Policies and Procedures
- Introduction to the Program
- Measurable Goals of the Program
- Statement of Equal Opportunity
- Protection of Privacy of Information
- Access to Student Support Services
- Professional Membership and activities
- Program-Associated Costs
- Withdrawal and Refund of Tuition and Fees
- Scheduling and Program Calendar
- Paperwork and Assignments
- Minimum Wage Ruling
- Injury or Illness while in a Facility for Supervised Practice
- Drug screens and background checks
- List of Sites
- Personal Appearance
- Confidentiality of Medical Records
- Medical Leave of Absence
- Non - completion of Internship
- Protocols and Grievances
- Verification Statements
- Site Selection
- Assessment of prior learning
- Discipline and Termination
1. Introduction to the Program
The University of Houston Dietetic Internship program is a post-baccalaureate, supervised practice program which qualifies graduates to take the examination to become Registered Dietitians. Dietetic Interns (from now on referred to as "interns") enroll in a full-time program requiring 40 hours of participation per week for 28 weeks. The program goals reflect the major points of our philosophy: quality instruction with broad-based training concurrent with ongoing supervision, feedback, and evaluation.
The UH internship program has initial accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) 120 Riverside Plaza Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995. The program is comprised of a 8 day orientation, 10 weeks of clinical nutrition, 4 weeks of foodservice management, 4 weeks of community nutrition, 4 weeks research and 4 weeks of wellness and sports. Interns may be assigned to as many as 6 different sites to achieve completion of no less than 54 ADA-specified dietitian competencies over the 28-week period. Each rotation contains a series of competencies, objectives, activities, and assignments that must be completed in order to receive credit for the hours completed. Formal evaluations will be received by each intern at the end of each rotation, and will indicate whether or not the intern has successfully completed the competencies and objectives for that particular rotation. All interns will complete at least 1000 supervised practice hours during the 28-week period, which exceeds the ADA minimum of 900 hours. Weekly conferences are held at the UH campus in order to monitor intern progress and compliance with all policies and to provide additional training opportunities. Intern progress will be evaluated by the program director following each rotation and there will be a formal evaluation between the intern and director at midterm and again at the end of the program.
2. Measurable Goals of the Program
The primary goals of the University of Houston Dietetic Internship are twofold: to provide the intern with meaningful rotational experiences that will allow for successful completion of the registration examination for dietitians, and to provide the opportunity to develop the skills needed to obtain employment as an entry-level dietitian.
3. Statement of Equal Opportunity
"The University of Houston is fully committed to the principle of providing equality of treatment and opportunity to all persons in an environment which appreciates and respects the diversity of the community it serves. University policy prohibits discrimination in educational services based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation, except where such a distinction is required by law."
4. Protection of Privacy of Information
Interns are accorded privacy regarding anything of a personal nature, either written or stated, by faculty, staff, and site preceptors. Intern files are accessible only by the intern, in addition to university personnel associated with the program. Interns will be required to sign a form agreeing to allow ACEND access to their official transcripts in the case of a random audit.
5. Access to Student Support Services
Interns have access to the university library system, where they can use the Internet or specialized library search products such as MEDLINE. Interns have access to computer terminals and laser printers, both in the library and within the college, for purposes of completing typed assignments and reports. In addition, interns are oriented to the Jesse Jones Memorial Library in the Texas Medical Center during orientation. This facility is available to the interns for access to numerous medical data banks and professional reference journals.
6. Professional Membership and activities
Interns are encouraged to apply for membership in the ADA (which automatically confers membership in the Texas Dietetic Association). UHDI has an agreement with the local association (Houston Area Dietetic Association) and the interns are welcome to attend those meetings. Periodically, the internship class will attend professional meetings/conferences as part of the requirements for the supervised practice.
7. Program-Associated Costs
Tuition fees are $5500.00 and payment is expected prior to the beginning of the internship rotations. The dates for the fee schedule are listed in the intern contract. Any variance in the payment schedule must be approved by the internship director.
Interns are responsible for their own transportation to the University of Houston and internship facilities. Interns are urged to obtain reliable transportation for the duration of the internship. Buses, taxis, and in some cases, shuttles, are available as backup transportation to some internship sites. The University of Houston is not liable for any intern travel resulting in accidents, injury, or mortality. For this reason we require that interns provide proof of car insurance and medical insurance before starting at their respective sites. Transportation and parking costs are estimated at approximately $500-600 for the duration of the six-month program, depending on the sites to which you are assigned, and based on gasoline cost, mileage traveled, and parking costs.
