Dietetic Internship Program
VA St. Louis Health Care System
Comments from our Graduates
We take tremendous pride in the care that we provide for our Veterans and the experiences we provide our interns. Employers of our graduates are impressed with our graduates' abilities in prioritizing work load, problem solving, critical thinking, and working above entry level as they enter the dietetics profession. Read below to find out what our graduates have said:
“I felt this internship program prepared me very well to hit the ground running, actually working as a clinical dietitian, especially when compared to coworkers that graduated from different internship programs. Having the ability to complete multiple clinical rotations offered in different specialties, combined with the knowledge and variety of preceptors has provided me a great foundation to work and grow from; this allowed me the opportunity to learn the process rather than focusing on learning the knowledge when I started my first job as a clinical dietitian.”
-Laura Moore, RD, LD, Class of 2015-16
“I find myself bragging about my internship experience in St. Louis. I feel extremely lucky to have had such a well-rounded internship. I am able to bring ideas and a different prospective to my current job based off of the things I learned during the internship.”
-Emily Willems, RD, Class of 2015-16
"The St. Louis DVAMC internship program prepared me well for both the RD exam and working in the field of dietetics. It provided me with a strong clinical background and also great experiences in administrative and community dietetics. The hands-on nature of the rotations gave me the confidence and skills that allowed me to jump right into my position as a RD. The focus on health disparities was a huge benefit, as it is something I work to improve every day in my current position."
- Lisa Buck, MPH, RD, LD, Class of 2014-2015
"In reviewing other internships attended by fellow RDs, I feel my internship was of higher quality than their internships. The St. Louis DVAMC is a rigorous program which enabled me to perform at a higher level at my first job as a dietitian. The preceptors at the St. Louis DVAMC were excellent! By attending a VA internship, I discovered that the VA was my preferred employer. Being a VA intern greatly improved my chances of getting a dietetic position at the VA. I LOVE working at the VA as an outpatient dietitian --best job ever!"
- Gloria Treis, MS, RD, LD, Class of 2014-2015
“The internship program provided an excellent platform for me to develop my professional skills and learn about the many aspects of dietetics with the support of many amazing and enthusiastic preceptors. The preceptors really "threw you" into their rotations, which gave an honest and challenging perspective on the career of a dietitian. I enjoyed the unique opportunities the internship provided like attending PPW and public policy day in Jefferson City, receiving training in an outpatient dialysis center, and visiting the CSA farm. In addition, I think having one day a week of class was incredibly helpful as it made the internship more dynamic with both hands-on and academic training. Leaving the internship, I felt confident to apply to a broad spectrum of jobs, because of the dynamic training I received at the St. Louis DVAMC.”
-Jocelyn Smith, RD, Class of 2013-14
“My internship experience was excellent and did a fantastic job preparing me for employment. The breadth and depth of each rotation was really important, as in the beginning of a dietetic career, one is often expected to be a ‘Jill-of-all-trades’. The work required prior to each rotation was an important component to ensure comprehension. Having now been a preceptor, I am amazed at how poorly prepared many interns are for their rotations. The VA prepped us well. My internship was a great experience and prepared me well for the steps that followed.”
-Karen Mills, RD, Class of 2013-14
“Rotations and classes were organized very precisely. This alleviated stress and allowed us to focus on modules and assignments. Our director helped keep us focused by consistently checking in with us and answering questions. She was very organized and supportive throughout the internship. All preceptors were supportive and able to guide us through the required experiences and modules.”
-Joel Ramdial, MS, RD, LD, Class of 2012-13
“The knowledge I gained from my internship program was invaluable. Having been an intern with the VA, I have gained a professional edge that has helped my career take off. I use my experience from this program daily in practice and couldn’t be more thankful for how well it prepared me for the professional world. Now that I am a preceptor for interns, I appreciate the structure of my internship program. At my [current] facility we are not able to provide the intern with designated experiences in specific practice areas. Our interns get these experiences in pieces. I also value that I came from a program that was small where the director was accessible and able to provide feedback on our work in a timely manner. My interns come from larger university programs whose directors have responsibilities that take away from their ability to guide the interns on assignments. When I speak with my peers about their internships, they did not receive as much of a broad experience as the St. Louis DVAMC Dietetic Internship provided for me. This program extended beyond the general preparation for clinical, community, and food service areas. I received training in the areas of public policy, plant-based nutrition, how to complete my PDP, as well as many other important components of the dietetics world. Because of this, I am better able to independently practice than other new graduate hires.”
-Anna Matteson, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, Class of 2011-12
"My confidence has improved significantly. I have become much more assertive, especially when interacting with other health care professionals. I have expanded upon my educational and motivational interviewing skills through working with a diverse group of Veterans. I have learned how to prioritize the most pertinent nutritional problem when faced with patients who have multiple nutritional problems and focus education accordingly. I have also learned to write very thorough notes and ensure all nutrition-related problems are addressed. I feel prepared for pursuing my professional career in dietetics!"
-Stephanie Strouse, RD, Class of 2011-12
“The internship definitely prepared me well for the RD exam and various roles I've had since the internship. I really enjoyed the rotations we had outside of the [clinical] internship and some of those experiences have inspired future career goals (starting a school outreach program in underserved areas, which is definitely where I live).”
-Christa Biegle, RD, Class of 2009-10
“I really enjoyed the diversity of the program and learning more from the Veterans as patients. We were able to see a wide variety of patients and comorbidities that really helped me to narrow where I wanted to focus my career. I loved my experience with the STLVAMC and I was able to gain a wonderful education.”
-Amy Menzie, RD, CNSC, Class of 2007-08
"The internship at the VA was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Not only did it get me ready for successfully passing the RD exam the first time, it also exposed me to a wide variety of medical conditions, including mental health issues and spinal cord injury, which are not normally part of a dietetic internship. The dietitians, kitchen staff and support personnel in the VA were very committed to enabling the intern to have a successful internship. I was able to go to just about anyone and ask questions and get the help I needed. The internship director is a great example and is so committed to her interns. Her door is always open. The atmosphere of the internship class was one where I did not feel intimidated by others and felt that I was always heard in any discussion.”
-Pamela Russell, RD, LD, Class of 2006-07
"Great experience - incredibly pleased and glad that I was able to complete my internship here. The staff relief rotation really helped to build my confidence and made me feel as if I could get an entry level position tomorrow and be successful at it."
-Verenda Gordon, RD, LD, Class of 2005-06
"The internship was a great experience. The preceptors are very caring individuals who wish to help the interns succeed. The Veteran population yields a combination of difficult medical conditions and social needs that together provide challenging cases for the interns. The class size is the perfect number for one-on-one interactions with staff, yet still enough to pair people up for projects."
-Rachel Kramer, RD, LD, Class of 2005-06