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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. YOU MAY COMBINE TWO LOCATIONS TO GAIN THESE EXPERIENCES. THEY 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 REHAB UNIT FOR NEWLY DISCHARGED HOSPITAL PATIENTS IS A GOOD POSSIBILITY. 

This rotation may be completed at one or two facilities. If you are using two facilities, you must spend a minimum of two weeks at one of them. These may include, but are not limited to, hospitals (excluding psychiatric and eating disorder programs), extended care facilities with onsite acute rehab units, rehabilitation facilities (excluding 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). At least six weeks of the clinical rotation must be completed at an inpatient facility. 

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


Please note that 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.

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, 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 Priority Nutrition Care Distance Dietetic Internship will be able to help you determine whether a Preceptor is acceptable, and will help with other leads, AFTER you have been matched, to help round out the breadth and depth of your experiences.  The Internship has the final decision on whether a particular Preceptor is acceptable, 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.