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About Preceptors

What is a Preceptor?

A "preceptor" is an expert or specialist, such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, who provides guidance, practical experience and training to a Dietetic Intern. In years gone by, all preceptors in Dietetic Internships were required to be Registered Dietitians. That is no longer the case. A preceptor should be someone involved with the field of nutrition and dietetics in some way, who is in a position to help guide your experience in the internship at the local level (where you live) and help arrange experiences to help you meet expectations of your program.

PLEASE NOTE: A CLINICAL PRECEPTOR DOES NOT NEED TO WORK IN A LARGE HOSPITAL. A CLINICAL ROTATION MAY BE COMPLETED IN A LOCATION WHERE THE NUTRITION CARE PROCESS AND MNT ARE PRACTICED. IT MAY BE COMPLETED IN A UNIT OF ANY SIZE OR TYPE IN WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO A DIVERSE RANGE OF PATIENTS IN TERMS OF AGES, DISEASES AND CONDITIONS.  THESE ROtATIONS DO NOT NECESSARILY NEED TO INCLUDE LONG TERM CARE AND PEDIATRICS AS THESE EXPERIENCES MAY BE GAINED DURING OTHER ROTATIONS. EXTENDED CARE FACILITIES WHERE THERE IS A REHABILITATION UNIT FOR NEWLY DISCHARGED HOSPITAL PATIENTS ARE GOOD POSSIBILITIES. 

Sites may include, but are not limited to, hospitals (excluding psychiatric and eating disorder programs), extended care facilities with onsite acute rehabilitation units, rehabilitation facilities (excluding psychiatric and substance abuse programs), outpatient facilities which primarily deliver MNT, and health centers. The time frame may be adjusted with approval of the Program Director if the Intern has an opportunity to spend time in a renal unit during this rotation (two weeks maximum in a renal unit) due to the need to get a broad exposure to diagnoses and age groups). 

Who can be a Preceptor?

Registered Dietitians Nutritionists  (RDNs)

Licensed LD or Certified Dietitians (CDN)

Certified Dietitians (CDN)

Nutritionists 

Food Service Directors and Managers

(Schools, Hospitals, Nursing Homes etc.)

Certified Diabetes Educators

Administrators of Community Based Nutrition Related Programs


PRECEPTORS 

Please note that all Preceptors are vetted to determine whether the experiences they may provide are congruant with the curriculum of our Program.  This includes preceptors contacted through the Academy's “find a preceptor” database. Inclusion in the database does not guarantee that PNCDDI will approve the site or preceptor. Regardless of the discipline, all credentials and experience will be evaluated for appropriateness and relevance to the rotation and experiences the Intern will be completing. 

CLINICAL : All Preceptors in the Clinical rotation must be Registered Dietitians (RD/RDN). Nutrition Care Process and MNT activities must be supervised by an RD/RDN and be the primary focus of activity at the site. 

COMMUNITY : Credentialed (i.e. academic degree) or licensed health care or social service providers who meet professional requirements for the area(s) in which they are responsible must supervise interns and serve as preceptors for this rotation. Preceptors may include registered dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, other social service providers or  administrators.  

FOOD SERVICE : Credentialed individual(s) experienced in planning, overseeing and managing institutional and/or patient food services must supervise the intern and serve as preceptor for this rotation at the level of Director, Food Service Manager or Certified Dietary Manager. 

ELECTIVE : Any of the Above


When do I need an RD / RDN Preceptor?

You MUST have an RDN Preceptor in your CLINICAL ROTATION when you will definitely be practicing application of the Nutrition Care Process and Medical Nutrition Therapy and developing goals for your Professional Development Portfolio. There are some experiences that you are required to complete, which must be supervised by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, but in other cases the preceptor may be a member of a team that is involved in nutrition and dietetics issues with patients, clients, or businesses.

I want to apply to Priority Nutrition Care Dietetic Internship. When should I start looking for a Preceptor?

It is NEVER TOO EARLY to start inquiring, such as at the completion of a summer job in Nutrition and Dietetics or after volunteer work, even in your sophomore or junior year.

How many Preceptors do I need?

You will need at least one Preceptor for each of the 4 rotations. It is possible for the same preceptor to supervise you in more than one rotation. 

Clinical Preceptor

The Clinical Preceptor MUST be a RD / RDN

Food Service Preceptor

The Food Service Preceptor must be a credentialed food service administrator, such as a Food Service Director or Food Service Manager.

Community Preceptor

The Community Preceptor may be a RDN or other credentialed professional (Bachelor’s Degree or higher) in a program in which nutrition and food related services are a major component of the program.

Elective

Elective – May or may not be a RDN.

Will PNCDDI find a Preceptor for me?

NO, it is your responsibility to locate all preceptors. The Internship has the final decision on whether a particular Preceptor is appropriate, but it is YOUR responsibility to find your own Preceptors.  The extent to which it appears that you have made that effort will be important in how we view your application.

I have identified my Preceptors.  Now what should I do?

Ask your Preceptors to submit a completed Preceptor form ONLINE at www.PNCDDI.com under the Information for Preceptors Tab. This form serves as documentation that the Preceptor has agreed to precept you and provides the information that we need to determine that the Preceptor has the appropriate credentials. Be aware that the Preceptor must agree to complete and submit the required documentation, which includes proof of credentials (i.e. Registration, Licensure etc.) and a list of recent continuing education activities. This is a requirement of our accreditors.