Rent costs are variable depending on amenities, size, and location. Utilities, cable, and a unit washer and dryer will add additional costs to your apartment. Efforts will have been made prior to your arrival to facilitate matching new interns up with each other for housing purposes.
Some sites provide meals as part of the rotation experience; others do not. Lab coats can generally be obtained for $20 or less. It is recommended that each intern have at least two lab coats to ensure availability at all times.
A Food-Drug interaction book is required for the internship. Other reference books will be recommended but are optional for purchase.
Interns are required to have daily access to a computer and printer for timely completion of assignments and projects and must maintain an active email account.
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8. Withdrawal and Refund of Tuition and Fees
Tuition payment is due in full prior to the start of the supervised practice rotations. Tuition is non-refundable regardless of the reason for non-completion of the program.
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9. Scheduling and Program Calendar
Scheduling is done at the discretion of the internship director and site availability. As possible, intern preferences will be honored. All interns are required to attend class each week which will be held at 3:30 on Wednesday afternoons. The weekly meetings are subject to change due to speaker availability or other unforeseen event, in which case you will be notified by email.
The hourly schedule will vary between the different internship affiliations, but interns may expect to be at the affiliation sites a minimum of 40+ hours per week, and involved in internship assignments for another 5-10 hours per week. Also, at times, weekend and evening attendance at various sites may be required for successful completion of all competencies and objectives.
Regular attendance and punctuality at each site and for weekly internship meetings are mandatory. Being tardy during a rotation may result in failing the rotation. All failed rotations must be repeated in order to receive credit for supervised practice hours. Reassignment for failed rotations is at the discretion of the Internship Director. To pass a rotation, you must have received an evaluation of satisfactory or higher on at least 80% of that rotation’s competencies and a grade of “pass” for the overall evaluation by the preceptor. Interns may fail a rotation due to unethical or unprofessional behavior regardless of successful completion of required competencies. Failure of two (2.0) rotations during the 27-week program constitutes grounds for dismissal from the program. Life crises such as death, bereavement, illness, accidents, and other emergencies may result in the intern having to take an approved leave of absence from the program. Being late for or missing meetings with the Internship Director may result in the intern being given additional assignments, so it is important that interns manage their time as wisely as possible. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT INTERNS CALL THEIR SITES AND CALL THE INTERNSHIP DIRECTOR WHEN THEY WILL BE LATE OR ABSENT FOR ANY REASON.
Personal leave for other than medical, bereavement, or emergency reasons is NOT ALLOWED. PLEASE NOTIFY THE INTERNSHIP DIRECTOR IF YOU PLAN TO LEAVE TOWN. THIS IS FOR YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY. If you know you are going to need time off for any reason, please let the Internship Director know as soon as possible.
There is no vacation allowance during the University of Houston Internship. Interns will be required to make up hours missed due to absences. Interns will observe holiday schedules of the practice sites. Schedule changes for religious reasons can be made if discussed in advance with the Internship Director. IT IS THE INTERN’S RESPONSIBILITY TO NOTIFY THE DIRECTOR OF ANY TIME AWAY FROM FACILITIES. FAILURE TO NOTIFY THE DIRECTOR IN A TIMELY FASHION MAY RESULT IN TERMINATION.
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10. Paperwork and Assignments
Interns are responsible for completion of all paperwork regarding evaluations and written assignments. All work assigned to you by the Internship Director or the Site Preceptors must be completed in the given time frame. Interns are required to submit a COPY of all evaluation material within one week of the completion of each rotation. Originals are to be retained by the intern for inclusion in the professional portfolio.
The Site Preceptors will have been instructed to complete the paperwork in timely fashion so as to provide timely feedback on intern performance in the facilities.
All interns are required to pass a final exam with a score of 75% or better in order to successfully complete the program.
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11. Minimum Wage Ruling
The minimum wage ruling is in effect at all times during the internship, meaning that interns are not employees of the sites, and are not entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship or an individual rotation.
