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Preceptor Recognition Stories

During National Preceptor Month, students and program directors joined in to thank their extraordinary preceptors. Take a look at some of the amazing ways they have thanked their preceptor! And share your story, too!

Community Support Services, Inc Dietetic Internship

Gaithersburg, Md.

All of the interns at Community Support Services, Inc. developed a Thank You video for National Preceptor Month to show our appreciation for our preceptor Janice Goldschmidt. Janice provided a tremendous virtual experience that allowed us to grow professionally during the global pandemic from the safety of our homes. With her innovative preceptor program interns from all over the US were able to provide virtual services to one of the most vulnerable populations; individuals with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is especially appreciated since she took us in with open arms when many local organizations were unable to due to COVID restrictions. Below is the link to the video.

University of Virginia Health System Dietetic Internship

Charlottesville, Va.

The interns at the University of Virginia Health System made a video to recognize their fabulous group of 60 plus preceptors. The internship is a month plus into virtual experiences, and they continue to be blown away by their preceptors' acceptance, enthusiasm, flexibility and creativity in this new learning environment. While the University of Virginia Health System DI was not able to celebrate the occasion in person due to the pandemic, the interns created a video to express their gratitude.

California State University Long Beach, Dietetic Internship

Long Beach, Calif.

Gabrielle Teitelbaum, a current dietetic intern, produced a video for Cohort 7 at California State University Long Beach and sent it to all the preceptors.

South Dakota State University, Dietetic Internship

Brooking, S.D.

The dietetic internship program put together a preceptor "thank you" video that it posted on its Facebook page.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dietetic Internship

Nashville, Tenn.

An image of a multi-colored small notebook

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dietetic Internship Program provided more than 75 preceptors with a small notebook and pen for National Preceptor Month 2019. The VUMC Dietetic Internship Preceptor 2018-2019 notebooks are small enough to easily fit into a tote bag or computer bag. Interns printed and attached one of the colorful Academy announcements to each notebook/pen prior to delivering to preceptors at VUMC adult hospital, children's hospital, and outpatient clinics. They also hand delivered the gifts to preceptors in community-based settings last Friday afternoon. These gifts are in addition to a handwritten thank you note each preceptor receives from every intern following completion of each rotation. We use many VUMC specific note cards and lots of postage stamps throughout the VUMC DI program. However, we are extremely grateful to our preceptors. Each preceptor spends considerable time and patience training and guiding 16 interns throughout the 44 weeks of supervised practice. We feel fortunate and lucky to have an amazing pool of practitioner preceptors!

Oregon Health & Science University Dietetic Internship

Portland, Ore.

An image of a card honoring preceptors

During the Oregon Academy Business & Awards session, I had the honor to recognize our current interns, our graduates, and our preceptors (many of whom are graduates of our internship). During my brief session, the attached "word cloud"; was displayed on the presentation screen. I also created a poster of the same word cloud and displayed it on an easel at the entrance to the primary sessions for all attendees to see. The words included in the word cloud were provided by our interns. At the beginning of one of our classes with our interns, I passed out 3 x 5" index cards and asked each intern to write down 3-5 words that came to mind to describe their preceptors. On the flip-side of the card I asked them to describe an exceptional experience/memorable moment with one or more of their preceptors. I compiled the "memorable moments" in to a document (attached) that I plan to share with our preceptors this month. I have thought about designing thank you notes, with the word cloud image on the front to give to our interns to write notes to their current, past and future preceptors to express their appreciation for their support throughout the year. I may do the same, but will plan to send notes to our preceptor's supervisors.

Geisinger Dietetic Internship

Danville, Pa.

An image of staff standing on a staircase in a lobby.

Since the first dietetic internship graduation in 1993, preceptors are always recognized at the formal graduation ceremony for interns. During the ceremony, positive comments compiled from the interns' rotation feedback forms are read so that interns' families and invited guests learn the important role of the preceptors. Interns started their own tradition of giving each preceptor a photo thank you card.

With the growth of the Geisinger and supervised practice sites, preceptor recognition is now combined with RDN Day in March. RDNs are treated to a lunch and speakers. A preceptor skill-building presentation is always included, with this year's topic on Enhancing the Patient Experience. A new photo of the preceptors is taken annually and posted on the Clinical Nutrition web site. A survey of attendees is sent after the program; positive comments about the program continue to be received every year. During April this year, all preceptors were given 6-Function Pen (including a LED light) with imprint 'Preceptors Shine!'

