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Dietetic Internship

Dietetic Internship

Learning Experiences

Inpatient Clinical Nutrition

Interns begin their clinical nutrition learning experience working with the inpatient adult population during the Clinical Nutrition Core.   Throughout the inpatient clinical rotations, interns advance their skills in medical terminology, medical record review, and analysis of nutritionally relevant data in order to complete a patient assessment.   Once interns have assessed the nutritional status of a patient they will implement an intervention, determine realistic goals and monitor the patient's progress.   Interns will incorporate disease pathophysiology into nutrition care; learn how to present a patient, and how to interact with a multidisciplinary healthcare team.  Because UC Davis is an academic medical center, interns gain experience working with high acuity patients with unique diagnoses.  Working with challenging and complex patients will help interns develop and enhance their clinical skills.  UC Davis interns gain significant experience managing oral, enteral and parenteral nutrition feeding modalities.  After approximately three months of experience in the adult inpatient area, interns advance to clinical nutrition in adult critical care and pediatrics. 

Food Service Management

During the food service management experiences, interns learn applied food service management principles in our Centralized Kitchen and Satellite Cafes.  Interns learn the daily operations and participate in quality improvement activities, marketing, employee training, and department strategic planning.   During the foodservice rotation interns will host a theme meal. The theme meal is an accumulation of experiences learned throughout the food service rotation.  Interns apply knowledge learned and gain experience in recipe development, menu creation, food costing, purchasing, taste testing, marketing, cost and revenue and food production. 

Community Nutrition

During the community nutrition rotations, interns will gain experience dealing with a variety of populations from infants and children to high risk pregnant/postpartum women.  The community rotation offers interns the opportunity to work with participants in the community in a variety of UC Davis and off-campus sites including Meals on Wheels, Sacramento Food Bank, WIC, and Living Fit Forever Programs.  Interns will cement their skills in development of educational handouts and lesson plans.  Additionally, interns will gain experience presenting educational activities and conducting cooking demonstrations for participants from a variety of backgrounds. 

Ambulatory Nutrition

Interns complete learning experiences in the ambulatory care setting following completion of the inpatient clinical nutrition rotations.  While in the ambulatory rotations, interns will learn and apply nutrition counseling and education skills for a variety of patient populations.  During the ambulatory rotations, interns will provide individualized medical nutrition counseling and education for patients with a variety of health conditions, ranging in age from infants to the elderly.  Interns can expect to provide nutrition counseling for basic diagnoses as well as complex medical conditions, taking into consideration patient's level of education, willingness to make changes and cultural/religious practices. 


Elective experiences offer the interns the opportunity to work with dietitians and populations of interest at the UC Davis Medical Center and off campus sites including Pediatric and Adult Specialty areas (inpatient or clinics) and long term care.  The elective experience is scheduled at the end of the year, as the schedule allows. 

Staff Relief Experience

After demonstration of competence, interns complete a minimum of two week staff relief experience in inpatient clinical nutrition.  In general, interns spend five weeks in staff relief experience. Staff relief experience solidifies interns' knowledge, provides an opportunity to gain independence and reinforces practices for an entry-level dietitian.   Interns apply knowledge learned throughout the internship including, assessment, implementation of interventions, problem-solving, consideration of disease pathophysiology and documentation skills.  Interns are supervised by an RD, who reviews and co-signs all documentation. 

Other Intern Classes

In addition to the scheduled didactic classes throughout the year, interns can also expect to gain experience with Legislation and Public Policy, Media and Professional Development. 

Case Study

During the case study assignment, interns will develop an in-depth understanding of the relationship between disease process, nutritional status, and psychosocial factors.  Interns will conduct a thorough background review of their patient's disease process and conduct a comprehensive interview of the patient.  Additionally, interns develop and deliver a written and oral presentation, including results of the medical record review and interview, as well as, a review of current literature highlighting the patient's disease process and treatment. 

Journal Club

During the journal club assignment, interns will master their ability to critically evaluate the research and how it applies to clinical practice.  The intern will choose a topic and critique two articles.  The interns develop a handout for attendees including summations, contrast and comparison between articles, background information to help facilitate understanding and applying the results, and possible diagrams of mechanisms.  The interns will also gain experience leading and generating discussion among participants.