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Interns are required to have professional liability insurance as well as health insurance and automobile insurance. Professional liability insurance is provided by UH and is included in tuition fees. Interns will receive written documentation of individual liability insurance coverage. Interns must show proof of health insurance and automobile insurance during the orientation period.
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13. Injury or Illness while in a Facility for Supervised Practice
In most cases, interns will have access to on-site health care in the event of injury or other emergency. Cost of such treatment may vary from facility to facility. However, due to the nature of our affiliation agreements, interns do not qualify for worker’s compensation due to injuries received on facility premises. If you have an emergency need for transportation or other problem while at the site, please contact the Internship Director (713-743-4112), the Departmental Office Manager (713-743-9859), or the Department Chair (713-743-9868).
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Several immunizations may be required, including hepatitis B, MMR (mumps, measles, rubella), and diptheria/tetanus, depending on the hospitals or sites to which you are assigned. TB skin tests are likely to be required as well, especially at the hospitals. INTERNS ARE FULLY SUBJECT TO THE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES AT EACH PARTICULAR SITE. You may avoid some or all of the immunizations by bringing the appropriate immunization records with you to your sites. All interns are advised to take the Hepatitis B vaccine if they have not done so already. It is suggested that interns obtain copies of any documentation describing immunizations or TB skin tests received at various facilities in order to eliminate the need for additional immunizations/tests at subsequent sites. Any costs incurred as a result of needing TB tests or immunizations are the responsibility of the dietetic intern, although most hospitals will only charge a nominal fee for each immunization required.
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15. Drug screens and background checks
Interns will be required to submit to drug screens and background checks as required by the individual sites. FAILURE OF A DRUG SCREEN OR BACKGROUND CHECK WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC TERMINATION FROM THE PROGRAM.
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16. List of Sites
The list of sites is constantly changing as the internship evolves. Currently, sites are located all over greater Houston, so a reliable car is a necessity. The list of sites currently participating in the University of Houston Dietetic Internship are included in your internship schedule, and can also be found on our website.
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17. Personal Appearance
A professional appearance must be projected by interns at all times through their dress and grooming. The personal appearance of University of Houston Dietetic Interns contributes greatly to the program’s image and success. Professional attire is required.
- Clothing is to be neat, clean, in good condition, and properly fitted. Women may wear a dress, business suit, a (dress) pants suit, or a blouse and skirt or slacks, with or without a jacket. Hosiery should also be worn at all times with non-open-toed business shoes. Men may wear a suit, or a sports coat with dress slacks with a dress shirt and tie, or dress shirt and slacks. Socks and business footwear are also a requirement. Tennis shoes or open toed shoes are not allowed. Examples of inappropriate clothing include athletic T-shirts, halter tops, tank tops, walking shorts, leotards, denim jeans, sundresses, backless or low-cut blouses, mini skirts or dresses of inappropriate length, and sheer apparel.
- The internship name badge should be worn with the name visible while working.
- Hair should be neat and clean, and in a conservative style. Beards and mustaches should neatly trimmed and of moderate length. Hair restraint must be worn while in the kitchen for any foodservice or clinical rotations. In addition, food service rotations may not allow jewelry, nail polish or artificial nails to be worn.
- Cologne and perfume should not be worn in the event of working with patients or clients who have allergies.
- Wearing jewelry requiring piercing of body parts other than ear lobes is prohibited.
- Fingernails must be clean and trimmed. Nail polish, if worn, should not be cracked or chipped.
- Wearing of enhanced and/or artificial fingernails is prohibited.
- If lab coats are required, they should be cleaned and pressed and worn over professional street clothing.
- Interns are also to abide by any additional dress rules imposed by the facility in which they are working. Excessive jewelry is inappropriate, and safety precautions should be taken especially when working in the foodservice management rotations.
Interns must set an example of adherence to all site policies and procedures. Interns should obtain information regarding attire and protocols prior to arriving at each site.
