Who are sponsors, what do sponsors do?

Sponsors play a key role in the education continuum as they provide the link for students between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Sponsors within our program feel that “while educating the interns in the ways of their organization (e.g., clients, policies, procedures etc), they are providing the intern with a positive and supportive learning environment and therefore providing the opportunity for the intern to judge and adapt their knowledge to specific situations.”

Sponsors are responsible for providing the practical experiences from their workplaces that are the links between theory and application. Sponsors provide the important guidance and evaluation that will determine if the dietetic intern has achieved entry-level professional dietetic competence. Sponsor support and commitment to the IEP is what allows for the program’s success!

Where are Internship Placements Located?

Our sponsors are both urban and rural. While the majority of the internship placements are located in the Atlantic Provinces, we do have sponsors across Canada. Placements may be in traditional locations such as hospitals and continuing care facilities; however, we are seeking opportunities that may be considered non-traditional or unique.

Some of our sponsors include:
• Adsum House (located in Halifax, NS);
• BC Dairy Foundation (located in Burnaby, BC);
• Cole Harbour Place (Dartmouth, NS);
• Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (located in Ottawa, ON),
• Diabetes Canada including Canadian Diabetes Camp (multiple locations across Canada);
• Nova Scotia Food Security Network;
• Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa (located in Digby, NS);
• Shannex Healthcare Management (locations in NS);
• Aramark Canada (multiple locations in Atlantic Canada)

Why do we need more sponsors? Enrolment in all the programs at MSVU has grown significantly in recent years and is continuing to grow. As MSVU recognizes the importance of completing the internship for future careers it makes every effort to accommodate all eligible students in the IEP. As a result there are now over 45 interns in the IEP and over 100 sponsors in a wide variety of clinical, community and administrative settings throughout the Atlantic region and Ontario.

There does however continue to be a growing demand, in particular for clinical settings. Therefore, MSVU is responding to the demand for internships from students in the Dietetics and MScAHN programs by continuing to seek out more traditional and non-traditional sponsors.

What are the benefits to being a sponsor?

Our dietetic sponsors at MSVU have stated numerous benefits to both themselves and to their organizations from serving as a sponsor.

“I believe that I have grown both professionally and academically from what I have learned over the years through the dietetic interns that we have had at our organization”

“…The interns brings their own skill-set, literature updates, technology advances and professional network”

“…Our facility has benefited from gaining information/resources that I would not normally have time to source…”

“…They (interns) make us look at aspects of our own operation as well as our decision making criteria. It also helps to focus our thoughts and let them know which items we see critical in our operations”

“Projects or an activity that students complete is work that actually needs to be done. The research projects at the organization have been part of a bigger initiative and the interns contributed to that. If it was not for the students, some of these projects would not be completed due to time and funding constraints…Staff also benefit from the projects because the interns many times present the project work at lunch and learns”

“It keeps me up-to-date”

“…I spend more time thinking about how I come to decisions because I try to explain what I am doing as I go along so the intern has some insight and rationale. The benefit of having an intern is that you strengthen your own skills”

What are the Tasks and Responsibilities of the Sponsor Organization and Sponsor?

Internship tasks and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

1. Respond to solicitation letter request for Internship positions.

2. Discuss with the Internship Coordinator/Faculty Supervisor the learning opportunities that can be provided in the organization.

3. Read and synthesize the information provided in the Internship Education Program Policy and Procedure Manual and the Internship Education Program Manual to provide specific learning opportunities for the Intern appropriate for the level.

4. Ensure the Internship Agreement is signed and communicate any foreseeable changes (i.e. participation).

5. Provide a supportive learning environment for the Intern ensuring matters related to the performance of the Intern are handled confidentially and that provincial labour standards and human rights legislation are observed.

6. Ensure projects and assignments are of appropriate workload scope and that Interns complete and are in accordance with the MSVU Research Ethics Board and IEP Policy and Procedure Manual. Consult with the Faculty Supervising Dietitian as necessary.

7. Ensure learning objectives have been developed for each Intern and that the evaluation for each rotation/experience is based upon the achievement of these entry-level competencies.

8. Remain in contact with the Faculty Supervising Dietitian to ensure all participating staff and other dietitians are kept informed of activities and requirements of the Program.

9. Initiate communication with the Faculty Supervisor if the Intern is having difficulty with achieving entry-level competencies to discuss an appropriate plan of action.

10. Ensure Intern has been properly orientated to the organization by completing the Orientation Checklist and Program Outline.

11. Supervise and evaluate the Intern’s progress as the Intern experiences the learning opportunities. Meet regularly with the Intern.

12. Support Intern attendance at conferences, workshops, etc. sponsored by DC, NSDA and other relevant professional associations

13. Complete midterm and final evaluation forms. Assist in development of the Intern’s Performance Action Plan in conjunction with midterm evaluation. Sign the final evaluation form and indicate whether the intern has successfully completed the requirements to progress to the next internship level/entry level practice.

14. Complete anonymous on-line Participant Feedback Form available on the Sponsor Moodle site or submit the Sponsor Participant Feedback Form electronically to AHN Administrative Assistant who will remove any identifiers prior to forwarding to the IEP office.