Simmons College Dietetic Internship Program Mission: to graduate competent ethical entry level practitioners who build on evidence based research and standards of practice and standards of professional performance to provide nutritional care, health promotion and disease prevention that is culturally and economically sensitive. Our graduates will develop an appreciation for life-long learning to increase knowledge and enhance professional development.
Simmons College Dietetic Internship Program Goals
Since the profession of dietetics is built on a conceptual framework that is constantly changing as a result of the discovery of new operational principles, evidenced based research and standards of practice, the dietetic internship’s goals are:
Simmons College Program Goal #1
Prepare dietetic professionals for a career using their intellectual and clinical skills to function within a community nutrition health promotion and wellness setting, acute care setting, and food service management setting as an entry level practitioner.
Program Goal #1 Outcome Measures
- Over a five year period, 70% or more of DI graduates who seek employment in dietetics will be employed within three months of completing the internship.
- 80% of employers will rate graduates as strong or superior in nutritional knowledge and professional skills compared with other entry level practitioners.
- 100% of interns enrolled in the DI program will complete the program requirements within 50 weeks, or, 150% of the time planned for completion.
Simmons College Program Goal #2
Prepare entry-level dietitians to participate in continuous learning and professional development activities.
Program Goal #2 Outcome Measures
- Over a five-year period, the pass rate for DI graduates taking the registration examination for the first time will be at least 80%.
- At least 80% of graduates seeking acceptance to graduate programs in place of employment will enroll within 5 months of program completion.
- At least 80% of graduates will indicate they participate in continuing education and professional development activities.
Clinical/Acute Care Rotation (10 weeks)
Students will be placed in a hospital setting, preferably a community teaching hospital. The hospital should offer a variety of services to ensure a well-rounded and varied experience. Students are expected to gain experience in nutrition screening, charting, developing nutrition care plans, enteral and parenteral nutrition, and interacting with patients and health care professionals. In addition to a strong inpatient component, most affiliating agencies offer a wide variety of outpatient preventative health and educational programs on topics such as weight management, healthy heart, bone health, women’s health, pregnancy, lactation and childcare and complementary therapies.
Food Service Rotation (6 weeks)
Students are to spend time at the local department of public health or the regional office of the USDA so that they can observe and participate in policy development, education and training, program development and implementation, the legislative process, and research and epidemiology as it relates to nutrition and physical activity. The programs should emphasize development of strategies and programs for health promotion and disease prevention for children, adolescents, adults, elderly and families. Some of the nutrition-specific programs administered by the local department of public health could include maternal and child health education, healthy start, W.I.C., diabetes control, food stamp outreach, growth and nutrition, women’s health, fitness and physical activity promotion, and osteoporosis prevention.
Public Health Rotation (4 weeks)
Students spend time at the local department of public health or the regional office of the USDA so that they can observe and participate in policy development, education and training, program development and implementation, the legislative process, and research and epidemiology as it relates to nutrition and physical activity. The programs emphasize development of strategies and programs for health promotion and disease prevention for children, adolescents, adults, elderly and families. Some of the nutrition-specific programs administered by the department of public health could include maternal and child health education, healthy start, W.I.C., diabetes control, food stamp outreach, growth and nutrition, women’s health, fitness and physical activity promotion, and osteoporosis prevention.
Community Health Center Rotation (4 weeks)
Students rotate at a Boston area community health center which provides a multi-ethnic supervised practice experience. The assigned community health center is generally a non-profit, community-based organization that provides primary and preventive health care services to their communities, particularly the vulnerable and underserved populations. Students gain proficiency in providing nutrition counseling and education in an outpatient or community setting, with both individuals and groups, and become active participants in public health initiatives such as W.I.C. (Women, Infants and Children), Maternal and Child Health (MCH), and special programs that assist elders in leading independent lives. During this rotation, students can also work with community hunger agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries and food banks.
State Government/Non-Profit Nutrition Initiative Program Rotation (4 weeks)
Students are assigned to a 4-week experience in which they observe and participate in various activities involved in a federal and/or state funded nutrition-related programs. Examples of appropriate programs include food banks, 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 or an elderly nutrition program supported by federal and state funds. Student are placed in a site where they will be involved in observing and participating in the implementation of key nutrition services and policies 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.
Nutrition Counseling and Education Rotation (4 weeks)
Students are assigned to a four week experience in which they 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, eating disorder program, diabetes management program or any other site that focuses on preventative medicine, disease management, and overall health and wellness. Activities in this rotation include developing and presenting educational seminars, participating in community education programs, developing educational tools, and writing nutrition and exercise-related articles for the lay public.
Professional Practice Rotation (1 week)
This one week rotation occurs at the end of the internship. The rotation allows 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.