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Hospital Dietetic Internship

Harvey, Ill.

An image of a group of dietetic interns in a picture frame on a desk next to a small gift.

At UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Hospital Dietetic Internship, we celebrated our amazing preceptors all month long! Every Monday of the month we had a surprise consisting of...

  • Coffee and Donuts with custom mugs "Good Food is Good Mood" and "Caffeine Q4H PRN."
  • Preceptor Gift Surprise Day: Decorated the dietitians' office with streamers and gifts (succulents, photos w/ frames, magnets) with an appreciation food pun covering the desk top screens.
  • Cake and a poster for the foodservice workers.

We are so grateful for everything our preceptors do for us, and could not thank them enough.

The Pennsylvania State University Dietetic Internship

University Park, Pa.

The Penn State Dietetic Internship Program celebrated National Preceptor Month on April 4, 2018 with the dedicated clinical preceptors at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The program is planning a reorganization accreditation into the Future Education Model standards. The new program will integrate the Penn State World Campus Masters of Professional Studies in Nutritional Sciences graduate coursework with supervised experiential learning.

Gina Pazzaglia, PhD, RDN, Director of the Master of Professional Studies, Shawnee Kelly, MS, RDN, LDN, Coordinator of the Master of Professional Studies and Denise Lawson, MS, RDN, Director of the Dietetic Internship Program presented an update to the clinical preceptors. They highlighted key clinical courses in the MPS curriculum: Advanced Nutritional Assessment and Diagnosis and Advanced Clinical Nutrition. In addition, an overview of the plan to transition the existing Dietetic Internship Program into the new model was also shared. Lunch was provided and current preceptors received 2018 Certificates of Appreciation from the program.

University of Wisconsin Health Dietetic Internship Program

Madison, Wis.

The UW Health Dietetic Internship Program recognized and celebrated their preceptors with a poem that each can proudly display on their desks.

Ohio University, MS Dietetic Internship

Athens, Ohio

An image of a dietetic intern and preceptor standing next to each other and the intern holding a head of lettuce.

Message from Erica, an Intern at Ohio University DI – "I can safely say that I had the opportunity to work with some of the best preceptors in the world during my clinical rotation. Not only did my preceptors foster my ability to grow as a student but, also as an individual. What truly made my experience so special was that my preceptors made an effort to break the intern-preceptor barrier and actually got know me as a person. It's not every day you meet people who are willing to happily take a picture with a head of cabbage."

Virginia Commonwealth University Health Dietetic Internship

Richmond, Va.

An image of dietetic interns standing in a group with individual letter spelling Thank You.

This internship has two intern volunteers that act as "Preceptor Month Chairs" who plan, organize and implement all of the activities on their own (with help from their fellow interns) to show their preceptors how much they are appreciated. Here are this year's activity highlights:

At Virginia Commonwealth University Health, our 16 dietetic interns showed their appreciation for our preceptors in a number of ways this April!

  • A potluck breakfast was organized for the clinical staff, complete with a "planting station" with pots, soil and seed packets for preceptors as a way to say "thank you for helping us grow!"
  • A bulletin board was designed by interns in their main kitchen rotation in order to recognize all food service preceptors.
  • For our off-site preceptors at two local community hospitals, the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Henrico Doctors' Hospital, muffin baskets were delivered because "there's muffin like a great preceptor!"
  • Weekly Facebook posts were written for the month of April by our two interns in charge of social media to highlight our many preceptors.
  • In addition, a new monthly Facebook feature ("Preceptor Spotlight") was launched to highlight and learn more about one internship preceptor each month.
  • Hand-written, personalized cards were delivered to each preceptor that featured a fun group photo on the front.
  • Two CPEU credit webinars were held at VCU Health for preceptors to attend for free!

Our preceptors (there's over 100!) really go above and beyond, so interns made sure their hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed!

Brigham Young University, Dietetic Internship

Provo, Utah

An image of a gifts in brightly colored paper in a cardboard box

Preceptors received a "Sunshine Box," a box filled with yellow items. Similar items were tied together with a yellow tulle bow and each box included a card inscribed with the following message: "Sending a little Sunshine your way to brighten your day."

