Hello, fellow and future Sodexo interns! My name is Yolanda Meza, and I am a region 12 dietetic intern in Los Angeles, California. I am close to completing my internship with Sodexo and now hold a Master of Science in Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island! It has been an exhausting and rewarding ride. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and how much I continue to learn! I am eager and thrilled to finally graduate from the internship and begin studying for the RD exam.
When my director assigned me to my first rotation in a clinical setting, I experienced a mix of nervousness and excitement. Despite hearing from previous interns about the intimidating and challenging nature of clinical work, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn't that it lacked challenges; in fact, it was demanding. However, I appreciated this rotation for pushing me beyond my limits, resulting in the acquisition of valuable skills that will benefit me in my future career as a dietitian. Specifically, I learned to collaborate with different working styles, conduct independent patient assessments, accurately perform nutrition-focused physical exams, develop leadership skills during staff relief duties, and enhance my clinical judgment through critical thinking.
What I found most helpful was to go in each day with an open and optimistic mindset and accept criticism as an opportunity to grow. If I felt any confusion throughout the process, I did not hesitate to ask questions to my preceptors. Furthermore, communication is crucial among your directors and preceptors throughout the internship.
After all, working in the ICU was my favorite, as it involved assessing and treating more complex patients, which required greater involvement in the interdisciplinary team. During this time, I had to consider a lot, and my preceptors provided beneficial feedback, which helped with my learning.
During my food service management rotation in April, I organized a successful nutrition event for Earth Week. I created a plant-based beet recipe for our poke bowl, promoting vegan and vegetarian options. With educational materials at a pop-up table, we surpassed sales expectations by $233.52, leaving the manager and chef impressed and eager to include poke bowls regularly.
This internship has taught me how valuable dietitians are and what it takes to become one. It's a challenging pathway, but it has been well worth it.
Here are more tips:
Overall, I have enjoyed my journey as an RD2be, and I am excited to be one step closer to finishing and becoming a dietitian!
Good luck, and feel free to reach out with any questions.
My handle is Ymezafuturerdn
Orientation in Orlando was one of my favorite parts of the Sodexo Dietetic Internship. In person orientation gave the opportunity to meet fellow interns as well as the directors. Orientation gave the opportunity to build relationships with other interns that have been there for support during my rotations. I highly recommend getting to know others and building friendships during orientation week!
My food service management and clinical rotations were in the same hospital. My food service management rotation was first, and it helped me during my clinical rotation. I had built a rapport with the food service staff and felt comfortable when dealing with questions about patient’s meals and available supplements. My clinical rotation was focused in the areas of cardiology, nephrology and the critically ill. I was able to spend time with professionals such as the SLPs and wound care nurses. Clinical was the opportunity to put into practice what was learned in college.
My community rotation was with the American Dairy Association Indiana. Because of also having a degree in communication, I used my knowledge of communication and food and nutrition to develop online informational modules. These modules will be used for college classrooms, Indiana Dairy interns, physicians, and the public. I was also lucky enough to be at the Indiana State Fair where I worked in the Dairy Bar and applied my food service knowledge.
I chose diabetes as my concentration. I am currently with a Diabetes Educator who also does insulin pump and CGM trainings. I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge during my concentration hours.
Dietetics is a small world, and I believe in making personal connections; I have met so many people during my internship that I have built relationships with. Building relationships has helped me feel less overwhelmed with the internship hours, rotation locations and assignment activities.
Hello, I’m Tee and I am a Region 12 Sodexo dietetic intern (DI) from Los Angeles, California. So far, I have completed my food service and community hours. It feels like it was just yesterday I was sitting in orientation, and now my internship is almost complete….boy does time fly.
I’ve gained valuable experiences and met some amazing people along the way. Throughout this experience, I’ve used the advice of my mentors and peers to help guide me through the internship. Here are a few tips:
Keep an open mind!
Enter each rotation with an open mind and a willingness to learn. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you like some of the other rotations. Most dietetic interns often have an idea of what specific area of nutrition they want to focus on, however, the internship can expose you to new areas of interest.
Establish as many connections as you can. During your internship rotations, you'll meet a ton of wonderful RDs, and you never know when one of those contacts will result in a position down the road. Utilize the chance to learn from a range of RDs, and then try to develop your own approach that works best for you.
