Dietetic Internship Program

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services has conducted a dietetic internship program since 1981. The dietetic internship is a nine-month program offering clinical and foodservice management and community experiences. The internship provides a concentration in Medical Nutrition Therapy in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, but continues to offer community and foodservice experiences to achieve general competency (see Rotations for a complete description). The internship is supervised and administered by experienced, onsite registered dietitians within the Nutrition Services Department at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.

The internship program participates in the April computer match through D&D Digital Systems. One class of four to six interns is accepted annually. The class starts in late August and graduates mid-May. The goal of the internship program is to provide the student with the experience and qualifications to become a competent, entry-level registered dietitian and an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The program is currently granted accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, 800/877-1600 ext. 5400, email.

ACEND is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Post secondary Accreditation of the United States Department of Education. The next site visit will be in 2019.

Contact

Suzanne Logan, MS, RD 
Dietetic Internship Coordinator 
Phone: 719-776-5900
Email

  • Rotations

    The program is planned to enable the student, under the guidance of the registered dietitian, to learn necessary skills, progressively assume greater responsibility and to be provided with opportunities to demonstrate competence. Learning experiences are based on the knowledge acquired through the didactic program. An orientation period prepares the intern for the scheduled learning experiences.

    Medical nutrition therapy and food service systems management experiences are provided at Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center.

    The interns are provided outpatient and health promotion experiences at the Penrose-St. Francis Health Learning Center, which houses the Diabetes and Renal Care Center (DRCC). At DRCC, interns gain experience in counseling and group education. They participate in all aspects of the management of diabetes, including menu planning, exercise and blood glucose monitoring. These experiences enable the students to develop competence in patient counseling and group education.

    Affiliation experiences are designed to acquaint the interns with a variety of dietetic practices available in the community. These learning experiences enhance and complement those provided in the hospital setting. 

    The curriculum fosters technical expertise in the areas of critical thinking, assertiveness, collaboration, public speaking, delegation, time management and writing.

    Development of good interpersonal skills is highly emphasized during the internship. Projects and assignments are planned to help students develop these skills.

    Educational experiences at Penrose-St. Francis and the affiliating organizations are planned to take advantage of changes in the healthcare environment and to meet the needs of individual interns. Therefore, it may be necessary to alter the rotation experiences during the course of the program.

    Classes and study modules provide current information about food service systems management, medical nutrition therapy and community nutrition. 

    Satisfactory completion of all rotations of the Penrose-St. Francis Health Services Dietetic Internship Program is required in order to receive a Verification Statement. Satisfactory completion is defined as completing all rotations without any "1" ratings ("unacceptable") or multiple "2" ratings ("satisfactory"). A detailed description of minimum/acceptable performance can be found in the intern handbook once accepted.

    Following successful completion of the program, students are eligible for active membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and are well prepared and eligible to complete the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

    Food Service Systems Management 
    (comprises approximately 15% of the internship program)

    Opportunities are provided at all hospitals for dietetic interns to apply principles of organization, personnel and resource management. The staff provides guidance as the intern studies the various daily aspects of dining room and patient tray service, including:

    • Quantity food production
    • Catered and special events
    • Sanitation and safety
    • Human resources management
    • Computerized food service management
    • Ingredient room
    • Food purchasing
    • Marketing
    • Quality improvement
    • Menu planning
    • In-service development
    • Problem solving

    Community Nutrition 
    (comprises approximately 25% of internship program)

    This portion of the program is designed to provide the intern with experiences in community health, along with exposure to food service systems and nutrition care in non-hospital settings. Some of these include:

    • Health promotion programs
    • El Paso County Public Health Department
    • WIC
    • Supermarket nutrition program
    • School lunch program
    • Outpatient cardiac rehab
    • Home care
    • Community health center

    Medical Nutrition Therapy 
    (comprises approximately 60% of internship program)