"The program had more preceptors call and email me with a thank you for the Sunshine Box than any other 'appreciation gift' we've sent."

University of North Florida Dietetic Internship

Jacksonville, Fla.

A picture of Shawna Jenkins and Stacey Scrabis in an auditorium

Shawna Jenkins: "We (Shawna and Stacey Scrabis, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN - pictured on the right) spoke with another Halifax Health employee, Mark Spivey, MA, LCSW. Stacey is my preceptor for my second MNT rotation and is a wonderful role model. She is a caring, compassionate, and dedicated RD. Not only is she a RD, but a mom, an athlete, a friend, and a recent Master's graduate…she can do it all! I hope to one day repay her by becoming a great preceptor like her in my future! I am very fortunate to be working with her and look forward to finishing my Dietetic Internship with a rotation experience under her tutelage."

University of Southern Mississippi Dietetic Internship

Hattiesburg, Miss.

A picture of dietetic interns sitting around a table with a cookie cake.

Our interns honored their preceptors in a variety of ways, from preceptor certificates to sentimental gifts. Some of the preceptor gifts included blueberry cheesecake muffins with a tag that said "There's 'muffin' like a great preceptor!" Also, some preceptors were given thyme plants that said "Thank you for taking the thyme to be my preceptor!" while other preceptors were given plants with the saying "Thanks for helping me grow!"

In the attached picture, one of our interns presented her clinical preceptors with a cookie cake for all of their hard work and dedication over the past year. It was a great month full of lots of thank you's!

Ohio State University Coordinated Program

Columbus, Ohio

A picture of three interns standing in front of a large sign.

The Ohio State University Dietetic programs sponsors an annual Preceptor Breakfast each year to thank and honor professionals who have shared their time and expertise to educate our students and support the Dietetic programs. The function is organized solely by the students through the Student Dietetic Association and funded by the department.

This year the students created a video (which looped during the event) showcasing their experiences at the various supervised practice sites. Additionally, the graduating students theses were presented in a poster format for preceptors to view and question students regarding their research. The preceptors were happy to receive continuing education credits in addition to the great networking opportunity.

Each year the students provide the preceptors with a small gift. This year's gift was a picture holder with class pictures in addition to the Academy's Certificate of Appreciation.

VA Caribbean Healthcare System Dietetic Internship

San Juan, P.R.

The interns and program director at VA Caribbean Healthcare System Dietetic Internship like to thank their preceptors with this thank you card!

Vanderbilt Dietetic Internship

Nashville, Tenn.

A picture of three interns standing with a preceptor

In April 2016, the Vanderbilt Dietetic Interns showered 80 preceptors with hand delivered goody bags. Each bag contained an assortment of treats and a card with the following message:

You were so SWEET to go the EXTRA mile to help us succeed. We appreciate your KINDness and encourageMINT along the way.
- Vanderbilt Dietetic Interns 2015-2016

Treats in the bags included candy, gum, snack bars and assorted mints.

Additional ways we show appreciation for our preceptors:

  • A Preceptor/Intern Meet & Greet Event with food, beverages and an opportunity for interns to get to know preceptors in a social setting at the beginning of the internship each August
  • Every intern writes each preceptor a handwritten thank you note following completion of every rotation
  • Honoring preceptors at the graduation ceremony each June

No doubt each Internship Director shares my sentiment: the foundation of our success as a DI is because of our pool of stellar preceptors!

University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Dietetic Internship

Madison, Wis.

The program director and interns at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospitals and Clinics DI shined the spotlight on their preceptors with a Facebook shout out and special gift. They provided the attached note card with a bright yellow highlighter.

University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus Dietetic Internship

San Juan, P.R.

A card with images of dietetic interns

The Dietetic Internship Program at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus sends a thank you card to each preceptor during National Preceptor Month!

California State University, Long Beach Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway

Long Beach, Calif.

An image of certificates laid down on a desk

In honor of National Preceptor Month, CSULB ISPP likes to honor their valued preceptors. They created a special certificate of appreciation with each preceptor's name on it along with a special thank you card for our 70+ preceptors. Their interns have also been asked to send thank you's to their preceptors to shower them with appreciation throughout this month, too. CSULB ISPP invites its preceptors to the program's White Coat and Pinning Ceremony for a celebratory luncheon, too!

