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Dietetic Internship Program

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Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital

Program Rotations

The Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship will arrange all required rotations for each intern. Dietetic interns should anticipate a commitment of forty hours per week, typically involving one class day. The regular work week runs from Monday through Friday, with varying hours depending on the specific rotation. Occasional weekend duties may also be part of the experience.

However, to thrive in the program, be prepared to invest additional hours beyond the standard schedule. This includes dedicating at least 3-4 hours daily and extra weekend time for activities such as studying, working on assignments, delving into study guides and projects, as well as fulfilling other program requirements like volunteer and community service activities. These extra efforts are essential for successfully completing the internship requirements.

For a glimpse into the core of the program, here are the planned supervised practice rotations that all interns in the Hines VA Dietetic Internship Program must complete. It's worth noting that these rotations are subject to change based on the evolving standards set by ACEND and VHA, as well as the specific needs of the Hines VA Dietetic Internship Program.

Planned Supervised Practice Experiences

Please note that any prior learning experiences will not be considered towards the supervised practice hours for the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship.

Rotation Descriptions


Our interns are required to attend a program orientation to help them prepare and be successful in all program rotations. During the first two weeks of the internship, the interns receive an in-depth introduction to the VA, program, department, policies, procedures, expectations, goals, and rotation core competencies and evaluations. Interns get familiarized with the Food and Nutrition Services staff and key administrators. Staff members conduct orientation classes that cover essential topics like nutritional assessment, counseling, medical records documentation, and food service systems. These classes prepare interns for subsequent supervised practice rotations.


Rotation Description: During the clinical rotation, interns acquire expertise in medical terminology, disease states, and medical/surgical procedures. They will create nutritional care plans using the Nutrition Care Process, interpreting laboratory values, and assessing patient nutritional status, with documentation in the electronic medical record. Interns will provide nutrition counseling and patient education classes. They will evaluate the effectiveness of provided nutrition services. In addition, interns will act as a key member of the healthcare team, serving as a nutrition resource for both professionals and patients. Document all patient care services in the computerized medical record. Clinical rotations are strategically sequenced, progressing interns toward assuming professional responsibilities.

Supervised Practice Experiences: 
Clinical Practice 1 and Clinical Practice 2 consist of two 4-week inpatient rotations. Progression through these two rotations should reflect your gradual assumption of entry-level dietitian professional responsibilities. Clinical Practice 1, and 2 are prerequisites to the Professional Practice supervised practice experience.


Rotation Description: The outpatient nutrition rotation is designed to provide interns with an in-depth understanding of the role of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in a managed care setting. During this rotation, the interns will have the opportunity to observe and progress towards independently completing individual and group nutrition counseling and education sessions. The interns will be responsible for planning and managing nutrition care for patients with multiple diagnoses such as obesity, diabetes, renal and cardiovascular disease, and weight management, while taking into consideration their life experiences, cultural diversity, and educational background. The interns will create educational materials based on evidence-based research that cater to the diverse Veteran population's needs.

Supervised Practice Experiences: Outpatient Progression from Outpatient 1 to Outpatient 2 should reflect your gradual assumption of entry-level dietitian professional responsibilities. Outpatient 1 is a prerequisite to the Outpatient 2 supervised practice experience. Interns will also have the opportunity to rotate through Home Base Primary Care.

Healthcare and Foodservice Management Rotation

Rotation Description: The Healthcare and Foodservice Management rotation, interns gain hands-on experience in various facets of food service. The rotation covers menu planning, food production, and food service systems management. Interns collaborate with food service personnel, chefs, and registered dietitians to ensure meals align with dietary guidelines and meet diverse nutritional needs, including those of patients with special requirements. Additionally, interns assess and enhance food service quality, considering factors like portion control and food safety. Exposure to budgeting, procurement, and inventory management equips them with practical skills for efficient food service operations.

Community Rotation

    Rotation Description: The Community rotation span three weeks, exposing dietetic interns to diverse community practice settings. Collaborating with community dietitians, interns engage in nutrition education initiatives promoting health and wellness to the public. Highlights of these rotations include presentations, media publication development, health fair participation, and the planning, implementation, and evaluation of nutrition education programs and initiatives.

    Supervised Practice Experiences: A sample of common community rotations include: MOVE! Weight Management, Women, Infant, Children (WIC) Program, and National Nutrition Month.


    Rotation Description: During this four-week rotation, interns will gain experience in three different areas: pediatric nutrition, renal/transplant nutrition, and a special interest rotation chosen by the intern. The goal of this rotation is to help interns develop the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the field as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, while also allowing them to explore their interests and potential career paths.

    Supervised Practice Experiences: A sample of common specialty rotations include: pediatrics, renal/transplant, and special interest.

    Sample Rotation Schedule

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