Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meeting the need for dietetic professionals

Deb Myers, RD, LD, Ed.D.
Guest blog by Deb Myers, dietetics program director

Bluffton University will be opening its own dietetic internship beginning in August 2012, and I’m really excited about it. It’s been a dream we’ve had for a long time!

A dietetics internship is an accredited post-baccalaureate certificate program required for a student to become a registered and licensed dietitian. Our program will operate under the department of nutrition & dietetics.

All internships have an emphasis area in addition to meeting guidelines to train in the areas of clinical dietetics, public health nutrition and food management. When senior dietetics students apply for an internship they look for those which match their primary areas of interest.

Bluffton’s program will have a strong public health nutrition emphasis, which is great because nationwide job growth in that area is predicted to expand a lot by 2020!

Recent graduates in internships include Caitlin Heiss ‘11 who wanted to work with persons with developmental disabilities. She’s at the University of South Dakota’s dietetic internship, which has a specialty in that area. Plus, she has been able to intern at a Native American hospital.

Lydia Litwiller ‘11 wanted an internship with a strong emphasis on clinical nutrition and critical care. She was accepted at the University of Michigan’s Hospital dietetic internship; a top-ranked U.S. medical facility.

An internship is a time of working and learning; where the student puts the final pieces together to become a professional. It’s challenging because it requires a 40 hour per week commitment plus additional study and projects. 

Currently, there just aren’t enough internship openings across the United States to meet the need, so getting into an internship is very competitive. We will be offering a much needed service to eight carefully chosen interns. Ours will be a nine-month program that will be open to dietetics graduates from across the nation, including students from our own undergraduate program at Bluffton.

A tremendous amount of personal and professional growth takes place in an internship year. It will be exciting to see our interns grow in preparation for getting that first professional job.

Additional info: In order to become a registered and licensed dietitian, students must complete a baccalaureate degree in an accredited dietetics curriculum, complete an accredited internship program and pass the national registration examination. Even before Bluffton’s own internship begins:
  • 98% of our graduates have been placed in Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly ADA) internship positions within a year of graduation. 
  • 93% of our graduates have passed the registration examination on their first attempt (100% on second attempt).
Bluffton’s new program has already received national exposure through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetics Association.)

For more information about Bluffton’s dietetic internship, contact Deb Myers, associate professor of dietetics.

1 comment:

  1. Very Exciting! Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., Class of '93