Dietetic Internship Program

September 4, 2012

Not many interns will say that they work 40 hour a week (unpaid) and attend classes a couple nights a week for a year and are thrilled that they were in the program.  But as we are finding out, those Graduate students that were selected to go through the Dietetic Internship Program here at Bradley all have similar stories to tell. 

            Lauren Sommer was in the second graduating class and has recently taken a job with WIC (Women Infants and Children) in Champaign, IL.  According to Amanda Newell, Lauren embodied the perfect student for our program.  She jumped into each rotation with interest and vigor, always looking to understand processes and making sound contacts with the personnel at these facilities.  As she moved through the program she was able to find what she wanted to do her research project on and she excelled in preparing her final product.  The Early Headstart Program in Peoria and the Peoria County Health Department have all reviewed Lauren’s research regarding early breastfeeding among minorities and have taken some of her data and suggestions to revamp their current programs offered to expectant and new mothers that fall into that minority classification.  Lauren gives all the credit to Bradley and Amanda Newell for the education and the opportunities that were afforded to her while she was in the program.  She had her Bachelors degree from Ohio of Miami so coming to Peoria for the Dietetic Internship was an adventure she will never forget.  Each of the classes can hold 10 students, they become very close and dependant on each other, Lauren said their relationships helped her enjoy being part of a second family. 

The second graduating class of 2012 is preparing to take their final registration tests and then they will be officially Registered Dietitians.  Bradley’s first graduating class passed 100% on their first try for the registration exam. Program Director Amanda Newell is confident this 2012 class will be able to maintain the 100% pass rate and follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.

            This is a rigorous discipline.  Only 50% of the students that apply for these Dietetic programs get admitted.  It is a computerized DICAS (dietetic internship computerized application system) Process that matches students and schools. It is an elaborate application process, from papers to letters of reference and for this last graduating class Program Director Amanda Newell held over 40 Skype interviews with the applicants.  From those interviews she narrowed the pool of candidates even further to who stood out and if she thought they would be a perfect match for our program.

            Newell wishes more students could be placed.  Technically this computerized program will only place the students into one internship (could be a hospital or a school), if the student does not place then that particular student has to start the process over and hope that the next match works out better.  It is very costly and time consuming and has unfortunately become a deterrent for some students to consider because the odds are only 50% that they will be admitted into a dietetic internship program.

            Bradley’s Dietetic Program focuses on “wellness” so students looking to enter this program are drawn to working in this area.  This unique emphasis certainly sets Bradley apart from other dietetic internships.  Each student in the program has the opportunity to be placed into a rotation of working with different corporations or entities on different aspects of the dietetic field; this rotation covers 1240 supervised practice hours.  Hours can be worked in such settings as nursing homes, wellness and recreation centers, schools and hospitals.  They are also expected to work on a research project that they tailor to their interests in the field all year.   

            Bradley Graduate School is proud of all of their programs offered and for the experiences that our faculty and school can offer our students.  We will be featuring as many of these wonderful stories that we can in the near future to let you know what is happening here on campus!  Till next time – The Graduate School