University of Virginia Health System Dietetic Internship

Charlottesville, Va.

An image of a poster thanking preceptors

"We are quite proud of the over 60 preceptors who provide such tremendous training to our interns each year."

The University of Virginia Health System dietetic internship program expressed its appreciation in several ways:

  • Preceptor Chart Note – Interns used the ADIME format of the Nutrition Care Process to write a poster-sized note that is displayed on our Clinical Nutrition Manager's door. Many preceptors commented that this was the most creative preceptor appreciation effort they have ever seen.
  • Thank You to Chefs and Managers – Interns made a big thank you note for this group of preceptors.
  • Sweets for Preceptors – Interns developed notes for preceptors with mints that thanked them for their "invest-mint" and "commit-mint."
  • "Special" Dark Chocolates for Preceptors – The assistant director made notes for preceptors, thanking them for sharing their special time.
  • Gifts for Internship Leadership – Interns gifted both of the internship leadership with mint plants thanking us for helping them grow.
  • Preceptor Recognition Reception – A reception for preceptors was held that featured delicious food and a slideshow of preceptor pictures and positive quotes from intern rotation evaluations.

Fontbonne University Dietetic Internship

Clayton, Mo.

An image of three interns holding client educational materials

At Fontbonne, we have a great appreciation for the preceptors for our ISPP program. We are lucky enough to have money in our program budget set aside specifically to purchase thank you gifts for them every year. We allocate this amount by the number of weeks that the preceptor hosted students the previous year and provide them with a letter stating that they may use this amount toward educational materials, professional memberships, conference attendance, or other materials that may benefit their site. Then comes the best part – we deliver the gifts to them and get the see how much they enjoy them! Throughout the year, we receive emails about how they are utilizing the gifts at their site.

VA Caribbean Healthcare System

San Juan, P.R.

An image of dietetic interns sitting on a bench

The VA Caribbean Healthcare System Dietetic Interns, Class of 2015, would like to offer our most sincere appreciation to the hardworking preceptors who have worked alongside us throughout this year. We are very grateful for their patience, dedication, and efforts in teaching and guiding us, interns, in the Dietetics profession. We also thank them for sharing their expertise and abundant knowledge in the field with us. As a show of gratitude and appreciation, the dietetic interns have prepared a special event showcasing popular agricultural festivals in Puerto Rico as a way to celebrate our culture and the preceptors' excellence.

The Pennsylvania State University Dietetic Internship

University Park, Pa.

We have planned a preceptor appreciation event which is taking place on April 29, 2015. It was requested by preceptors to get assistance with providing constructive feedback to interns. The program director reached out to our University's Teaching Excellence Center and they have developed a workshop to help assist with providing feedback to interns. Lunch will be provided and during the workshop, the program director will be presenting the preceptors with the Certificate of Appreciation and a little thank you gift.

East Carolina University Dietetic Internship

Greenville, NC

An image of Pam Phillips and friends.

One of East Carolina University's favorite preceptors is Pam Phillips, MS, RD, LDN. Not only was she a graduate of East Carolina University for her BS and MS degrees, but she also willingly became a preceptor years ago. She continues as an outstanding role model for both foodservice management and clinical dietetics. Her facility is small, but her employees recognize her as a trustworthy boss – one worth following for many years. Some of her cooks have worked at the facility for over 40 years and their loyalty continues because of Pam. She provides a steady coaching style for her team members to do their very best.

The facility's process improvements have already increased patient satisfaction rates, and has already gained recognition from the hospital administrator. Their commitment makes it the right place for an intern to learn and gain confidence, and the right preceptor at the head of the department makes all the difference.

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Dietetic Internship

Cleveland, Ohio


Annually, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center dietetic interns hosted a luncheon for our preceptors during National Preceptor Month. During the luncheon our preceptors always received the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Certificate of Appreciation for precepting as well as a small gift that would tie in something unique created by our interns. Our UH dietetic internship class of 2019 provided each preceptor with a seed packet that contained a special message "Thank you for helping us grow!" The preceptors were touched by the thoughtful expression of gratitude. We are so appreciative at University Hospitals for our amazing preceptors who prepare our dietetic interns to become outstanding registered dietitian nutritionists!

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