Dietetics Internship Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How many applications does your program typically receive each year? How many interns are accepted?
A: For the 2021-2022 internship class, we received 40 applications for the six intern positions.
Q: What do you look for in an application (applicant)?
A: We look for a very good GPA (minimum total GPA of 3.20 or greater) and great work/volunteer experience in the nutrition/dietetics field. We don't care if the applicant got paid for the experience (work) or not (volunteer), as we emphasize the learning from the experience. Involvement in extracurricular activities is also considered. Letters of recommendation are very helpful and should best illustrate your capabilities as a future dietetic intern. The personal statement is very important as it tells us more than what is already contained in the application. The interview is the final component that we take into consideration.
Q: Is this program a Master’s Combined Internship?
A: No. The completion of a Master’s Degree is required for acceptance into the program.
Q: What makes a good personal statement?
A: Your personal statement is very important and should be well-written, including correct spelling and grammar. It should tell us about you as a person, and not just list courses or accomplishments that we can find elsewhere in the application. It is the time to tell us why you think our program is a good match for your goals and a time to address any “hiccups” or gaps in the application. These might include taking a semester off or having a poor GPA in one semester.
Q: What is the GPA requirement?
A: Applicants must have a minimum total GPA of 3.20 to be considered for our program. Traditionally, our interns have very competitive GPAs. The 2020-2021 internship class had an average DPD GPA of 3.86.
Q: Do you conduct interviews?
A: We interview top applicants that meet our criteria for admission via Zoom. The number of applicants interviewed each year varies based on the applicant pool we receive that year. The interview is an opportunity to answer any of your questions about the program, as well as allow the selection committee to get to know the applicant.
Q: What is your concentration emphasis?
A: Our internship concentration is Clinical Nutrition.
Q: What are some of the unique features of the program?
A: The interns have one-on-one time with their preceptors for all rotations. We encourage interns to observe procedures (bedside feeding tube placement, modified barium swallow procedure, or heart cath for instance). The VA partnership allows for many unique rotations at both facilities. The VA has an excellent follow-up system with clinics and telemedicine, while UK has a three week Pediatrics rotation.
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 rotation, interns live in a more rural environment within the community. Housing is provided for the interns during this month long rotation. Experiences may include diabetes cooking classes, school lunch programs, retirement facilities, WIC experiences and other teaching opportunities. This is a unique opportunity for the interns and is often their favorite month of the internship.
Q: What is a typical day during the internship?
A: Interns work the same schedules as their preceptors. 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. During the work day, interns provide patient care with the preceptor and complete nutrition assessments, follow-up notes and education sessions. After a day at the hospital, interns 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: Do interns meet for class?
A: Interns have class once a week for approximately one-and-half hours. The director uses class time to cover topics that will prepare the interns for upcoming rotations and/or future career opportunities. It is also a time for the group to touch base, talk about how things are going, and address any questions or concerns.
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 before the Community rotation is Staff Relief, where you will actually take over patient assignments for the preceptors.
Q: Do interns get to attend professional meetings?
A: Yes! The interns have the opportunity to attend local and state academy meetings.
Q: Do interns work on weekends?
A: Not typically; the general work schedule is Monday through Friday.
Q: Can interns have a job during the internship?
A: Outside employment is discouraged due to the rigor of the program. To help offset this, we do not charge tuition and we offer a stipend of about $1,900 to help with expenses.
Q: Is there any scheduled time off during the internship?
A: There is one week scheduled for vacation during the Christmas season. Interns also get official holidays off when they occur during the week.
Q: Are interns responsible for their own living arrangements?
A: Yes, interns make their own arrangements for living facilities. They will be on a listserv with other members of their intern class and can arrange to live with another student if they wish.
Q: Do you offer a review course for the Credentialing Exam for Dietitians?
A: We do not offer or require a review course for the RD Exam. We leave the decision on whether to take a review course up to the individual intern, however we highly recommend our interns take one. Review courses teach for the exam, while our internship prepares graduates for an entry-level position.
Q: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply to your program?
A: Yes. Due to our relationship with the VA Medical Center, only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply and be accepted to our program.