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Nutrition and Dietetics (M.S.) Sites and Preceptors

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Sites and Preceptors

Supervised experiential learning professional work settings will be selected based upon their potential for providing a positive learning environment for students and their ability to provide required practice experiences. The Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) Program Director is responsible for the oversight of rotation sites used for the program. In accordance with ACEND guidelines, students will not be allowed to “replace” employees during their SEL rotations. For example, if an employee at a facility calls in sick, the student may not “fill in” for that employee. Students may provide complete care (sometimes referred to as “staff relief”) as directed and supervised by their preceptor and as indicated for their rotation competencies.

Agreements between professional work settings and the SDSU Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) Program will:

  • Comply with SDSU affiliation agreements already established with some of SD’s major healthcare facilities (Sanford, Avera, and the Veterans Affairs Hospital).
  • Be put into place at rotation sites prior to students spending time at the rotation site.
  • Be signed by administrators with appropriate authority to represent the rotation site.
  • Delineate the rights and responsibilities of both the sponsoring organization and affiliating institutions, organizations and/or agencies.
  • An original signed copy will be maintained in the office of Academic Affairs for SDSU, and a copy of the agreement will also be kept electronically by the Program Director.
  • Agreements will be maintained and updated according to the renewal terms outlined in the agreement.

The SDSU Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) program supports the professional development of preceptors by providing a monetary incentive towards the purchase of continuing educational units. The amount of the professional development award will be determined based on the total number of hours the site and its preceptors dedicate towards SEL hours.

20-40 hours = $50

41-60 hours = $75

61-80 hours = $100

81-100 hours = $150

101-150 hours = $200

151-200 hours = $250

201 – 300 hours = $300

>301 hours = $400

During yearly exit reviews with primary preceptors at sites or via email, program staff will discuss the professional development award and options the SDSU Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) program could purchase to support the sites continuing education.

Primary preceptors are credentialed and/or licensed as appropriate to meet state and federal regulations for the area in which they are supervising students and must have a minimum of one-year professional practice experience post credentialing. The Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) Program Director or other staff will verify that all clinical preceptors are currently registered with CDR and/or licensed with the state in which they work (if their state requires licensure). Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) program staff will also verify annually that all community preceptors that are in roles requiring licensure are currently licensed. Verification of registration and/or licensure will occur annually, and a record will be kept on file for all preceptors for which registration and/or licensure is appropriate.

New preceptors and rotation sites go through an initial screening process. Electronic survey, Email or telephone discussion determines the preceptor’s interest and ability to have a student spend time with them as well as their ability to meet the requirements of the program, spend adequate time with the student, and provide a positive learning environment for the students. If the Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) Program Director does not know the preceptor and is not familiar with the rotation site, and the student will spend more than a few days at the rotation site, an onsite meeting will be scheduled to meet the preceptor in person, view the rotation site to ensure it is clean, has friendly and professional staff, and it appears to be a safe environment. A final decision will be made by the Program Director to determine if the preceptor and rotation site will provide SEL experiences that are compatible with the program curriculum and competencies. Rotation sites are not selected unless they are able to provide SEL activities that are able to meet competency requirements of the program.

  • Assistance with special projects. Often, some projects can be put on hold due to lack of time. These projects can be delegated to students in most situations, providing them with a real-world experience while developing their skills and competencies.
  • Sense of importance and contribution towards the dietetics profession.
  • Students can bring a new perspective and questions can help enhance best practices.
  • Enhance your professional portfolio and resume by providing educational experiences as a preceptor.

What you do as a preceptor typically can be summarizes in six roles, as described in the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Preceptor training program:

  • Planners – On a day-to-day basis, preceptors are responsible for planning the experiences and coordinating learning activities with competencies. Preceptors also provide suggestions for modification to learning activities and assignments.
  • Role Models – Students learn from what you say AND do. It is critical that preceptors are deliberate in modeling professional behaviors and ethics.
  • Information Providers – Preceptors share knowledge and help students integrate knowledge and skills they need to think critically, solve problems, and become competent practitioners.
  • Learning Facilitators - Students can learn by observing but they also need to have facilitated work experiences with preceptor guidance and feedback.
  • Resource Developers – Preceptor’s guide students towards appropriate materials, best practices and other professionals that can assist students.
  • Assessors of Learning – Preceptors are integral to the assessment of the student’s learning and competence and preceptor identification of whether students have met competency requirements is vital to the integrity of the program.
  • Communicate SEL and scheduling preferences.
  • Provide students with a thorough orientation to the practice setting reviewing codes of conduct, HIPAA guidelines and confidentiality.
  • Meet with the student (at least weekly) to determine a schedule and plan for completing competencies.
  • Identify and facilitate learning activities and assignments that support student completion of competencies.
  • Assist the student in providing information on activities and assignments.
  • Provide information and assistance as needed.
  • Provide evaluation and feedback with the mid-rotation and end-of rotation progress reports and evaluation.
  • Provide remediation plans if needed and assist student in attaining competency.
  • Model code of ethics and professional behavior.
  • Acknowledge that in accordance with ACEND guidelines, students will not be allowed to “replace” employees during their SEL rotations. For example, if an employee at a facility calls in sick, the student may not “fill in” for that employee. Students may, however, provide complete care (sometimes referred to as “staff relief”) as directed and supervised by their preceptor and as indicated for their rotation competencies.
  • Complete once yearly a preceptor feedback survey.

Preceptors are provided orientation to the SEL rotation objectives and expected student competencies before assuming responsibilities. Ongoing training is provided to preceptors based on evaluation by Nutrition & Dietetics (M.S.) program staff and faculty, and feedback from students and advisory committee. Program staff will also utilize information from the student End of Rotation Surveys in addition to other outcome criteria to perform a yearly review of the effectiveness of faculty and preceptors related to the SEL rotations and experiences.

The following components are covered in the Nutrition and Dietetics (M.S.) program online training:

  • Origin and Oversight Mission, Goals and Objectives
  • Programs of Study Policy and Procedures
  • Curriculum and Learning Activities Assessment of Student Competencies and Professional Performance Rotation Milestones
  • Electronic Documentation Process
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Preceptors and Students
  • Feedback Tips and Tools for Professional Development Opportunities

For RD’s, serving as a preceptor is now acknowledged as a learning activity by CDR. Starting June 1, 2017, preceptors can log activity and hours while serving as a preceptor for an accredited ACEND program.

In order to receive continuing professional education unit (CPEU) credit:

  • The precepting must have been completed during the current recertification cycle.
  • The preceptor must complete the Verification and Self-Reflection Form found at CPEU Credit for Preceptors.
  • The form must be signed and dated by the ACEND accredited Program Director.
  • The form should be retained by the preceptor as documentation to be submitted to CDR if audited.
  • A maximum of 3 CPEUs per year or a total of 15 CPEUs per 5-year reporting period can be awarded.