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Dietetic Internship Program

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VA San Diego Healthcare System


The VA San Diego internship is a 41 week program (full-time, 40 hours/week or more). It begins annually in mid-August with graduation in late May or early June. A one-week vacation is, typically, scheduled the week between the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Interns are scheduled five-days per week. They spend four days per week in their assigned rotations and one day in planned didactic class activities every week or every-other week. In addition to the rotations, there are many projects unrelated to the rotations, which, typically, must be completed in the evening and on the weekends. The program provides over 1,200 hours of supervised practice.

FEDERAL HOLIDAYS: Interns may be scheduled off for Federal holidays, depending on the assigned rotation. 


Orientation - 2 weeks (first 2 weeks of the program)

Management - 6 weeks 
  • Food Service Systems Management/Food Production (4 weeks)
  • Nutrition and Food Service (NFS) Assistant Chief (1 week)
  • Clinical Nutrition Manager (1 week)
Clinical - 20+ weeks 
  • Medicine (Med/Surg) (2-3 weeks)
  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) (1-2 weeks)
  • Community Living Center (long-term care/rehabilitation unit) (2-3 weeks)
  • Critical Care (ICU/Surgery/Nutrition Support, Pulmonary) (2-3 weeks)
  • Outpatient/Bariatric (2 weeks)
  • Outpatient/Primary Care (3+ weeks)
  • Diabetes/Metabolic Unit (2 weeks)
  • Renal/Dialysis (2 weeks)
  • Oncology and Liver Clinic (2 weeks)
  • Home-Based Primary Care (1-2 weeks)
  • ASPIRE Center (Residential mental health treatment) (1-2 weeks)
Community - 4 weeks
  • Public Health (2 weeks)
  • Women, Infants and Children (1 week)
  • School Nutrition (1 week)
Clinical Staff Relief (inpatient and outpatient) - 4 weeks


Food Service Projects
  • Food Service Worker Inservice
  • Theme Meal
  • Sustainable Meal
  • Plate Waste Study
  • Quality Improvement Projects
  • Equipment Purchasing
  • Menu Development and Analysis
  • HACCP Plan Development
Clinical Projects
  • Clinical Seminar
  • Case Study Report and Presentation
  • Malnutrition PDSA Project
  • Fad Diet Presentation
  • Counseling Training for RDs
Outpatient Projects
  • Virtual Cooking Demonstration
  • Hands-On Cooking Class
  • Handout Development
  • Teaching several classes in rotation including: Prenatal Nutrition, Diabetes Management and Prevention, Nutrition Basics, Heart Health, etc. 
Additional Projects
  • Resume and Cover Letter Writing
  • Panel Based Interview
  • Negotiation Skills Practicum
  • Legislative Presentation
  • National Nutrition Month Group Project
  • RD Exam Prep!