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Dietetic Internship Program





The program director and coordinator will conduct preliminary discussions with the new affiliating preceptors to ensure that students obtain the type of experience expected and supervision required, and to assess the affiliating supervisors willingness to complete written student evaluations.

Recruitment of affiliations is to be based on the ability of the sites to provide a variety of community-oriented experiences that encompass diverse ethnic, cultural, economic, political, and age-specific populations. This will ensure that students are prepared for the multitude of community-based employment opportunities available to dietitians.

The primary preceptor must be employed at the selected facility. He/she may be full- time at the sponsoring facility for full-time interns or part-time for a part-time intern (i.e. if a student splits their time between two sites). Each facility or practice must review and sign an affiliation agreement prior to the initiation of the student's rotation. Each preceptor spending time with the student must submit a resume or curricula vitae. He/she must have appropriate credentials and work experience to mentor the intern in the specified rotation.

Preceptor Responsibilities

The preceptor must:

  • Review all informational materials provided by Simmons College. They must have adequate time to supervise, mentor and evaluate the intern.
  • Ensure that the intern will be able to accomplish all the learning experiences outlined in the rotation materials.
  • Schedule all learning experiences for the intern during the specified rotation.
  • Provide feedback to the intern regarding observed strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis. The preceptor will conduct a performance evaluation of the intern and act as the point of contact in the facility with the dietetic internship director and coordinator.
  • Agree to fulfill the curriculum and abide by the policies and procedures of the Simmons College Dietetic Internship Program.
  • Have a computer with internet access.

Simmons College Dietetic Internship Director and Coordinator Responsibilities

  • The faculty at Simmons College will:
  • Provide curriculum and evaluation materials, and issue a contract between Simmons and the given facility.
  • Contact the preceptor and intern periodically to discuss rotation experiences.
  • Participate in the joint dietetic internship days where appropriate.
  • Interview enrolled dietetic interns at the end of their experience to assess whether program modifications are necessary. Preceptors will also be contacted at the end of their experience with the Simmons College Dietetic Interns to discuss their experience and to elicit suggestions for program modifications.
  • Be available for consultation and troubleshooting for issues such as student-preceptor conflicts, communication and scheduling problems, discipline problems, and any other issues that may arise during the various rotations.

Acute Care Rotation (10 weeks)

The hospital should offer a variety of services to ensure a well-rounded and varied experience, including inpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services for pediatrics and adults, emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services, and/or outpatient nutritional services and clinics. Students should gain experience in nutrition screening, charting, developing nutrition care plans and interacting with patients and health care professionals. Students will work on simpler tasks to the more complex. In addition to a strong inpatient component, it is advantageous for a facility to offer a wide variety of outpatient preventive health and educational programs on topics such as weight management, healthy heart, bone health, women's health, pregnancy, lactation and childcare, alternative medicine, etc.


The preceptor must be a registered dietitian. The preceptor must be available to the student during the time that they are at the facility. In other words, there must be at least one full time dietitian available to the student at all times. It is also valuable if the facility has diet technicians so the student can supervise their work.

Food Service Rotation (6 weeks)

Students will learn how a foodservice operation functions and will begin to develop management skills through observation and practice. Students will also become familiar with regulations and procedures that are required by the state.


The preceptor must be a registered dietitian, food service director and/or food service supervisor.

Public Health Rotation (4 weeks)

Students are to spend time at the local department of public health so that they can observe and participate in policy development, education and training, program development, program implementation and research as it relates to nutrition. The programs should emphasize development of strategies and programs for health promotion and disease prevention for children, adolescents, adults, elderly and families.


The main preceptor for this rotation is a registered dietitian or a nutrition professional. However, it is expected that students will spend time with other health care professionals during this rotation.

Community Health Center Rotation (4 weeks)

The community health center will generally be a non-profit, community-based organization that provides primary and preventive health care services to their communities, particularly the vulnerable and under served populations. Students will gain proficiency in providing nutrition counseling and education in a multi-ethnic or community setting, with both individuals and groups. During this rotation, students can also work with community hunger agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries and food banks.


It is preferred that the main preceptor for this rotation is a registered dietitian. The preceptor may also be a WIC supervisor. However, it is expected that students will spend time with other health care professionals during this rotation.

State Government-based Nutrition Initiative Program Rotation (4 weeks)

Students are required to arrange a 3-week experience in which they will observe and participate in various activities involved with a federal and/or state funded nutrition-related program. Examples of appropriate programs include food banks or kitchens, congregate meal programs, home-delivered meal programs, AIDS clinics, and other nutrition-based programs for the homeless, pregnant women and their families and the elderly. Statewide or local programs focusing on childhood and adult obesity are another possibility. Students will be involved in observing and participating in key nutrition services including provision of nourishing meals to all individuals across the lifespan, nutrition screening, assessment, education, and counseling to ensure that individuals achieve and maintain optimal nutritional status.


It is preferred that the main preceptor for this rotation is a registered dietitian. However, it is expected that students will spend time with other health care professionals during this rotation.

Private Practice Nutrition Education and Counseling Rotation (4 weeks)

Students will observe and participate in client and patient nutrition education and counseling. Students can spend their time with a private practice dietitian, a fitness or wellness facility with a nutrition component run by a registered dietitian, a corporate wellness program, a medical practice, dialysis center, eating disorder program, diabetes management program or any other site that focuses on preventive medicine, disease management, and overall health and wellness. Activities in this rotation include developing educational seminars, writing articles for the lay public, community education programs, and developing educational tools.


It is preferred that the main preceptor for this rotation is a registered dietitian. However, it is expected that students will spend time with other health care professionals during this rotation.

Research and Professional Practice Experience (1 week)

This one week rotation will occur at the end of the internship. The rotation will allow the student to complete an ongoing research project and visit a site for opportunities that were not available during the time of an assigned rotation.


The dietetic internship director/coordinator will precept students working on a research project. A registered dietitian or food service manager may also fulfill the role of preceptor depending on the learning activity of the student.