 

    Q: Can interns have a job during the internship?

    A: No, outside employment is not allowed during the internship. We do not charge tuition and we offer a stipend of about $5,300 so that should be helpful with expenses. 

    Q: Is there any scheduled time off during the internship?

    A: There is one week scheduled for vacation during the Christmas season. 

    Q: Are interns responsible for their own living arrangements?

    A: Yes, interns make their own arrangements for living facilities. They will be on a list serve with other members of their intern class and can arrange to live with another student if they wish. They can contact the Lexington Chamber of Commerce for specific information about apartment complexes. 

    Q: What is a typical day during the internship?

    A: You will be working the same work schedules as your preceptor. Typically a day with the preceptor is 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Some preceptors work earlier shifts but the day with the preceptor is generally eight hours. You will be doing patient care with the preceptor and doing patient nutrition assessments, follow-up notes and education sessions. After your day at the hospital you will have between three and four hours of homework and projects each evening. This is definitely not an 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. internship. 

    Q: How much autonomy will I have with my preceptor?

    A: The preceptors are by your side during the first month or two, depending on your needs. As the internship progresses and your confidence, knowledge and abilities increase, so does your autonomy. The final three weeks of the internship is Staff Relief where you will actually take over patient assignments for the preceptors. 

    Q: Your website talked about going out of town for the community rotation. Can you tell me about that?

    A: The Community rotation is usually the final four weeks of the internship. Since UK and VA are high level acuity trauma centers, we lack the ability to show the interns what small hospitals, county health departments, WIC clinics, etc do on a daily basis. During Community you live in a more rural environment within the community to get a community "feel." Housing is provided for the interns during this month long rotation. You will go with county RDs to things such as diabetes cooking classes, school lunch programs, retirement facilities, WIC experiences and all other teaching opportunities. This is a unique opportunity for the interns and is often their favorite month of the internship. 

  • Contact information

    Whitney Sanders, MHA, RD, LD
    Manager, Nutrition Service
    Director, Dietetic Internship
    UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital
    800 Rose St., HP 507
    Lexington KY 40536-0293
    Phone: 859-323-5154
    E-mail: wmsand2@uky.edu 

Page last updated: 5/8/2015 2:14:18 PM
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