Tips for Securing Rotations

In a distance dietetic internship the intern has the opportunity to identify preceptors and create their own rotation schedule. The BWS DI encourages interns to complete the clinical rotation early in their internship year to provide them with the confidence and knowledge necessary to excel in subsequent rotations. When building a schedule, it is helpful to schedule rotations that build on previous skills. 

When searching for potential rotation sites, a good place to start is your local chapter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Become a student member and reach out to RDNs in your area to establish connections. Utilize LinkedIn to find dietitians in your geographic area. Reach out to previous interns and advisers if you need help getting started finding contacts. Reach out to family and friends who are professionals in a health care setting. Try to network in the community as much as you can. It is helpful to reach out to nutrition managers and other RDN’s in various organizations and agencies. Make sure the preceptor’s needs and expectations fulfill the required hours and objectives.

The clinical rotation can be difficult to secure in some areas. It is advisable to begin your search early, and plan on reaching out to many locations. Contact the director of nutrition services or nutrition manager directly if possible. If emails do not elicit a response, follow up with a phone call. Be persistent with your search for a clinical rotation!

If you would like to discuss potential rotation sites with a member of our faculty team, please email bwsdi@bewellsolutions.com for further information.

Options for Rotation Site Selection

Clinical Rotation (320 hours)

When scheduling a clinical rotation, your primary preceptor must be a registered dietitian. Any clinical dietitian practicing Medical Nutrition Therapy is acceptable for supervised practice experience in a clinical setting. Try to find a facility that utilizes the nutrition care process and ADIME notes, PES statements, and/or other electronic charting creating nutrition care plans. The facility should allow direct interaction with patients and other members of a multi-disciplinary, inter-professional health care team. Outpatient rotations are acceptable; we strongly recommend pairing an outpatient placement with an inpatient experience. The preceptor must be a registered dietitian.

Options may include, but are not limited to:

  • Community hospitals
  • Medical centers
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Pediatric hospitals
  • Primary care outpatient clinics
  • Federally qualified health centers

Additional Options for a partial rotation may include:

  • Bariatric clinics
  • Dialysis centers
  • Behavioral health/mental health facilities
  • Inpatient eating disorder programs

Community/Public Health Rotation (160 hours)

It is important to develop skills such as communication, program development, assessment, counseling, public speaking, management, and being a part of an interdisciplinary team. The community and public health rotation is a good way to harness a variety of skills needed as an RDN.  It is helpful if you can find resources to learn grant writing, involvement in public policy and legislation, if possible. During this rotation the preceptor is often a registered dietitian, but may also come from a public health background. Site options include community settings that focus on wellness and disease prevention.

Example rotation sites include, but are not limited to:

  • WIC
  • State, county or local public health departments
  • National public health agencies (CDC, USDA)
  • University cooperative extension programs
  • SNAP-ed or EFNEP
  • Healthcare industry associations (American Heart Association, American Cancer Society)
  • Food banks
  • Grocery store/supermarket chains
  • YMCAs
  • Head Start programs
  • Health-related children’s camps
  • Health-related nonprofit agencies
  • Office for the Aging
  • Meals on Wheels

Foodservice Rotation (80 hours)

The Foodservice rotation should provide the intern with a variety of experiences including communication, budget development, quality assurance and monitoring, menu and recipe development, menu analysis, menu cost, exposure to foodservice equipment, as well as sanitation and safety procedures. It is strongly preferred that the preceptor is a registered dietitian, but some preceptors may have backgrounds in culinary science or management.

Example rotation sites include, but are not limited to:

  • School foodservice
  • Hospital / medical center foodservice
  • Long term care / sub-acute clinical foodservice
  • College/university dining services
  • Corporate dining services
  • Consulting organizations serving any of the above
  • Food manufacturing companies serving any of the above
  • Catering or prepared meals companies with a nutrition focus

Wellness rotation (320 hours)

The wellness rotation should give the intern skills in communication, an overall understanding of health and wellness, social marketing, management, strategic planning, and development of public educational materials. The wellness aspect should focus on disease prevention. It is strongly preferred that the preceptor is a registered dietitian.

Example rotation sites include, but are not limited to:

  • Corporate wellness companies such as Be Well Solutions
  • Companies with established in-house wellness programs
  • Universities providing wellness programming to staff and/or students
  • Military bases
  • Hospitals or community organizations providing wellness programs
  • Insurance companies with a focus on preventative wellness
  • Employee assistance programs (EAP)
  • Benefits brokers providing wellness services and guidance to clients
  • Large fitness / athletic clubs
  • Nutrition and wellness private/group practices serving corporate clients

Emphasis rotation (160 hours)

The emphasis rotation is meant to be a time during which the intern can focus on a special experience customized to their interests and future career goals. Interns may choose to explore an area of interest to broaden their knowledge base and skills. It is strongly preferred that the primary preceptor is a registered dietitian.

You may use this rotation to gain experience in pediatrics, sports nutrition, the private practice sector, outpatient counseling, diabetes management, eating disorders or any other area of interest to you. The emphasis rotation is not required; you may also use 160 flex hours to extend one or more previous rotations for a more in-depth experience.

For more information regarding securing rotations or preceptors, see the ACEND website: http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485529