Date Approved

2016

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Health Sciences

Committee Member

John Carbone

Committee Member

Alice Jo Rainville

Committee Member

Lydia Kret

Abstract

Objective: To explore the disparity between number of students completing degrees in dietetics, students matched to internships, and current and projected field needs. Methods: An electronic survey covering a variety of factors potentially affecting internship accessibility was distributed to 251 internship program directors, 200 preceptors, and accreditation board, staff, and review members. Results: Of 193 total respondents, 60% agreed that accreditation competencies prepared dietetic interns well and that internship costs may hinder diversity among interns. Seventy-two percent of program directors (n=115) reported difficulties in preceptor recruitment and 56% reported difficulties in preceptor training/orientation. Conclusion: The overarching goal of ACEND®, dietetic internship programs, and alternative certification pathways should be finding solutions that will reduce the bottleneck of qualified dietetics students unable to begin an internship upon graduating and create structures growing the accrediting ability of the field, allowing program development and expansion to keep pace with the growing demand of credentialed employees.

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