To become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), one must obtain either a bachelors or masters degree and complete 1200 supervised practiced hours from an accredited and highly competitive dietetic internship after graduation. The national match rate hovers around 50% for dietetic interns, with many possessing graduate degrees and taking time after graduation to gain enough experience to make one competitive for the match.
I was one of the hardworking 60 dietetic interns that matriculated to the Morrison Healthcare Dietetic Internship out of 450+ applicants. I am proud to say my passion for the field led me to gather to experience and academics to begin my dietetic internship directly following graduation with only my bachelors degree. My experiences at Penn State prior to the match included a 3.71 DPD GPA, being a nutrition teaching assistant, nutrition research assistant, undergraduate nutrition retail intern, undergraduate nutrition diabetes intern, hospital volunteer, biology judge, treasurer and member of the Penn State Student Nutrition Association, and content creator for my nutrition blog. All of these experiences in addition to my time as a Registered Dietitian and Dietetic Intern have made me the effective RD I am today.
My supervised practice rotations included:
Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center- Clinical Concentration Rotation • Concentration/additional hours spent in ICU/ CCU setting • Routinely monitored tube feed patients’ weight, intake, output and related laboratory values • Became familiar assessing patients with diet orders, tube feeds, or TPN with appropriate recommendations and diet instruction
Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center- Clinical Rotation • Developed a specialized plan of care for each patient considering physical assessment, medical history, laboratory values, and diet history • Diet instructions and counseling to patients according to established procedures/diet as ordered • Participated in outpatient weight loss nutrition counseling • Shadowed outpatient diabetes dietitian counseling sessions • Changed diet orders with RD supervision/approval
Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center- Food and Nutrition Management Rotation • Proposed a new nutritional formulary for the hospital • Revised patient menus including a pediatric menu • Created a theme meal for the retail cafe considering healthy choices • Held staff in-services on nutrition related topics for employees
Fellowship Village-Long Term Care Rotation • Assisted in giving preliminary and comprehensive assessments of dietary needs to long term care residents • Participated in creating and discussing dietary portion of resident care plans
After completion of my dietetic internship, I passed my Registered Dietitian examination on my first attempt with a scaled score of 32 (only a scaled score of 25 was required!). Shortly after becoming a Registered Dietitian, I accepted a position as a clinical inpatient dietitian where I have gained counseling and clinical experience in medical nutrition therapy working in a hospital that is a level 1 trauma center. I am passionate about providing evidence based nutrition recommendations in addition to helping others feel their best version of themselves through proper nutrition.