Program Schedule

Each year the program is scheduled to begin the first Monday of October and graduation is planned for the 3rd week of July (42 weeks later). All learning experiences are supervised by registered dietitian nutritionists or other qualified faculty/preceptors. Successful completion of the 42 week program should prepare competent entry-level practitioners. Teaching methods include:

  • Supervised practices ranging from 1 week to 5 weeks long and with a faculty to student ratio of 1:1 or 1:2. Clinical competency testing is completed through evaluation of assignments specific to the experience, daily interaction with the preceptor, pre-post testing and through a variety of audits.
  • Didactic classes which are planned for 2 - 4 hours a week. Each classroom experience allows for discussion and outcomes evaluation.
  • Case studies that allow for critical thinking and clinical judgment. These are planned during practice experiences, medical grand rounds and collaborative rounds on the patient units. A student selected case study is also presented to the faculty using the guidelines established by the Southeastern Michigan Dietetic Association.
  • Pre-approved CPEU programs for registered dietitian nutritionists are planned throughout the program. Each CPEU program includes assessment of the intern’s attainment of the learning objectives.
  • Professional reading in scientific peer-reviewed journals is planned during several of the supervised practice experiences to ensure current evidence based practices are discussed and evaluated.
  • Study Groups to discuss topics such as medical ethics, managed care, dealing with difficult people, diversity, risk management, resume writing and interview skills, test taking skills, the Commission on Dietetic Registration examination, and preparation of projects such as National Nutrition Month and Heart Smart Recipe creation and publication.
  • On-line dietetics related self-study/programmed learning modules such as offered by the WIC learning Center, Abbott Nutrition, Nestle Nutrition, and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are planned throughout the program.
  • Development of learning activities/instructional materials to be presented to groups such as the interdisciplinary health care team, the foodservice team, community groups, and employee groups.
  • Oral presentations which are planned 4-5 times throughout the program to focus the intern on using accurate, evidence based information presented in a logical and organized manner with key points summarized and related to dietetic practice. Relevant public speaking skills are also evaluated.
  • Culinary skills training is planned during the 5 week Foodservice experience, utilizing the vast resources of our Executive Chef and Retail Manager that focus on food, nutrients, cultural influences and techniques to improve acceptability or patient compliance. Henry Ford Hospital has made a commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). Student merchandizing projects must meet “PHA” Guidelines.
  • Attendance at the Breeding review course for the registration examination is planned for 3 days , 1 – 2 months prior to graduation
  • Field Trips which may include Gordon Foods Distribution Center, The Annual HFHS Nutrition Symposium, Gleaners Distribution Center, Legislative Day, Grocery Store tour and menu creation, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Weight Management day, Cooking Matters Program, Let’s Get Healthy Program, Pe-NUT Program, and The University of Michigan Specialty Day.
  • Professional Self-Reflection/Self-evaluation is planned after each learning experience for the student to be accountable for their personal competence in practice as well as to reflect on interests, strengths, weaknesses, critical thinking skills, organizational skills and short and long term goals and objectives.

Orientation / Basic Clinical Skills (4 weeks)

All interns have a one week didactic learning experience planned to introduce basic knowledge and skills needed throughout the program including policies and procedures and skills associated with the practice of medical nutrition therapy. An additional three weeks are comprised of hands-on clinical supervised-practice experiences with an assigned registered dietitian nutritionist. Didactic classroom experiences compliment the basic skills training.

Clinical (20 weeks)

These learning experiences place emphasis on medical nutrition therapy using the nutrition care process specific to the individual in-patient or out-patient population. Patient/Family education, Meal Rounds, Collaborative Rounds, Case-studies, pre-tests/post-tests and discussion/evaluation of additional Professional reading may be planned during each experience

  • Cardiology / Health Coaching- 2 weeks
  • Internal Medicine / Geriatrics - 2 weeks
  • Oncology / Josephine Ford Cancer Institute - 2 weeks
  • Transplant – 1 week
  • Infectious Disease/Wounds/Pulmonary – 1 week
  • Neuroscience/ ALS - 2 weeks
  • Nephrology - 2 weeks
  • Dialysis - 1 week
  • Pediatrics - 2 weeks (at Children's Hospital)
    Dietetic Interns attend their Pediatric experience at Children's Hospital of Michigan in both in-patient and out-patient nutrition services. The Henry Ford Hospital Dietetic Internship program maintains an affiliation agreement with Children's Hospital of Michigan.
  • Mid-Term Review - 1 week
    During the Mid-Term review clinical supervised practice learning experience Dietetic Interns address the nutritional needs and the educational needs of all patients on modified diets and/or receiving enteral nutrition. This learning experience is a mid-program evaluation of basic competencies and the nutrition therapy competencies for registered dietitian nutritionist education. This is accomplished through the use of the audit process to evaluate the intern's ability to complete/individualize the nutritional Care Process, ability to calculate and document nutrient intake analyses, initial nutrition notes and follow-up notes with nutritional plans of care, the ability to gather and assess pertinent information during patient visitation/meal rounds, the ability to take diet histories and the ability to perform patient/family education. A mini peer review audit is also completed along with a re-take and evaluation of the Basic Clinical Skills Test.
  • Critical Care - Surgical - 2 weeks.
  • Critical Care - Medical - 2 weeks
    During the Critical Care-Medical clinical supervised practice learning experience the dietetic interns spend a day with Nutrition Support Services, and 2 days with the registered dietitian nutritionist in the neuro-science intensive care unit.

