dietetic perceptors.pngTucson Medical Center offers a nine-month dietetic internship with a clinical-nutrition concentration and a community-service focus. Tucson Medical Center, licensed at more than 600 beds, has been Tucson’s locally governed nonprofit regional hospital for more than 70 years. TMC is Southern Arizona’s leading provider for emergency care and pediatric care (including Tucson’s first Pediatric Emergency Department), with top-notch intensive care units for adults, children and newborns. Other speciality areas include women's, maternity, cardiac care, orthopaedic, neuroscience, hospice, surgicalvascular and geropsychiatric care.

We earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with the commission's performance standards. Key collaborations include our alignment with two Southern Arizona accountable care organizations, membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network, partnership in the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance, as well as a joint venture with El Rio Community Health Center in creating HealthOn Broadway, an innovative, integrated health center that operates in downtown Tucson.

TMC is also committed to empowering patients to be active partners in their care and has a robust wellness outreach program, including at TMC for Seniors at El DoradoThe Core Health & Wellness Center at La Encantada and Chef Janos Wilder’s Carriage House.

Under the supervision of registered dietitians, dietetic interns will rotate through experiences in clinical nutrition, food service, clinical and food service management, community nutrition and research. Upon satisfactory completion of the internship, graduates are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.


Internship Program Overview

Program Goals

Process for Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


Application Information

Selection Criteria

Internship Graduation Requirements

TMC Dietetic Internship Program Metrics

General Program Rotation Schedule

Clinical Nutrition Therapy Rotation

Food and  Nutrition Services Rotation

Public Health & Community Nutrition Rotation

Research/Continuous Improvement Rotation

Admission Requirements

Program Costs

Tranportation and Insurance


About the Dietetic Internship Program

TMC Dietetic Internship Vision

Dietetic Interns will complete the program by meeting the established competencies, successfully pass the Registration Exam, and enter the profession as competent practitioners committed to serving the public through the visible promotion of optimal nutrition, health, and well-being. Faculty and staff of the program will demonstrate a commitment to and derive personal and professional satisfaction from participation in the development of future dietetic professionals.

TMC Dietetic Internship Mission

The program will help advance the nutrition profession by providing a high quality and rigorous clinical nutrition-focused training experience for eligible interns, and will produce highly competent, independent, entry-level registered dietitians with a commitment to continuous development, advocacy for the nutrition profession and commitment to the community.

TMC DI Philosophy

“We are cognizant that students enter the dietetic internship with varying levels of knowledge, skills, and interest. Each intern learns at a different rate and espouses varied learning styles. The program must be designed to accommodate these individual differences within the boundaries of skills needed to demonstrate entry-level competence.  Working and learning to apply knowledge in a small group and in a one-to-one setting will assist the intern to achieve competency as an entry-level dietetic practitioner.  The intern should have the opportunity to work in numerous practice settings and to observe preceptors and mentors who demonstrate the highest standards of professional practice.”


Program Goals

  1. To achieve the goal of preparing graduates who have met the entry-level performance requirements as defined by ACEND in order to become competent entry-level registered dietitians, we have also incorporated ACEND required program objectives.
    1. At least 80% of interns will complete the dietetic internship program within 13.5 months.
    2. At least 80% of graduates, seeking employment in dietetics, will obtain a nutrition-dietetics related position within 12 months post-graduation
    3. 100% of graduates will take the CDR examinations within 12 months of completing the dietetic internship.
    4. Over a five year period, 80% of graduates will pass the CDR exam within one year of their first attempt.
    5. At least 80% of graduate employer respondents will agree or strongly agree that the graduates are effective entry-level dietitians.
  2. To achieve the goal of providing a program in which graduates effectively apply current research and scientific information in their practice and when rendering educational service to the community as an entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists, the following objectives are outlined:
    • At least 80% of employer respondents will agree/strongly agree that graduates are able to incorporate current research and scientific information into their daily practice, i.e., medical nutrition therapy is justified by evidenced based research, community education is evidenced based.

Annual program outcome data is available upon request by contacting the internship director Beth Dorsey, (520) 324-1410 or

Program data to be determined.[Top]

Process for Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  • Complete minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited didactic program in dietetics
  • Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program
  • Pass the national registration exam for dietitians

For more information, please visit


Tucson Medical Center has been granted Candidacy for Accreditation status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

120 S. Riverside Plaza, #2190
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
Phone: (312) 899-5400
Fax:  (312) 899-4817


Application Information

This program is using the online centralized internship application, DICAS, which may be accessed at in early December for the Spring Match;

Email The online application must be completed for our program by 11:59 p.m. Central Time by the mid-February deadline set by ACEND.

