Unlike in some nationwide available Dietetic Internship programs, CPD Interns do not chose their own rotation sites. In fact, students interested in the CPD or current Interns are not allowed to approach potential rotation sites and/or preceptors to plan their own rotation placements. All rotation facilities for the CPD at Purdue University are carefully chosen by the CPD Director and Staff based on the potential for successful learning experiences for the CPD Interns; many of the CPD sites have a long history of superior training of the CPD Interns. One of the major functions of the CPD Director and Staff is to facilitate the placement of dietetic Interns. Great care is exercised, cooperatively working with the Preceptors on the best possible assignment. Placement arrangements are made with the cooperating sites using the placement procedures outlined below. All rotation sites engaged in the CPD program at Purdue University are providing outstanding training possibilities. During the rotations, the preceptors and the CPD Director and Staff are communicating regularly to ensure that the Intern's learning objectives are met. Any questions or concerns about Intern placement or the Intern experience may be referred to the CPD Director and Staff.
It is noteworthy to point out that all rotation sites of the CPD at Purdue University are participating on a voluntary basis. Interns register for the corresponding number of credits in the Food and Nutrition Department of Purdue University for the graded learning experience necessary to complete the requirements of the CPD program. None of the tuition or fees paid to Purdue University is re-distributed to the rotation sites.
Interns are in a unique position in the facilities they are assigned to. The primary goal of the rotations is to provide hands-on learning experiences, however, the Intern must expect to contribute to the workload of the facility and they need to follow all guidelines and rules of the facility. The supervised practice portion of the CPD is very time-intensive. Interns are expected to work 40+ hours per week; more time than that will likely be spent at the rotation site. Furthermore, Interns must expect to work on weekends, holidays, early morning and/or late night hours. Employment is not recommended due to the demands of supervised practice.
Supervised Practice Placement Guidelines
The following guidelines explain the process of Intern placements in the CPD supervised practice:
- The CPD Director and Staff approach rotation sites to explore the possible number of interns to be accommodated.
- The total number of interns placed in a given site is in proportion to the available resources at the site and might vary with personnel, relocation of offices/labs, and other internal issues.
- To maximize University supervision from the campus, an effort is made to place interns within the geographical area, however, placement of Interns in the Lafayette area is limited.
- Sites participating in the CPD program will receive placement requests from the CPD Director and Staff several months before the Intern is scheduled to begin the supervised practice experience.
- Interns are provided with contact addresses and instructions for when and how to contact a Preceptor.
- Intern-Preceptor contact is established and the terms of the start of the rotation is communicated.
Typically, the supervised practice experience begins with the community rotation for three weeks. The settings for community practice include extension offices, public health departments, commodity groups, specialized community health projects, and ambulatory care clinics.
The next experience covers food service systems management. This 11-week rotation is completed at the Purdue University Residence Halls, regional hospitals, school food service sites, or long-term care facilities.
For the medical nutrition therapy rotation, interns are usually placed at more than four medical centers, two outpatient clinics, and a health department in Indiana. The experience is 16 weeks.
The last rotation is the engagement rotation. For this seven-week rotation, the intern can rank the available tracks based on his/her specific goals and interests for dietetics practice. One of the seven weeks is spent on campus for consolidation of activities and professional development activities.
With successful completion of assignments and supervised practice, interns will finish the program by the end of the second week of July, graduate in August (if applicable), and be eligible to take the computerized national examination for Registered Dietitians. The verification for eligibility for the exam is sent in July to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). However, processing by the CDR can take up to 2 months or more.