Be a sponge!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the time to do it.
My name is Miranda, and I am a region 4 dietetic intern! I am almost at the end of my internship and can finally see the finish line! As excited as I am to be done and finally start working as an RD (after passing the exam, of course), I can’t help but look back at the amazing experiences I have had so far.
Going into this internship, I was definitely a mix of nerves and excitement. Hearing the word “clinical” made me so anxious and curious at the same time. Clinical was something that I wondered whether would be the right fit for me. However, my experience turned out to surprise me and really opened my eyes to this world of dietetics. Getting to know patients, the interdisciplinary team, and the dietitians I worked closely with was the best part of the experience. Being hands on and in real life situations was very different than the mock case studies we did during undergrad, and I learned so much more than I ever had. I had the opportunity to watch a tube feed placement procedure in the OR, as well as a barium swallow study that gave me a better understanding of how nutrition plays a huge role in the well-being of patients. Interacting with the patients and connecting with them was definitely the most rewarding part.
The other piece of this internship that I didn’t think would necessarily spark my interest was the food service rotation. I had my fair share of being a dietary aide and knew that being in a kitchen wasn’t for me. However, my experience at my food service rotation changed my whole perspective. I was at a pharmaceutical company serving food for their employees; but this was no average cafeteria. The cafeteria was absolutely beautiful and every single food service employee there was so welcoming and helpful to me. They were well-trained chefs and made amazing food that I was lucky enough to eat for lunch every day. I worked closely with the executive chef and was even able to be a part of 2 cooking classes (Spanish and Italian), along with the dietitian, for the employees and had the best experience ever. I was able to make pasta for the first time (as you can see in the picture), which was a very big highlight. Being a corporate dietitian is something I never thought of, but after this experience, I can most definitely see myself being one.
I’m finishing up my community hours, as well as my concentration. I chose to do my concentration in leadership with a focus on sports nutrition. I will be interning with the sports dietitian at a University in Philadelphia over the next few weeks! I have been looking forward to this since the internship started. I have a deep passion for fitness, and of course dietetics, so I can’t wait to see how these worlds will combine.
Looking back, I have had incredible experiences with incredible preceptors and so much personal growth throughout this internship. One significant lesson I took away from the internship is that facing the unknown is not as scary as it may seem; it is an amazing opportunity for personal growth. I already feel like I’ve grown so much as an intern, and I can’t wait to see where I am a few years from now!
Hi! My name is Harley and I am a Sodexo Dietetic Intern in Austin, TX. At the time I am writing this blog, I am going on my 6th month of my internship--time has truly flown by! I started my internship in foodservice, and then I moved to my clinical rotation where I spent 4 months at a medical center. The clinical rotation may seem long and daunting, but I experienced more than I thought possible during this rotation, and I feel very confident in my clinical skills now.
The team of dietitians at this hospital were so encouraging and always wanted me to experience as much as possible. One of the coolest experiences I had during this rotation was the day that I got to see a kidney transplant. Literally, I was in the operating room with the surgeons and all! I was with our transplant dietitian, and after we saw the transplant, we were able to speak with the patients the next day to give both a kidney donor nutrition education, as well as a new kidney recipient nutrition education. I never knew the intricacies of renal nutrition therapy, and it was the coolest thing to see how nutrition plays a role in a full-circle way, both pre- and post-kidney transplant.