    The medical nutrition therapy experiences are designed to provide interns with the opportunity to work with the clinical dietitians at all facilities to provide patient nutrition care, including: nutrition assessment, care planning, menu modification, nutrition support, patient instruction and quality improvement. Medical Nutrition Therapy competency for both uncomplicated and complex disease conditions is acquired as the interns are provided experience in the following areas:

    • General medicine
    • General surgery
    • Coronary care and rehabilitation
    • Acute care
    • Wound care
    • Pain management
    • Rehabilitation
    • Long-term Acute Care (LTAC)
    • Obstetrics
    • Oncology
    • Diabetes
    • Trauma 
    • Pediatrics
    • Home nutrition support
  • Estimated Expenses

    • Tuition, $8500. Upon acceptance of an appointment as a dietetic intern, a $1000 non-refundable registration fee is required.  This portion of the fee secures the intern's position in the program. The remainder of the registration fee is due at the beginning of the program. 
    • Student Academy Membership, $58. Membership in local dietetic association is also required, $10. 
    • Food production clothing, $200 - Black pants and non-slip shoes.  
    • Automobile insurance, variable. The intern must submit proof of insurance. 
    • Professional Liability Insurance, $24. This can be purchased through the Academy. 
    • Health Insurance, variable. The intern must submit proof of health insurance. 
    • Professional meetings, $200. Interns are required to attend local and state professional   meetings. Transportation to the meetings and registration costs must be paid by the intern.  
    • Textbooks and supplies, $250. Most learning materials are supplied by the program. 
    • Academy membership and Registration Exam. At the end of the internship, the intern will make applications for membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and for the Registration Exam.
  • How to Apply

    The program is using the on-line centralized internship application, DICAS. The on-line application must be completed for our program by 11:59 pm Central Time on February 15. The fee to use DICAS is $45 for the first application and $20 for each additional application.

    • When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and contact information (specifically an email address) for each reference. This will trigger an email message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed on-line. Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.
    • Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1000 words or less. Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:
    1. Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession? 
    2. What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career? 
    3. What are your short-term and long-term goals? 
    4. What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to:

      DICAS - Transcript Department 
      P.O, Box 9118 
      Watertown, MA 02472
       
    • Applicants must also register on-line for computer matching at D & D Digital and select internship priority choices by 11:59 pm Central Time on February 15. There is a $55 computer matching fee.
    • In addition to the DICAS and D&D Digital fees, this internship also requires a non-refundable $75 application fee payable to Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.
    • Please mail the application fee to the address below:

      Dietetic Internship Program        
      Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
      2222 N. Nevada Ave.
      Colorado Springs, CO 80907

    If you have any questions or concerns about your DICAS submission, contact DICAS Customer Support.

    • Phone: 617-612-2855
    • Email
  • Selection Criteria

    Selection of students for admission to the internship program is the responsibility of the selection committee. 

    Admission Requirements 
    Applicants must have completed the Didactic Program in Dietetics accredited by ACEND of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to beginning the internship. Additional coursework in nutrition and foodservice systems management is required to update degrees that were completed five or more years prior to application. All courses taken to satisfy the recent education requirements must have been completed within the last five years.

    Grades 
    A minimum overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.

    Letters of Recommendation 
    Three professional references are required. Select your references to include professors, recent employers and volunteer supervisors. 

    Work Experience 
    Dietetics-related or food service experience is very helpful, whether paid or volunteer work. 

    Communication Skills 
    Effective oral and written communication skills are necessary.

    Equal Opportunity Employer 
    Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age or disability. Applicants with physical disabilities will be considered, provided the disability will not prevent adequate performance as a dietetic intern. A pre-admission health screening, drug test and background check will be given to all matched interns (at no cost to the intern). Should you possess any limitations or restrictions that might impede your ability to perform essential functions of the job, it is your responsibility to disclose these at the time of the pre-employment health screening. Penrose-St. Francis will consider reasonable accommodations where appropriate. Effective January 1, 2015, Centura Health will no longer hire tobacco users in Colorado and Kansas.