Clinical Staff Responsibility / Patient Care (5 weeks)

The Clinical Staff responsibility supervised practice experience is designed for the student to demonstrate the knowledge and skills of an entry level clinical registered dietitian nutritionist by assuming responsibility for managing clinical nutrition services for 40 - 50 in-patients. The dietetic intern will demonstrate and be evaluated on the basic competencies for entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist education and the nutrition therapy concentration competencies.

Community/Management (6 weeks)

  • Community Nutrition – 1 week and throughout the 10 month Program
    This supervised experience gives the dietetic intern the opportunity to: Complete the WIC Learning online Modules covering, WIC Breastfeeding Basics, Essentials of Budgeting for Non-financial professionals, Communicating with Participants, Value enhanced Nutrition Assessment, Interpersonal Communication, and Listening Essentials; complete assignments regarding Food Deserts, School Nutrition Programs, Sports Nutrition, Grocery shopping on a budget; “Heart Smart” recipe modification and publication in a local newspaper; and regarding Community Nutrition Services available through private and government agencies; attend field trips to Gleaner’s Distribution Center, Gordon Foods Distribution Center and to the State Capitol for Legislative Day; complete 1 day in Bariatric Surgery; complete 1 day in Cardiac Rehabilitation/Weight Management Programs; attend 1 session of the “Let’s Get Healthy” program; attend one session of “Cooking Matters” program; attend a Sports Nutrition and Eating Disorders presentation; Observe and teach one day of the “Pe-NUT” program; plan, develop, execute successful Nutrition Month activities; prepare and present a Comprehensive Clinical Case Study; and complete an Elective day.
  • Diabetes Care Centers - 2 weeks
    Dietetic interns have the opportunity to participate in several of the system's Diabetes Care Centers. The interns observe and assist in the normal operational functions of the diabetes care center including the Patient Encounter Process and perform calculations of diet instructions as well as attend the Diabetes Self-Management Education Program sessions taught by the RDN, CDE, and the Nurse Diabetes Educator.
  • Home Health Care/Long Term Care - 1 week
    There is an emphasis on the management competencies where the dietetic intern participates in quality assurance audits regarding tube feeding, patient education; telephones and/or visits the patient and completes mandated assessments according to established procedures. In addition dietetic interns attend a ½ day workshop regarding Long Term Care and all Federal and State requirements.
  • Clinical Management/Management/Elective – 2 weeks
    The dietetic interns have the opportunity to: schedule two or three elective days with goals for each day and pre-determined measurable objectives (one day must be scheduled with the registered dietitian nutritionist from Behavioral Health and ½ day with the lactation consultant.

Food Service (5 weeks)

  • Retail Food Service – 3 weeks
    The dietetic Interns have the opportunity to complete a merchandising project in the retail area which includes: menu planning, meal forecasting, recipe standardization, budgeting, marketing, inventory control, equipment use, and the bill paying process.
  • Patient Food Service – 2 weeks
    In the Patient Services component, the dietetic interns shadow each member of the management team discussing each area of their daily job duties, complete safety and sanitation audits, discuss the budgeting process and analyze risk in nutrition and dietetics practice including emergency preparedness.

Additional Schedule Information

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commission on Accreditation Registration Examination Review Course – 3 days
    Dietetic interns will be scheduled for the 3 day registration Examination for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists review course presented by Breeding and Associates.
  • Weekends/Vacation/Holidays
    2 weeks of vacation, 4 Holiday Days and 2 – 3 weekend experiences are scheduled during the program.

Classes and field trips are scheduled on a month-to-month basis and are listed on a monthly meeting schedule. Interns are expected to be responsible for the content of all classes. If classes are scheduled during vacations, on scheduled days off or when interns are off-campus, arrangements for class notes, handouts and/or to tape lectures should be made.

Dietetic Interns must be able to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their patients' families, and professional associates and preceptors. Dietetic Interns are expected to: Create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients; use effective listening skills and elicit and provide information using effective nonverbal, explanatory, critical thinking and writing skills; and work effectively with others as a member of the interdisciplinary health care team.

Dietetic Interns must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population. Dietetic Interns are expected to: Demonstrate respect, compassion, and integrity; a responsiveness to the needs of patients and society that super-cedes self-interest; show accountability to patients, society, and the profession; demonstrate a commitment to excellence and on-going professional development; demonstrate a commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, and business practices; demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender and disabilities.