Message from the Program Director

Thank you for your consideration of the University of Kentucky Hospital Dietetic Internship! This dietetic internship has been accredited since 1969 and has a long-standing history of excellence with a historical first-time exam pass rate of 90%. I can confidently say, as a graduate of this program myself, that if matched here you can expect a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding program that will undoubtedly prepare you to succeed as an entry-level registered dietitian.

As a UK Hospital Dietetic Intern, you will spend Monday through Friday during the workday in your various rotations. Your rotation schedule will be carefully curated to ensure a progression through various disease states and acuity levels. You can expect more guidance at the beginning of your clinical rotations, with increased autonomy as you progress, but you will always have the support of a 1:1 preceptor to intern ratio to help you as you complete nutrition assessments and follow-ups, educations, and navigate the nutrition care process in the large, academic medical center setting. You can also expect some exciting experiences and observation opportunities throughout your clinical rotations. You may have the opportunity to observe a living donor kidney transplant, a PEG placement, heart catheterization, a Modified Barium Swallow, or other procedures. You will attend interdisciplinary team rounds and have the chance to learn from other health professionals, as well as advocate for your patients’ nutritional status. You will shadow our RD-led Feeding Tube Placement Team to see how dietitians are advancing our profession through bedside tube placement. When the day is done, you can expect to work on homework assignments and other projects in the evenings that prepare you for a variety of patient settings, challenge your critical thinking skills, and help you apply nutrition principles that you learned in your didactic programs. You will expand your public speaking skills during the program by preparing and presenting patient case study presentations, as well as a journal club and hot topic presentation, to the staff.

A unique aspect of our program is that we pay you for the work you do each day. We value your contribution to our profession and the care you will provide our patients. We value diversity and inclusion in the field, and feel providing fair compensation is a critical part improving access for all to enter our profession. We also want you to be able to focus on your learning each day, without financial burdens weighing you down. We are thankful to UK leadership for their support in this effort.

One thing prospective interns often ask is what attributes we may be looking for in a successful intern. I always answer this question the same: be engaged and eager to learn every step of the way. Your preceptors have a wealth of knowledge and are excited to share it with you, and they will be even more excited to share if they sense your engagement in the material. We can teach you just about anything you need to know, but you are responsible for being teachable and engaged each day.

If you are interested in a clinically focused dietetic internship that will grow you both academically and professionally, this may just be the right one for you! Please take some time to browse the wealth of information on our website and attend one of our Open Houses. I am happy to answer any questions you may have and I wish you the best of luck during the application process!

Emily Bugay, MS, RD, LD, CCTD

Emily Bugay