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Supervised Practice

The healthcare environment is in a constant state of growth and change.  Training the next generation of health professionals is an important mission.  Doing so safely is our highest priority.

There is one concentration area for the internship:  disease management/health promotion.

Educational experiences are planned to maintain maximize opportunities in the marketplace, updated annually based on feedback from preceptors and interns, and promote flexibility of job ready skills in a variety of practice settings.

  • A comprehensive orientation to rotation experiences is provided at program startup; referred to as "Rotation Readiness.” Items covered include: lectures from preceptors and guest speakers, special topic discussions, visits to external rotation sites, tours of the Medical Center and University campuses, and interactive mini-workshops that lay the ground work for rotations.
  • Rotation experiences that vary in length from 1-2 weeks and are offered on the Vanderbilt campus and in the surrounding communities.
  • Over 65+ preceptors and mentors support a diverse training network of rotations in both traditional and nontraditional practice settings. 
  • Supervised practice learning experiences are scheduled 4-5 days per week and may include some weekends and holidays. Assigned times for daily activities vary and will include some early morning and late evening hours.
  • Formal professional development days scheduled 2-4 days per month.

Disease Management (Clinical Nutrition Therapy)

Following completion of Rotation Readiness, dietetic interns begin working one-on-one with their preceptors and patients in the adult and pediatric hospitals as well as the outpatient clinics.  An average of 15 weeks is spent working with adults and children in hospital and clinic based settings at Vanderbilt Medical Center; experiences include:

  • Daily rounds with the medical or surgical teams
  • Nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, monitoring and evaluation
  • Computerized medical record documentation
  • Counseling
  • Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition Support
  • Strong emphasis on critical care nutrition through rotations in 9 different intensive care settings

Examples of Clinical Nutrition Therapy/Disease Management rotations include:

  • Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU)
  • Adult Cardiology
  • Adult Liver Disease/Liver Transplant
  • Trauma Unit
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU):  trauma step down unit, eating disorders, burn intensive care unit, surgical intensive care unit, neuro intensive care unit
  • Med/Surg
  • Oncology (including bone marrow transplantation)
  • Acute Care Geriatrics
  • Pediatrics (for example: general pediatrics, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric cardiology, pediatric oncology, pediatric nutrition support, pediatric diabetes, pediatric intensive care units, and the neonatal intensive care unit )
  • Outpatient Clinics (for example: renal, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, lipid, metabolic disorders, gastroenterology, spina bifida, down syndrome, pediatric feeding therapy)
  • Nutrition Support (adult parenteral nutrition, pediatric parenteral nutrition)

Clinical Nutrition/Disease Management Entry Level Practice 

To cap off clinical nutrition rotations, interns select an area of clinical practice for their specialty entry level practice experience.  During this rotation, interns function independently as an entry level dietitian.  The opportunities available vary from year to year, based on availability of host locations and intern interests.

Health Promotion (Management, Business, Community)

Following Rotation Readiness, dietetic interns work in teams to complete Health Promotion rotations in food systems management, business and community nutrition practice settings. This team-based learning environment equips interns with job ready skills in leadership, collaboration, communication, high-order decision making and problem solving.   Health Promotion experiences include:

  • Hospital based food systems
  • Community based WIC services (
  • Outpatient clinic for AIDS/HIV treatment
  • School nutrition 
  • Corporate health and wellness
  • Sustainable food systems 
  • Campus dining operations 
  • RD Entrepreneurs
  • Medically based cardiac/pulmonary rehab 

Examples of Health Promotion rotation experiences include:

  • Being a HEAL (healthy eating, active living) Coach for individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Hands on experience as a food writer for a local “foodie” magazine
  • Conducting quality improvement audits 
  • Conducting qualitative research 
  • Designing infographics that deliver innovative nutrition messages
  • Conducting teaching kitchen events for outpatients, students and staff
  • Designing and delivering innovative nutrition education programs to diverse audiences
  • Performing biometric screenings
  • Being a health-wellness coach for 8 weeks
  • Developed concise, engaging social media posts

Health Promotion Entry Level Practice

Following health promotion rotations, interns select an area of management, business or community practice for their specialty entry level practice experience.  During this rotation, interns function independently as an entry level dietitian.  The opportunities available vary from year to year, based on availability of host locations and intern interests.

Entry Level Practice II

At the completion of 34 weeks of intensive training during disease management, health promotion and entry level practice rotations, dietetic interns complete a rotation called Entry Level Practice II.  This final rotation is a concentration experience where interns demonstrate their readiness to practice and their ability to connect practice components from all settings; disease management/health promotion. The opportunities available vary from year to year, based on availability of host locations and intern interests. The following must be demonstrated by an intern:

  • Implement the nutrition care process in disease management/health promotion area of dietetic practice
  • Translate and coordinate nutrition into foods at the system and/or individual levels for disease management/health promotion in dietetics practice
  • Demonstrate leadership in a disease management/health promotion area of practice