Hello everyone! My name is Theresa, and I am a dietetic intern from region 5 (Baltimore, MD). Since the beginning of my internship, I have met so many inspiring dietitians and took part in so many unique experiences. Such experiences include my leadership concentration in eating disorders. Sodexo provided me the opportunity to experience nutrition and dietetics in a setting where I was not too familiar, but allowed me to work outside my comfort zone in an experience I really enjoyed. I had always enjoyed learning about psychology, and I thought it was fascinating combining both psychology with medical nutrition therapy. By collaborating with dietitians, therapists, and psychiatrists in a psychiatric and eating disorder hospital, I learned the importance of quality nutrition on brain health. I pushed myself to counsel those battling disorders revolved around nutrition and strived to create a healthier food environment. Some projects I completed at the hospital included various pop-up nutrition tables, in which I developed handouts with paired recipes aimed at communicating fresh nutrition-inspired meals. These recipes not only enhanced awareness for nutritional benefits, but also introduced a variety of cooking techniques for the items. Another activity I took part in included “therapeutic lunches,” in which staff and patients sat down to have an enjoyable lunch together. In the psychiatric hospital, I was able to develop a multitude of education materials such as bulletin boards, handouts, recipes, and lesson plans. I also conducted a few presentations myself, allowing me to strengthen my confidence in the field. An area I really enjoyed was counseling patients and assessing vitamin/mineral deficiencies. I learned a lot through both conversations with my patients and assessing nutrition laboratory values. I now hope to continue learning about the impact nutrients play on one’s mental health.
Another rotation I enjoyed during my internship included my time in the ICU. Here, I worked daily with the clinical team to assess medical nutrition needs for my patients. I strengthened my communication skills by working as a team player to address patient needs. I applied my knowledge in nutrition towards difficult cases and communicated to the team my thoughts. I attended daily rounds where we discussed important updates in the hospital. This rotation also emphasized the importance of speaking up and communicating ideas. I always enjoyed math courses in school, so this rotation allowed me to use these skills by completing PPN and TPN formulas. The ICU provided me with an abundance of new nutrition terms and experiences. I loved the intensity in the ICU and the complexity of their patients. Without this rotation, I would not have seen myself enjoying the ICU and I am grateful for this experience.
Hello everyone! I’m Megan, and I am a region 12 dietetic intern located in Los Angeles, California. I have completed all my internship rotations. Throughout my internship experience, I gained so much knowledge and first-hand experience when it comes to being a registered dietitian. The three tips below are the top things I kept in mind while completing my rotations.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Now is your time to learn, and the dietetic internship is your first time having real-life experiences with patients. As an intern, you are not expected to know everything when it comes to MNT, the different diseases, and all the surgical procedures. I learned that it is very important to ask your preceptor questions early on in your rotation. It is best to get your questions cleared up now rather than later. In addition, it is important that you tell your preceptor how you learn best. During my clinical rotation, I had a few questions on tube feeding calculations and my preceptor would do it very quickly on her calculator. I know that I learn best visually and when the steps are written out. As a result, I then asked my preceptor if we could do the tube feeding calculations on paper for me to have a better understanding. My preceptor was more than happy to adjust to suit my learning better.
2. Be proactive.
Being proactive demonstrates to your preceptor that you are going above and beyond and your desire to take a bigger role as an intern. One way I was proactive during my dietetic internship was by arriving before the registered dietitians to start the screening process. By the time my preceptor arrived, all she had to do was check my work. Not only does this show you are wanting to take charge, but it also shows the registered dietitians that you are reliable and can complete the screening process on your own.
3. Complete your community rotation in a setting you know you can learn a lot from.
As you may know, the Sodexo Dietetic Internship gives you the flexibility to choose where you would like to complete your community hours. I chose to complete part of my community hours at a dialysis clinic due my lack of knowledge when it comes to working with patients with end stage renal disease. During this rotation, I gained a lot of knowledge and learned that I am so passionate about hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. If I never explored a topic that I was less familiar with, I never would have discovered this interest.
Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a Region 9 Sodexo intern in Chicago, IL. I have completed my clinical and food service rotations so far and have started completing my community hours.
I completed my food service management rotation at a corporate office cafe and had the opportunity to create my own meal, as well as educate the employees on eating a balanced plate. It was very rewarding to educate the employees on how to assemble balanced meals and offer a new dish in the cafe. In coordinating my menu for the cafe, I was able to gain valuable management experience and my preceptors were very helpful in guiding me through the process.
I also had the privilege of working with the corporate dietitian from my food service site. I gained 1:1 counseling tips from her and got to learn about a different career in the dietetics field.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences this internship has offered me thus far and I am looking forward to completing the remainder of my rotations.
Hello fellow Sodexo interns! My name is Katie and I am an intern in region 4. For my concentration, I choose to spend it in functional and integrative nutrition. I got super lucky in finding my preceptor, who was semi-local to me. She started her career as a registered dietitian, but then went on to become a medical doctor. She now owns her own integrative private practice and maintains her credentials as both a medical doctor and a registered dietitian.