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18. Confidentiality of Medical Records
REMEMBER THAT YOU MUST KEEP CONFIDENTIAL ALL INFORMATION THAT YOU RECEIVE AT THE FACILITIES REGARDING A PARTICULAR PATIENT AND HIS OR HER FAMILY. FAILURE TO DO SO CAN RESULT IN DISMISSAL FROM THE PROGRAM. DO NOT DISCUSS PATIENTS IN PUBLIC AREAS SUCH AS CAFETERIAS, ELEVATORS, RESTROOMS, ETC. DISCUSS PATIENTS ONLY IN STAFF-SECURED AREAS WITH APPROPRIATE PERSONNEL. A MEDICAL RECORD OR CHART IS A LEGAL DOCUMENT THAT CAN BE USED AS EVIDENCE IN A COURT OF LAW. DOCUMENTATION MUST FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES OUTLINED BY THE FACILITY. INTERNS WILL FOLLOW THE STANDARDS AS SET FORTH IN HIPPA AT ALL TIMES.
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19. Medical Leave of Absence
Request for medical leave must be approved by the internship director. Documentation of the medical condition will be required. If a medical leave of absence is taken, the intern must agree to re-enter the program at a time when the Internship Director can schedule the intern for remaining rotations. Medical leave for more than one year will result in forfeiture of the internship slot and tuition.
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20. Non-completion of Internship
In all cases, interns who do not complete the internship program successfully within a one year period are subject to dismissal from the program and forfeiture of tuition fees.
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21. Protocols and Grievances
It is the policy of the UHDI that interns have a right to redress their grievances. The Internship Director is the primary focus for problem-solving. Problems at a site or with a preceptor, should be discussed with the Internship Director as soon as possible. However, it is expected that interns cultivate cordial, professional relationships with the preceptor at the outset of any rotation.
Interns must first discuss the issue with the Site Preceptor, and attempt to resolve before bringing it up with the Internship Director. If an issue is not resolved to an intern’s satisfaction after discussing the matter in a mature fashion with both the Site Preceptor and the Internship Director, the intern may request a formal review by the Chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance.
The following is the complete order in which a grievance may be reviewed:S
Grievance for removal from the UHDI must be initiated within 90 days of intern dismissal from the program.
22. Verification Statements
It is the policy of the UHDI to issue verification statements to all interns who have successfully completed a minimum of 1000 documented hours of supervised practice, completed the exit exam with a score of 75% or better, returned any and all borrowed resources and turned in original copies of all rotation documents in a completed portfolio. Verifications will be mailed to the intern’s permanent address approximately 3 weeks after program completion when all files have been verified. Original signed copies of the verification statements remain on file at UH indefinitely.
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23. Site Selection
It is the policy of the UHDI to select new rotation sites based on need or the ability of the site to provide a unique niche to the rotation offerings. PD will meet with the lead preceptor and review relevant competencies and learning activities appropriate to the site’s emphasis area. Scheduling procedures, length of rotation and learning activities will be mutually agreeable to both the PD and primary preceptor. An affiliation agreement must be signed by both parities before interns may be placed in rotation at that site. Site evaluation will occur through intern evaluations and correspondence with the primary preceptor.
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24. Assessment of prior learning:
It is the policy of the UHDI to grant credit for prior learning to interns who can provide documentation of significant compensated work experiences that comprise the same types of learning experiences as required by the ACEND competency statements in particular emphasis areas.
Prior learning credits are granted when there is a minimum of 3-6 months FTE paid work experience. No credit will be extended for clinical work experience and only hours that meet or exceed the number of required hours for a particular rotation will be considered.
No partial credit will be allowed and not more than two rotations will be waived. There is no fee reduction.
The request for prior learning credit consideration and all associated paperwork must be submitted at least two weeks prior to program start date. Supervisor must be a Registered Dietitian and must submit letter of corroboration including dates of employment, responsibilities, and activities performed.
Final determination of assessment of prior learning is at the discretion of the internship director.
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25. Discipline and Termination
It is the policy of the UHDI that interns may disciplined or terminated from the program as outlined below:
Interns may be disciplined by:
1) termination from the program (see below)
2) suspension for a time commensurate with the offense
3) suspension for remediation of knowledge or other aspects of performance as determined by the Internship Director
Interns may be terminated from the program for the following causes:
1) Repeated poor performance
2) Not following instructions as requested
3) Repeated absenteeism or tardiness
4) Unprofessional or unethical conduct or violating the policies of the internship as set forth in this document or the intern’s signed contract
5) Two rotation failures
6) Non-payment of tuition.
7) Failure to pass drug screen or background check
8) Other reasons as set forth in the signed contract
Grievance for removal from the UHDI must be initaited within 90 days of dismissal from the program
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