The fee to use DICAS is $45 for the first application submitted and $20 for each additional application.

Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to: DICAS - Transcript Dept., PO Box 9118, Watertown, MA 02472.

Preferred cumulative GPA is be 3.0 or higher.

As part of the DICAS application process you will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1,000 words or less. Please address the following questions in your personal statement or attach a supplemental sheet if needed:

  • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
  • Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career.
  • State your professional goals and reasons for application to the TMC DI program.
  • Describe your strengths that will help you succeed in the TMC DI program and in reaching your professional goals.

Complete ALL sections of the DICAS application. A résumé may be included, but does NOT substitute for completing the work/volunteer experience section. The work/volunteer experience MUST include accurate dates for employment, hours worked/week and/or total hours worked.  Shadowing experience DOES NOT count toward work experience.

Three letters of recommendation are required. When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and email address for each reference. This will trigger an email requesting the reference to complete a recommendation form online. Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.

Applicants must also register with D&D Digital online at for computer matching and select dietetic internship priority choices by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Feb. 15 for the Spring Match. There is a $55 computer matching fee.

D&D Digital Systems, Inc. contact information:

A non-refundable application fee of $60 must be mailed and post-marked by Feb. 15 (Spring Match) for the application to be considered complete. Check or money order should be made payable to:  Tucson Medical Center.

Mail application fee to:
Tucson Medical Center
Dietetic Internship/Beth Dorsey MA, RD
Food and Nutrition Services
5301 E Grant Road
Tucson AZ 85712


Selection Criteria

The intern selection criteria is based upon the factors listed below. Our goal is to select the best students from the applicant pool who have strong academic backgrounds, effective communication skills and success in cooperative work with others. The selection committee uses the following criteria when reviewing applications: 

  • Academics: minimum 3.0 grade point average
  • Work/Volunteer Experience: Clinical food and nutrition experience preferred
  • College and Work References
  • Personal Statement Essays
  • Phone or In-Person Interview
  • Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination


Internship Graduation Requirements

The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) establishes requirements for eligibility to take the entry-level registration examination for dietitians. Current requirements include academic preparation (minimum of a bachelor's degree; completion of an ACEND-accredited didactic program in dietetics), completion of an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program and confirmation of academic and practice requirements by verification. Verification of academic and didactic requirements is necessary for entry in the TMC Dietetic Internship. Completion of the internship allows the student to meet the second requirement of CDR (completion of an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program).

Graduates of the internship are eligible to take the registration exam for dietitians once successful completion of the program is reached. Attainment of the RD credential also establishes eligibility for certification and/or licensure at the state level.

Internship program completion includes: 

  • Completion of the scheduled 33 weeks of supervised practice/class presentations.
  • Beginning each rotation/phase fully prepared and satisfactorily complete the requirements for each rotation/phase by demonstrating competence in all 2017 Core Competencies as defined by the ACEND, in addition to the program concentration competencies. Minimum rating of 3 “meets expectations for Entry-Level Performance” for all performance evaluations and assignments.
  • Complete all assignments and projects by established deadlines.

Dietetic interns will be eligible for the registration examination for dietitians after receiving a verification statement of successful completion of the internship from the program director. Eligible candidates are submitted through REPS (Registration Eligibility Processing System) to CDR within one week of graduation. Intern graduates are responsible for submitting their demographic information online prior to graduation. Candidates will receive authorization to take the exam shortly thereafter.


TMC Dietetic Internship Program Metrics


Maximum Dietetic Intern Positions *




Average number of applicants (2018)




Preferred Minimum GPA




Average Overall GPA of TMC Dietetic Interns




5–year first-timer passing rate for RD Exam (Minimum 80% Goal)




General Program Rotation Schedule

Spring Match interns (4) will begin in mid-September and graduate in June.

The intern class will complete 33 weeks and a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice experience. All interns complete their supervised practice at the same sites. 











