Practice Blog

To share practice related stories, create connections and engage readers in the amazing diversity of dietitian experiences.


My Experience with a Non-Traditional Internship Program

A new grad shares her story and what to think about if you are exploring new internship programs.

Hannah-Magee.jpgHannah Magee received her nutrition undergraduate degree from Mount Saint Vincent University and is a recent graduate of the St. Michael’s Hospital/Ryerson University Collaborative Dietetic Internship - Professional Master’s Diploma in Dietetics. Hannah’s interests lie in several areas of dietetics from clinical nutrition to sports nutrition to non-diet approaches to healthy living. Connect with Hannah on Instagram or LinkedIn
 

  
About the PMDip and why I chose the program
 
The Professional Master’s Diploma in Dietetics, or “PMDip” for short is a collaborative dietetic internship program between Ryerson University and two Toronto–based hospitals. In this program, dietitians-in-training gain not only the practical experiences of a traditional dietetic internship, but they do so while broadening their dietetics knowledge in the classroom, earning themselves a Master’s Diploma in Dietetics from Ryerson University.

The PMDip was first introduced in 2015, with its first group of graduates earning their Professional Master’s Diplomas in 2016. I completed the program as a part of the second group of PMDip graduates. Currently, the PMDip program is offered in partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital (where I did my training) and North York General Hospital.

You may be wondering why an aspiring dietitian would choose the PMDip over any other internship program. As an individual who has always enjoyed my time in the classroom studying nutrition and dietetics, the PMDip was a great match to fulfill my eagerness to complete my dietetic internship while continuing my studies. Also, being from Halifax and graduating from Mount Saint Vincent University, this program in Toronto provided me with an opportunity to experience both a new city and a new university.
 
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The benefits of the PMDip Program
 
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the PMDip program, and I would like to highlight a few of the interesting experiences that I had. As I mentioned, the PMDip program incorporates dietetic internship and classroom work. So once a week, the PMDip students joined the Ryerson Master’s of Health Science in Nutrition Communication students for a class on the Ryerson campus, where we had lecture, group work, guest speakers, and presentations. One thing that I valued most about this was meeting and working with future dietitians from all three different groups (St. Michael’s PMDip, North York General PMDip, and Ryerson MHSc). In addition, having that afternoon once a week to head off to Ryerson at lunch hour allowed for a little break and a slight breather from the sometimes stressful and intense rotation environment that exists in a typical hospital internship. It was a nice time to come together, work together, and learn together because we could all relate well to each other in our dietetic internship experiences.

Another aspect that I really enjoyed about weekly course work was the variety of ways in which we learned. Some days we had lecture, other days we had dietitians of different specialties as guest speakers, and other times we had interactive, hands-on workshops to improve our skills. For instance, we had a Motivational Interviewing workshop where we earned a Level 1 Motivational Interviewing certificate, and a Diversity workshop where we addressed important and meaningful issues. We had a palliative care dietitian as a guest speaker and a dietitian from the College of Dietitians of Ontario give a presentation. Each week, we had weekly assignments to reflect on our learning, and we also completed several group assignments including a presentation on a legislation of choice.
 
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Five things to consider if you are interested in the PMDip program
 
Looking back, when I was in my final year of my nutrition degree and deciding which internship programs to apply for, I would have loved to read more personal experiences from program graduates to make my decisions. For any future dietitians who are considering the PMDip program, here are some things to think about.
 
1. The PMDip provides a unique dietetic internship experience.
  • It gives the PMDip students an opportunity to grow their professional network, as they will meet several other students completing their internships at different sites.   
  • It allows students to complete their internship and continue their studies in dietetics.
 
2. It’s still a new program.
  • Throughout my experience, there were still a lot of aspects being fine-tuned and details being ironed out, this is something you may encounter as well.
  • That being said, your feedback will always be highly encouraged and changes will be made based on it. The coordinators are working extremely hard to make sure their students have great PMDip experiences.
 
3. The PMDip is one of the most expensive internship programs offered.
  • This is because you are also paying for course tuition and student fees.
   
4. You will have course work on top of your rotation work.
  • It is definitely do-able, but this will require time-management and organization.
 
5. Toronto is a fabulous city to live as a young professional in training. .
  • If you are not from there, I would highly recommend experiencing Toronto for a year. I’m ready to move back!
 
After the PMDip program
 
I completed the PMDip program mid-summer, and currently I’m studying for the CDRE and am in pursuit of my first job as a dietitian. That being said, I am confident that the PMDip program has fully prepared me for wherever and whichever area of practice I end up in. For future dietitians who are entering the internship application process, I encourage you to be bold in your decisions and don’t be afraid to explore new programs in new places.
 
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Editor's note: Were you a part of a new program or did you take an unusual educational or training path to becoming a dietitian? Please share in the comments below.  And if you’d like to write a blog post on your training experience, please get in touch with me at honey.bloomberg@dietitians.ca.
 
Disclaimer: The opinions of the bloggers are their own. Dietitians of Canada encourages submissions and provides publishing support but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Please contact the writer directly for concerns or questions about the content.
 

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