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How to Select a Facility and Preceptor

Clinical Nutrition

The clinical nutrition rotation should be completed in a facility that will expose you to a variety of learning experiences. It is recommended to approach small community hospitals as many of the larger medical centers may already have internship affiliations. You may also contact long-term care facilities with sub-acute units. Ideally, the clinical rotation site would employ at least 2 full-time RDs, and the average daily patient census would be at least 100.  At minimum, the facility should be licensed for 50 inpatient beds.  It is acceptable to split your rotation between 2 facilities to allow you to gain experience in the outpatient setting or with different populations if one of your rotation sites does not offer all of the required experiences. 

You will gain experience in nutrition screening, charting, developing nutrition care plans and interacting with patients and health care professionals. You will work on simpler tasks to the more complex. By the end of your rotation, it is expected that you will function in a staff position with minimal guidance.

Preceptor: Your preceptor for this rotation must be a registered dietitian. The preceptor must be available to you the time you are at the facility. For example, if you are completing the program on a full-time basis and the facility has one part-time registered dietitian, this would not be acceptable. This does not include vacation time that your preceptor may take while you are completing internship requirements. This may provide a good opportunity for you to function in a staff position.

Food Service Management

Your food service rotation may be completed in a hospital, long-term care facility, school nutrition services program or university of dining services.  It is acceptable to split this rotation among two sites to gain a wider variety of experiences.  For example, you could complete 4 weeks in a public school district, and 4 weeks in a hospital setting.

Preceptor: Your preceptor for this rotation should be the food service director or manager. He/she does not have to be a registered dietitian.

Community Nutrition

This rotation is designed primarily to focus on the delivery of nutrition services to community groups. Examples for acceptable facilities may be the local Public Health, Cooperative Extension, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Outpatient Nutrition services, and Corporate Wellness programs. Activities in this rotation include developing educational seminars, writing articles for the lay public, community education programs, and developing educational tools. You may or may not counsel individuals, depending on the facility. Other suggestions for this rotation would be community education (lectures, displays etc.), spending time with other health care professionals such as nurses and social workers to understand the delivery of health care services to groups and individuals. You may also visit other specialty clinics such as a lead prevention program, AIDS clinics, and other health programs of interest. Keep in mind that each community facility may have something different to offer. You may contact the program faculty for guidance when selecting your facility.

Preceptor: Ideally, your preceptor would be a registered dietitian for this rotation.  However, your preceptor does not have be an RD unless you will be doing individual nutrition counseling.


This is a rotation of choice for the student. This is an opportunity to focus on an area of interest. Facilities may include community agencies, outpatient dialysis unit, diabetes management program, eating disorders program or private practice. Please contact program faculty for ideas on acceptable elective rotations.

Preceptor: Should be a person appropriate for their role in the agency.

  • College of Health Sciences  •  Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition  •  26 Carpenter Sports Building 
    Newark, DE 19716 •   Phone: 302-831-2079   •  Fax: 302-831-4261   •  © 2014
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