During my time with my preceptor, she had partnered with another integrative practitioner, and they were running a 6-week comprehensive elimination diet program for their patients. My preceptor was doing a plant-based version, while the other practitioner was incorporating animal-protein into her version of the elimination diet. The comprehensive elimination diet required participants to eliminate all major allergens and inflammatory foods from their diets. They restricted those foods for 3 weeks, and then began the process of reintroducing those foods they had eliminated. The ultimate goal of this experience was to not only identify what foods may be bothering them, but to also allow the gut to heal itself to potentially resolve symptoms that participants could have been experiencing in relation to over-all inflammation or leaky gut.
The majority of my time during this rotation was spent meeting with participants of the comprehensive elimination diet program either over the phone or via zoom to conduct nutrition assessments and address any nutrition needs. Since my preceptor was leading a plant-based version of the elimination diet, a lot of her participants were concerned about their protein needs. I would begin by meeting with participants to conduct a 24-hour diet recall and ask if they had any other nutritional concerns or questions. I would calculate their macros and total calorie intake for the day. Then I would meet with my preceptor twice a week to review all the people that I had met with. We would discuss recommendations based on the person’s macro results and I would bring up any additional nutritional concerns that the individual had. After that, I would schedule a follow-up appointment with each participant to review the recommendations and conduct any nutrition education required. A lot of the nutritional education that I conducted was on how to incorporate more protein and how to maximize your nutrients in the morning. One way that we talked about a lot was smoothies and what to add into a smoothie to make it nutrient dense.
While this was the major project that I worked on, it was also my favorite. I loved being able to meet with people one-on-one and have that sense of independence while also knowing I had the support of my preceptor who was always able to offer a wealth of knowledge. This rotation was able to open my eyes to a whole other realm of dietetics and I loved every minute of it. I am so thankful to have had such an amazing preceptor on this journey!!
Hello, I’m Alyson, a region 8 intern who moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Florida for Sodexo’s dietetic internship program. I have really enjoyed every part of my internship so far, but my rotation in my concentration of integrative nutrition has far exceeded my expectations. I have been interning at a private practice clinic with a registered dietitian who is a certified diabetes educator, as well as an integrative medicine practitioner. This has been such a great opportunity to learn how to develop personalized integrative nutrition care plans, support the needs of an integrative practice, and learn how to interpret and apply functional testing when working with patients. I supported the needs of the practice by scribing during patient visits, performing administrative duties like creating instruction sheets for patients and uploading documents to the EMR, creating individualized weekly meal plans, and processing new inventory.
The homework component of Sodexo’s integrative concentration requires enrollment in track 1 of the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy’s training, which was far more in depth than I would have expected. The modules were a pleasant surprise and further prepared me to understand some of the very complex medical conditions that came up during my integrative rotation. Some of the complex medical conditions involved toxic exposures, chronic infections, hormonal imbalances, and auto-immune diseases, among many others. A lot of the patients that come into this office are prepared to really commit to their health and make big changes, which is so helpful since integrative nutrition is all about these lifestyle shifts.
At my integrative rotation site, the first step the dietitian takes in assessing a patient is using the In Body to assess their body composition. In the photo you can see me operating the In Body to get the full picture of the patients’ weight, skeletal muscle mass, body fat percentage, basal metabolic rate, fluid retention, etc. During the patients’ appointment, the dietitian discusses blood work and any functional labs they may have completed. The functional labs may assess the function of the gut microbiome or an imbalance of bacteria, assess their genetics, food allergies and sensitivities, or micronutrient deficiencies, just to name a few! I’m so passionate about this realm of nutrition and love that it’s like piecing together a puzzle, trying to get to the root cause of the physical symptoms and support a patients’ healing journey. Seeing patients feel better after taking certain foods out of their diet or supplementing with the nutrients they are deficient in is a huge reward, and I’m so glad I was able to find a site that was a great fit for me.
I am very grateful for Sodexo’s new integrative nutrition concentration as it felt like the perfect steppingstone for me to merge my degree in nutrition with my passion for integrative nutrition.