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The University of Houston Dietetic Internship is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The ACEND standards require that UHDI graduates successfully meet 50 competencies. Interns are required to obtain a passing score on all competencies and pass the program overall in order to be eligible for the Registration examination for Dietitians. ACEND oversees our operation with periodic reports and site visits.

Online Preceptor Handbook

  1. Letter to Preceptors

  2. UHDI Preceptor Training Video

  3. Program Mission and Goals

  4. Forms

  5. Online Dietetics Preceptor Training from CDR

  6. Tips for Being Effective Preceptors

  7. Five-Step Method for Teaching Clinical Skills

Letter to Preceptors

Dear Preceptors,

Welcome to the University of Houston Dietetic Internship! Thank you for considering a role as an internship preceptor!

A little history about the program--our program has been in existence for 20+ years and has maintained a five year pass rate on the RD exam of >90% for more than ten years! The program has two tracks—an onsite program based in Houston and a distance program for interns to design their internship experiences in their own geographical area. Our preceptors are the most important element of the program—through you we will offer excellent teaching and mentoring for our interns to become competent, ethical and effective entry-level RD’s.

We have created this page to assist you with working with our program and improving your precepting skills. On this page are links to our forms, tips for effective precepting, opportunity for CEU credits with CDR, and information on our program mission and goals.

Our faculty is here to help in any way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Claudia Scott MS RD LD CDE
Director, Dietetic Internship
Clinical Associate Professor

Carla Ferrell MS RD
Coordinator, Dietetic Internship
Clinical Assistant Professor

Kirstin Vollrath MS, RD, LD
Coordinator, Dietetic Internship
Professor of Practice


UHDI Preceptor Training Video

Click on the video below for an presentation on UHDI Preceptor Training

After watching the video please submit the form below:

I have watched the Preceptor Training Video


Program mission and goals

The mission of the UH Dietetic Internship is to provide an intensive, high quality supervised practice experience for a diverse population of interns with emphasis on providing a quality educational experience and mentored training necessary to become competent, independent and well-rounded entry-level Dietitian/Nutritionists. UHDI will train practitioners in teaching, management, counseling, administration and applied practice throughout the field of dietetics.

Learn more about our program mission and goals


UHDI Competencies

  • List of all competencies

    • [Top]

      Online Dietetics Preceptor Training from CDR

      The Commission on Dietetic Registration is offering the Dietetics Preceptor Training Program, free of charge, to help preceptors of dietetics students prepare for and excel in their important role. It includes 7 modules covering:

      • Preparing for Your Role as Preceptor
      • Planning for Student Learning
      • Facilitating Student Learning
      • Assessing Student Learning
      • Communicating Effectively
      • Managing Your Time
      • Keeping Current

      This program allows you to earn 8 continuing professional education units (CPEUs).

      ACEND Dietetics Preceptor Training Program


      Tips for being effective preceptors

      (From the Emory University School of Medicine, "Being an effective preceptor")

      A review of selected literature has revealed that the following are characteristics of effective clinical teachers:


      • Possesses and demonstrates broad knowledge
      • Explains the basis for actions and decisions
      • Answers learner questions clearly and precisely
      • Open to conflicting ideas and opinions
      • Connects information to broader concepts
      • Communicates clear goals and expectation
      • Captures learners attention
      • Makes learning fun

      Careful Analysis of the Learner

      • Accurately assesses learner’s knowledge attitudes and skills
      • Uses direct observation of the learner
      • Provides effective feedback
      • Performs fair and thoughtful evaluations

      Skill in Practice and Teaching

      • Provides effective role modeling
      • Demonstrates skillful interactions with patients
      • Presents information with organization and clarity
      • Generates interest in the subject matter
      • Organizes and controls the learning experience
      • Balances clinical and teaching responsibilities
      • Gives appropriate responsibility to the learner

      Motivates the Learner

      • Emphasizes problem solving
      • Translates specific cases into general principles
      • Promotes active involvement of the learner
      • Demonstrates enjoyment and enthusiasm for patient care and teaching
      • Develops a supportive relationship with the learner.

      One-Minute Preceptor

      Get a commitment

      • “What do you think is going on?”
      • Provide assessment of learner’s knowledge/skill
      • Teach interpretation of data

      Probe for supporting evidence

      • “What led you to this conclusion?”
      • Reveals learner’s thought process and identifies knowledge gaps

      Teach general rules

      • “When you see this, always consider…”
      • Offer “pearls” which can be easily remembered

      Reinforce what was done well

      • Offer positive reinforcement
      • “You did a nice job with…”

       Correct errors

      • “Next time, try or consider…”
      • Comment on omissions and misunderstandings to correct errors in judgment or action


      Five-Step Method for Teaching Clinical Skills

      From A Simple Five-Step Method for Teaching Clinical Skills (Family Medicine 2001, 33:577-8), John H. George, PhD and Frank X. Doto, MS, suggest taking the following steps:

      1. Provide an overview of the need for the skill and how it is used in patient care.
      2. Demonstrate exactly how the skill is performed without commentary.
      3. Repeat the procedure, but describe each step.
      4. Have student “talk through the skill” by detailing each step.
      5. Observe and provide feedback to the student as he performs the skill.