Practice Experiences

Professional learning experiences are provided in the areas of clinical nutrition, food service management, and community nutrition. These experiences are designed to prepare competent entry-level dietetic practitioners and to introduce clinical nutrition specialty areas.

Clinical Rotations

Starting with the 2024-2025 internship class, interns will spend 24 weeks in various clinical rotations throughout the University of Kentucky Hospital entity. Some of the rotations include medicine, surgery, oncology, pediatrics, variety of both adult and pediatric outpatient counseling, cardiology, nutrition support service and an intern selected staff relief. There will also be some specialty rotations offered such as the Behavioral Health Unit and adolescent medicine, both specializing in eating disorder treatment, and inpatient and outpatient treatment of solid organ transplant (kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, lung). As a Level 1 Trauma Center, you can expect to see a high acuity patient population.

Doctors in surgeryWhile interns will spend time in specific rotations, they will see a variety of patients on each rotation.

Medicine rotations will expose interns to patients with various disease states, which may include: diabetes, chronic kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, liver disorders, Crohn’s disease, GI disorders, transplant, and metabolic disorders.

Surgery rotations will expose interns to patients who have undergone various procedures, which may include: Whipple procedures, PEG/PEG-J placement, gastric resections/removal, small/large bowel resections and amputations.

Cardiology rotations will expose interns to patients with various cardiac conditions, which may include: acute myocardial infarctions, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart transplant, and patients in the cardio-thoracic intensive care unit.

Oncology rotations will expose interns to patients with various stages of cancer and various primary sites. Part of the rotation will include work on the Blood and Marrow transplant unit. Interns will also rotate through the outpatient Markey Cancer Center for a varied experience and broader understanding of the oncology RD role.

Transplant rotation will provide both an inpatient and outpatient experience to the intern. Interns will be able to provide pre- and post-transplant diet educations, be involved in the organ listing committee meetings, and learn specific CMS required documentation and policies regarding the transplant process. Solid organ transplant includes all the major organs: lung, heart, kidney, pancreas and kidney. There may also be the opportunity to observe a kidney transplant if the schedule permits.

Boy with stethoscopePediatric rotations will take place in the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Interns may have the opportunity to work with patients with failure to thrive, metabolic disorders, respiratory disorders, and lymphomas. Experience will also be provided in the pediatric intensive care unit. Interns may have the opportunity to work with pediatric patients on total parenteral nutrition. Interns may spend time with dietitians in the neonatal intensive care unit, metabolic disorder clinic, diabetes specialty clinic, and cystic fibrosis clinic.

Behavioral Health rotation will be included in the 3-week pediatric rotation. The intern will be exposed to inpatient therapy for eating disorders and other mental health conditions. Interns can expect to take part in care conferences and participate in group therapy activities provided by the RD.

Nutrition Support Service takes place in the intensive care units. UK is a level one trauma center, and interns can work in the following ICUs: Trauma, Medicine, Surgical and Neurosurgical. Interns will have the chance to work with patients on total parenteral nutrition with the pharmacy team.

Outpatient counseling will be a varied experience. Opportunities include the Clinic for sessions involving weight loss, diabetes, renal restrictions and cardiac diets, and experience in the ALS clinic. Other outpatient experiences include Transplant, Oncology, Adolescent Medicine, and a variety of pediatric specialties (Cystic Fibrosis, Metabolic, Renal, GI, high BMI clinic, pediatric oncology, NICU grad clinic, etc). Depending on the intern interest for pediatrics versus adults, these experiences can be customized.

Staff relief provides the intern with experience in prioritizing, planning, and implementing patient care. Specialty preferences are considered for each individual intern when assigning relief duties.

Food Service Management

Supervised practice experiences in the use of management skills and techniques required in the operation of an institutional food service are provided during food service management rotations.Food services

Interns spend four weeks gaining experience in purchasing and inventory management, food production and service, personnel management, marketing and merchandising, financial management, retail service, and employee training. Food service management experiences take place at UK Chandler Hospital and Fayette County Public Schools.

Community Nutrition

Interns spend four weeks in community-related supervised practice experiences. The setting is at a health care facility in a smaller Kentucky city and the community agencies in the surrounding area coordinated through the Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Doctor with man smiling

Learning activities vary by community, but include participation in public health programs, feeding programs and home health.

The setting is at a health care facility in a smaller city between 50 and 200 miles from Lexington. Transportation to their assigned location is the responsibility of the intern.

The intern will work and live in the community location during the four-week rotation. Typical locations might include (but not limited to) Hazard, Morehead, Pikeville, Mount Vernon or Benton, Kentucky.

Under AHEC guidelines, UK pays for lodging while the interns are at their community rotation. AHEC also pays for mileage for one round trip to their location. No additional travel money is given, nor is there a food allowance.