A Journey to Nutrition Expertise

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 12:51pm

By Anastasia Knyazeva

Capital Health has offered one of Canada’s longest standing registered dietetic internship programs for the past 75 years. What’s the secret behind its longevity and success? For dietetic interns like Ali Campbell, the year-long program offers variety, flexibility and a solid foundation of practical experience.

“I was amazed by the variety that Capital Health gives you,” says Ali Campbell, current intern, who weighed the pros and cons of different programs before applying to Capital Health.

To date, Ali has gained clinical inpatient experience in rehabilitation, neurology, general surgery and bone marrow transplant services as well in the Nutrition Education Clinic which is an outpatient service. She has also been exposed to food service administration by spending time with the director and managers of Clinical Nutrition, Central Food Production, Central Food Service and Distribution. 

“Interns look at blood work, at a patient’s current body status and any other diseases or problems that have to be taken into consideration,” says Jane Pryor, director, Hospitality Services. “They must also consider what the patient’s body is going through. What if they’ve been burned or have been in a major accident? The body is trying to heal and it needs specific nutrition to do that well. An intern will learn what the best approach to treatment is for each patient.”

An internship program is mandatory if a person wants to work as a dietitian. Through the internship, students apply the theory they’ve learned in school to each patient’s situation. Most internships in general take commitment. Dietetic internship takes a whole other level of dedication.

“It’s a challenge,” says Jane. “People like Ali must make a commitment to the whole year and do it without any financial compensation at all.”

The lack of wages doesn’t deter people like Ali. The depth and breadth of experience that interns gain through the program serves them well as they begin their career as dietitians.

“At the end of this 47-week internship I will be able to confidently work in clinical inpatient settings and outpatient settings. I’ll also have insight into the administrative work that dietitians do and experience in my field of interest - Sports Nutrition,” says Ali.

“Capital Health has a very respected dietetic internship and I am honoured to be in this program.”

For more information on our Dietitic Internship program, visit the Education and Learning section of this site.

March is Nutrition Month.  Visit our Nutrition Month site for more information.