Preceptors make a difference in the lives of students who are learning to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists or Dietetic Technicians Registered by acting as a mentor and training the dietetic professionals of the future. Currently, for every qualified student who gets an internship rotation, another student will not, because too few practitioners have been willing to take on this role.
The profession needs more practitioners who are willing to train and serve as positive role models and preceptors to assure that all qualified students can complete their education.
Become a Preceptor
ACEND has unveiled a database which allows practitioners to register to potentially become preceptors and join the effort to guide and educate the next generation of dietetic professionals. The Find-a-Preceptor Database allows program directors and students, who are members of the Academy, to search for a preceptor within a certain geographical or specialty area.
National Preceptor Month
Initiated in 2013, April was named National Preceptor Month in an effort to raise awareness of not only the need for preceptors but also to recognize and thank the practitioners who take the time and make the effort to create the next generation of professionals by teaching students in their workplace. Without preceptors, our profession and our Academy would not exist.
During National Preceptor Month, interns and program directors are asked to thank those who are making a difference. No matter how small or large the thank you is - it is a much-needed thank you for all the hard work preceptors do on a daily basis.
Outstanding Preceptor Awards
At the request of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation now funds seven awards on behalf of the Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors (NDEP) and ACEND to recognize preceptors who are exemplary educators and mentors.
The award will provide reimbursement of up $1,000 for expenses related to attending FNCE. The seven award recipients are recognized at the Academy Member Showcase and the NDEP Member Meetings at FNCE each year.
Every year in January, a survey link is sent out to program directors to begin collecting preceptor nominations within their program. Nominations are collected and the winners are chosen by the NDEP selection committees for each area. Winners are announced in April during National Preceptor Month.
Supply and Demand for Internships
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How Do Other Professions Avoid a Shortage of Internship Positions?
All other regulated professions in the United States that require supervised practice, from nursing, to medicine, to law, to teaching, avoid shortages of entry-level supervised practice by providing both didactic education and supervised practice within one education program. In contrast, the majority of dietetic students must obtain their entry-level supervised practice by applying to a second, post-graduate program, often without the benefit of professional recognition through a graduate-level degree.
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Are There Enough Jobs for Dietitians?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of jobs for registered dietitians and nutritionists will increase by 9 percent between 2008 and 2018; however, we believe that even more RDs will be needed, because of the on-going U.S. health crisis.
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Is There a Need for Preceptors in My Area?
Contact an ACEND representative at email@example.com and request a list of internship programs needing preceptors or mentors in your area. On occasion, students may contact you to see if you are willing to precept them. If so, ask for the name of the program and information about the program's expectations.
Questions or Comments
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns related to preceptors.