Clinical Nutrition Therapy





Food service & Clinical Nutrition Management





Community Nutrition/Public Health

TMC Outpatient Clinics, TMC Wellness, Desert Dialysis, community lectures,

UA Wellness Center- Sports Nutrition, Pima County Public Health – WIC











Research & Professional Development











Rotation Schedule

Interns are scheduled for a minimum 40-hour week. Work hours vary and are determined by the preceptor to whom the intern is assigned. Additional time outside of scheduled hours is required to complete assignments, readings and projects. Outside employment is not recommended. Interns are scheduled to work some holidays and weekends. Some sick leave is excused, however, excessive absence must be made up to meet ACEND requirements. Interns receive one week of vacation, and holidays are given in accordance with hospital policy.

Clinical Nutrition Therapy Rotation

The TMC DI Clinical Nutrition Therapy Rotation is designed to provide a logical progression of clinical competency skill sets to facilitate novice- to entry-level practice.

Phase 1  (3 weeks) – Low Nutritional Risk/Acuity – Adult Population

  • Cardiac
  • Diabetes
  • Oral Nutrition Supplements
  • Poor PO intake
  • COPD
  • Orthopedics
  • Wounds (stage I &II)
  • Womens’ care/pregnancy

Phase 2 (5 weeks) – Moderate Nutritional Risk/Acuity – Adult and Pediatric Populations

  • Enteral/Parenteral
  • Pediatrics (low/mod risk eg. Obesity, constipation, education, etc.)
  • Neurology (EN/thickened liquids)
  • Liver
  • ESRD
  • Oncology
  • Surgery (ERAS, general, bariatrics, ostomies)
  • Wounds (Stage III&IV, plastics)
  • Critical care (Active diet orders, extubated, cardiac)

 Phase 3 (4 weeks) – High Nutritional Risk/Acuity – Specialized Nutrition Support, Adult, Pediatric and Neonatal Populations

  • CRRT
  • Surgery (Whipple’s, extensive GI surgeries)
  • Pediatrics/PICU (High risk eg. CP, scoliosis, metabolic disorders, extensive surgeries/complications, etc)
  • NICU
  • Critical Care (Nutrition support)

Phase 4 (4 weeks) – Staff Responsibility – Moderate & High Nutritional Risk/Acuity – Adult and Pediatric Populations.

  • This may include intern’s selection of a focus area if deemed appropriate by preceptors.


Food and Nutrition Services Rotation

The Food and Nutrition Management experience is also designed for the intern to progress from novice to entry level. 

  • Clinical Nutrition Management and Department Directorship  (2 weeks)
    • Staffing
    • Clinical Productivity
    • Nutrition Services Metrics
    • Performance/Quality Improvement
    • Financial Management
  • General Food Services Management (4 weeks)
    • Purchasing & Inventory
    • Safety & Sanitation
    • Production
    • Patient Room Service & Diet Office Operations
    • Retail
    • Financial Management
    • Marketing
  • Staff Responsibility (included in the above experiences)

The major project for this rotation consists of a special menu in the TMC Cafe. The interns are required to take full responsibility for managing this special event. 

Public Health & Community Nutrition Rotation

The community experiences expose the intern to a variety of roles for the registered dietitian and allow the intern to apply clinical skills in public health/community settings.

Rotations include:

  • WIC
  • Outpatient Dialysis
  • Eating Disorders
  • Outpatient Nutrition Counseling - Medical Nutrition Therapy & Diabetes Self-Management Training
  • Wellness

Research/Continuous Improvement

The research/continuous improvement rotation extends throughout the program to allow the interns to complete a meaningful group project to submit for publication if applicable. All interns are required to complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) web-based training program for human research subject protection.


Admission Requirements

  • A signed “Verification Statement of Completion” showing completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) curriculum with original signature from DPD director must be provided before the internship begins.
  • A final transcript with completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution must be provided before the internship begins. 

Program Costs

TMC DI Program Application Fee


 DICAS Application Fee


 D & D Digital Matching Fee


TMC DI Program Fee


Text Books (estimated)


Uniform and lab coat (estimated)


Student Professional Liability Insurance (estimated)


Fingerprint Card (estimated)


Rent (estimated)


Travel (estimated)


AND Student Member Fee


Interns are responsible for all costs. The Tucson Medical Center – DI Program does not qualify for federal student loans. Scholarship applications can be obtained from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Transportation & Insurance

Interns are responsible for providing their own transportation to all required events. It is highly recommended that each intern has access to personal transportation. Interns must have insurance coverage for traveling in vehicles other than their own.