The Carondelet Health Network Dietetic Internship is located at:

Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital 
1601 W. St. Mary's Road 
Tucson, Arizona 85745 
Phone: 520-872-6109, Fax: 520-872-6108


The city of Tucson, nicknamed the Old Pueblo, is Arizona's oldest city, with a unique blend of Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo heritages. It lies in a high desert valley surrounded by five mountain ranges, 70 miles from the US border with Mexico. Approximately one million people live in the Tucson metropolitan area.


St. Mary's Hospital, the first hospital in the Arizona territory, was established in 1880 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet on the west side of Tucson. Together with St. Mary’s, St. Joseph's Hospital in Tucson and Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales became the Carondelet Health Network (CHN). CHN is owned by Ascension Health, Dignity Health and Tenet Healthcare, which is the managing company.  Morrison Healthcare became the food service provider for CHN in 1992.


In 1993, the internship was approved as a Pre-Professional Practice Program (AP4) by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (now the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics - ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The first group of students started in 1994.  As the Academy phased out AP4 programs, the Carondelet program became accredited as a Dietetic Internship in 1998.  

For accreditation verification, ACEND can be reached at 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995; 1-800-877-1600, ext. 5400.


Mission, Goals and Objectives
The mission of the Carondelet Health Network Dietetic Internship is to graduate entry-level dietitians with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high quality nutrition care to culturally diverse populations in a variety of settings.


Goal 1: The CHN Dietetic Internship will develop competent entry-level dietitians who will successfully pass the registration examination and obtain employment in the nutrition and dietetics field.


Objective 1.1 Over a five-year period, 90% of interns will complete the program within 150% of the time planned for completion (17 months). 


Objective 1.2 Over a five-year period, 90% of graduates who seek employment will have found jobs in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.


Objective 1.3 Over a five-year period, 90% of internship graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion. 


Objective 1.4 Over a five-year period, 80% of internship graduates will pass the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists within one year following the first attempt. 


Goal 2: The CHN Dietetic Internship will prepare graduates to provide quality nutrition care to culturally and ethnically diverse populations.


Objective 2.1 Over a five-year period, in a survey completed one year after graduation, 80% of employers who respond to the survey will evaluate graduate preparation of entry-level work as good or excellent.


Objective 2.2 Over a five-year period, in a survey completed one year after graduation, 80% of employers who respond to the survey will evaluate graduate sensitivity to cultural issues as good or excellent. 


The program’s outcomes data is available upon request.


Program Description 
The internship provides a non-degree, post-baccalaureate, clinically-focused 45 week practice experience with an enrollment of three interns yearly. Interns are given the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competencies defined by ACEND, which are required to practice as a competent entry-level dietitian.


Interns begin the program in food service production and management, which provides a basic understanding of the function of the Food and Nutrition Services Department. The food service units provide hands-on learning experiences in which interns can develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills in food purchasing, production and delivery, as well as supervision and management. A one week experience in school food service at Tucson Unified School District supplements the knowledge and experience gained in the Carondelet system.


The food service units are followed by the clinical nutrition rotations. The curriculum for the clinical nutrition rotations sequentially builds knowledge, skills, and competencies as the intern proceeds from caring for patients with less complicated, lower risk disease states, to more complex patients, such as those in critical care.  Both didactic and practice experiences are included in the curriculum to develop interns’ skills in nutrition assessment, diagnosis, interviewing, counseling, development of nutrition goals, and implementation of nutrition interventions.  


The clinical portion of the program culminates with four weeks of staff relief, which allows the interns to strengthen their clinical expertise in a specific area of interest, and provides them with the opportunity to function as entry-level dietitians under the guidance of a preceptor.

The internship also includes a community nutrition rotation, as well as a research experience intended to provide insights into the planning, process, and publication of research relative to the field of dietetics, specifically in a community hospital setting. Additionally, the interns spend time at the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare Center, which provides a unique variety of inpatient, outpatient and community nutrition experiences.


In a one-week elective rotation, interns choose three to five sites in which to gain additional dietetics experience. This allows interns pursue their own interests and gain exposure to nutrition and dietetics experiences they would not otherwise acquire in the internship. Some of these include: outpatient counseling with cancer patients, private practice, community health education for low income families, gestational diabetes counseling, Native American diabetes prevention and treatment, bariatric surgery, outpatient counseling through the University's Student Health Center, and research through the College of Public Health.


To provide a curriculum which allows collaboration with other health care clinicians and exposure to a variety of settings, the program includes experiences at the following facilities, in addition to St. Mary's Hospital: St. Joseph's Hospital, Tucson Medical Center, DaVita Dialysis Centers, Tucson Unified School District, University of Arizona Worksite Wellness, Southern Arizona VA Healthcare Center, and the Pima County Health Department.


While some rotations are completed as a group, such as research, community, school food service and clinical management, most core food service and clinical rotations are completed individually.  This allows the interns to spend more one-on-one time with preceptors, and provides preceptors the opportunity to tailor their teaching styles to the interns’ individual needs.


Below is a full list of internship rotations; the number following each indicates the duration of the rotation in weeks.

Food Service (5)

                  Production and Purchasing

                  Patient Services



Core Clinical (15)

                  Level 1 (low acuity) – diabetes, cardiac, wound care, pulmonary

                  Level 2 (moderate acuity) – pancreatic and hepatic disease, anemias, surgery, GI

                  Level 3 (high acuity) – critical illness, acute kidney injury, enteral and parenteral nutrition

Other Clinical (10)

                  Outpatient Dialysis


                  Long Term Care

                  VA Hospital – rehab, renal, home care, outpatient

Wellness (1)

Community (2)

Research (2)

School Food Service (1)

Clinical Management (1)

Electives (1)

Staff Relief (4)


The internship meets all state and federal laws regarding non-discrimination.  Standards of conduct can be found here: Tenet Standards of Conduct.


