Benefits of training dietetics students in preprofessional practice programs: A comparison with dietetic internships

Judith A. Gilbride, Martha T. Conklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To conduct a nationwide study on the opinions of dietitian preceptors regarding the intangible benefits to hospitals and medical centers of training dietetics students in approved preprofessional practice programs (AP4s) and to compare the findings with a similar survey of dietetic internships. Design A questionnaire was adapted from a 1990 study of preceptors in dietetic internships to investigate the benefits of training dietetics students in AP4s. Sample Program directors and dietitians who supervise and teach students in the 117 preprofessional programs approved by The American Dietetic Association were sent pretested questionnaires. Responses to the survey were received from 312 dietitians who supervise students in 74 practice programs. Statistical analysis Descriptive statistics were used to calculate frequency of response. t Tests were used to compare mean differences between the opinions of preceptors in AP4s and internships. Analysis of variance and Scheffe post-hoc test were used to determine the demographic characteristics related to the dietitians' opinions of benefits. Results Strongest agreement (agree to strongly agree) was found for three items: sense of satisfaction from seeing students develop as professionals (4.34); belief that teaching students makes the job more interesting (4.17); and real sense of achievement in working with students (4.05). Significant differences were found between the groups on six items and, in all but one instance, the internship preceptors were more in agreement with the statements on intangible benefits than the AP4 preceptors. Applications/conclusions The preceptors generally agreed that intangible benefits exist for departments that are AP4 sites and the professionals that work in them. As programs develop from AP4s into accredited internships, examination of intangible and monetary benefits may affect the continuation of dietetics training programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-763
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Benefits of training dietetics students in preprofessional practice programs: A comparison with dietetic internships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this