Bay Pines VA Healthcare SystemWH - Dietetic Internship Program
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Dietetic Internship Program


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Bay Pines VA Healthcare SystemWH


The mission of the dietetic internship program is to educate dietetic interns to become entry-level Registered Dietitians Nutritionists who will serve Veterans and the public and promote the profession of dietetics.

Education Philosophy

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Dietetic Internship aims to provide interns with essential knowledge and skills to become competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists to meet the expanding role of today’s dietitian. The internship is integrated with a Master's in Public Health, Nutrition and Dietetics concentration. The internship presents a common core of knowledge in a systematic way which is evidence-based. Each intern completes the same rotations to acquire basic knowledge of different areas. The internship offers experiential learning. Preceptors facilitate learning by assigning specific patients to the intern based on the intern’s needs. We teach a realistic approach to real life situations.

The internship creates teamwork opportunities with dietitian nutritionists and other staff through special projects and assignments. The internship encourages problem solving and critical thinking, encouraging the intern to bring their undergraduate knowledge and life experiences to the situation. We challenge the intern to accept more independence as the year progresses, culminating in staff relief.

The internship encourages preceptors to complete preceptor training and continually learn and advance their practice. Preceptors develop their rotation materials and offer one on one time with interns on specific cases.

With its focus on our special population of Veterans, Bay Pines imbues the code of conduct and ICARE values to interns (Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence). Awareness of ethical concerns, respect for Veteran values and placing the Veteran and Veteran desires at the center of care is of paramount importance in our daily teaching.

Following the transitional year and for the MPH program track, the internship is integrated with the University of South Florida providing the opportunity to obtain a Master of Public Health degree which further expands the program’s depth into population health and meets the public’s health-related challenges. We seek to continuously improve our education of interns to meet the role of the dietitian nutritionist in clinical, food service management and community nutrition.


1. To produce competent, entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists possessing the skills necessary to practice in a variety of food and nutrition fields as measured by:

  • At least 80% of graduates will pass the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within one year of first attempt.
  • At least 80% of graduating interns on program evaluation will agree or strongly agree that the internship prepared them for dietetic practice.
  • At least 80% of graduating interns on program evaluation will agree or strongly agree that the program provides knowledgeable, professional staff and facilities that support learning.
  • At least 80% of employers on survey will agree or strongly agree that graduates were adequately prepared for entry-level practice.
  • At least 80% of interns will complete the internship program within 156 weeks (150% of the program length) of program initiation.
  • At least 90% of intern graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

2. To prepare graduates to meet the needs for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists in the Veterans Health Administration and the state of Florida.

  • Of the graduates who are seeking employment in a dietetics related position, at least 90% will secure a position within 12 months completion of supervised practice.
  • An average of 33% percent of graduates will be placed at a VA facility.

3. To prepare dietetic professionals who participate in professional development and lifelong learning. 

  • At least 33% of graduates will report pursuing advanced positions, specialty certifications, leadership opportunities and advocacy activities.

Please note that program outcomes will be made available upon request.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Becoming an RDN is a three-step process. The Dietetic Internship is step 2.

  1. First complete an undergraduate or graduate ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). The DPD provides all of the prerequisite and core dietetic courses needed for preparation for the supervised practice portion of the RDN training.
  2. The supervised practice portion is completed during an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship which is the second step to become an RDN.
  3. After successful completion of an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship you must then take and pass the credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists which is administered by the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR).

    After obtaining your RDN, it is encouraged to obtain state licensure as it may be required with  non-federal employers.

    For more information, please visit here.