Schedule & Time Commitment

The internship class starts at the end of July and graduates mid-June of the following year. 

Interns are required to be on site for a minimum of 30 hours per week for most rotations, generally scheduled as six hours daily, Monday through Friday.  Specific times to be on site will vary from rotation to rotation and will depend on preceptor preferences, facility hours of operation, patient care activities and other learning opportunities. 


Interns are required to work 40 hours per week during staff relief rotations.  Additionally, there are many program projects and assignments, including a food service retail project, three clinical case studies followed by oral presentations, National Nutrition Month displays, and clinical readings and study guides that will require additional time for completion outside of the required 30 hours per week of practice experience. While the program allows for outside employment, interns must ensure that employment does not interfere with participation or performance in program activities. Outside employment for greater than 15 hours per week is highly discouraged.


Time off for holidays includes two one-week breaks at the end of November and December. Time off for religious or cultural holidays will be accommodated through prior arrangement with the program director and preceptor.


Application Requirements 

The program participates in the spring match using the online internship application system, DICAS, which may be accessed at; e-mail DICAS will be available on December 1, 2017 for the Spring 2018 Match. The online application must be completed by 11:59 pm Central Time on February 15, 2018. A $55 computer matching fee must be paid to D&D Digital at


Applicants will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1,000 words or less. Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:

  • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
  • What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?


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


Additionally, the following are required:

  • A minimum of 500 hours of food or nutrition related experience, paid or volunteer. Clinical experience is a plus, but is not required.
  • GPA minimum of 3.0 for DPD coursework.
  • Non-refundable application fee of $80 made to Morrison Healthcare. Checks should be postmarked no later than February 15th, 2018, and mailed to:


Jennifer Doley, MBA, RD, CNSC, FAND
Nutrition Services
Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital
1601 W. St. Mary's Rd
Tucson, AZ 85745


Cost to Interns

Interns are responsible for the following costs (all costs are subject to change):

  • Tuition of $10,000
  • Non-refundable application fee of $80 and a computer matching fee of $55
  • Variable additional costs for general supplies (~$50) and a lab coat (~$40). Black pants, white shirt, and slip resistant shoes are required for food service rotations.
  • Lunch is provided for a nominal fee at many program facilities, but interns must cover costs for room, board, and travel. Ongoing expenses include rent (~$700/month) and car travel (~$120/month).
  • Interns must have medical insurance (~$600), professional liability insurance (~$50), and car insurance (~$600). There are no support services available during the internship.
  • Student membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is required ($58).


Other Requirements 
In addition to the above, the following are also required of interns matched to the program:

  • Verification of a negative TB skin test in the two months prior to the start of the internship, or a negative chest x-ray in the last year
  • Immunizations, including MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella) and three-shot series for Hepatitis B
  • Interns will also be required to pass a drug test and background check
  • A flu vaccination is required, to be given in October free of charge


Graduation Requirements 
Interns must meet the following conditions within 17 months of starting the program in order to graduate from the internship:

  • Interns must pass each rotation by performing at an appropriate level of competence in all rotation activities and assignments. No credit will be given for prior learning experiences, although those with prior learning in certain areas may be assigned more advanced activities relative to her/his capabilities and interests.
  • Interns must complete all group and individual projects, including case studies, food service and clinical administration projects, in a timely and satisfactory manner.
  • Interns must demonstrate competence in all 2017 Core Competencies as defined by the ACEND, in addition to the four program-specific competencies.
  • Interns must demonstrate no misconduct, academic or non-academic, and must perform ethically in accordance with the values of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Upon graduation from the Carondelet Health Network Dietetic Internship, interns will be given a verification statement of program completion and will then be eligible to sit for the Dietitian Registration Exam.


Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. What kind of work counts toward the 500 hours of required experience?

Any work related to food or nutrition, which includes healthcare or retail food service; community, wellness or school nutrition activities; research; and clinical nutrition experience. Clinical experience consists of nutrition screening, assessment, education, documentation and/or other direct nutritional care of patients or clients in a variety of venues, including hospitals, long term care facilities and outpatient clinics.  Some consideration will be given to clinical experience not related to nutrition, such work with nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and other healthcare disciplines, especially if this experience was acquired in the hospital setting.


  1. Can I still apply if I don't have 500 hours of experience yet?

Yes, your application will still be considered if you meet the other requirements and intend to continue working until the start of the internship to accrue additional hours of appropriate experience.


  1. Do I have to be an American citizen to apply for this program?

No, you do not have to be an American citizen, but non-citizen applicants must have an appropriate visa to be in the country. If you have a work visa, be aware that the internship hours cannot count towards your required work hours to maintain your visa. All applicants must also have a verification statement from an accredited DPD program.  Visit the ACEND website on international students for more information.


  1. Can I receive credit or opt out of completing part of the internship based on prior learning or work experiences?

No, you must complete all rotations in the internship to graduate.


  1. Are scholarships or financial aid available?

Interns do not qualify for federal grants or aid as our program is not a for-credit university program. However, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and other organizations have scholarships available for dietetic interns.


Please contact Jennifer Doley at, or 520-872-6109 for additional questions.


For those interested in becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at  The required steps are:

  1. Complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US accredited university or college, and all required coursework to receive a verification statement confirming completion of an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics. 
  2. Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. The Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital Dietetic Internship is an ACEND accredited supervised practice program.  Students must complete Step 1 before they can apply to the internship.
  3. Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at
  4. Maintain state licensure or certification, if applicable.  Arizona does not have RDN licensure or certification requirements.
  5. Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.