By Amy Peick, NDSU Dietetic Student
Recently, I completed my eight-week dietetic internship at the Hy-Vee store in Oakdale, Minnesota. Since the beginning of my internship, I had a strong interest in being a retail dietitian in a supermarket setting. My experience has only strengthened my passion and drive to further pursue a career in the profession.
During my internship, I learned not only what a retail dietitian does, but I also discovered the qualities an individual must possess in order to be successful in the position. First and foremost, supermarket dietitians take on numerous tasks both in the store and within the community. Retail dietitians must also be flexible and able to multitask. I’ve also learned that retail dietitians create their own success. In-store dietitians are constantly planning new programs, teaching classes, conducting store tours and developing new events while trying to increase the number of customers who use their services. During my internship, I also learned to become more business-minded. This is essential in the retail setting because many times retail dietitians are responsible for promoting their own services and developing excellent customer rapport that motivates people to come back to the store.
The supermarket is a hot spot for nutrition and health education. Not only is it convenient to have a dietitian in the store, but supermarkets that employ retail dietitians, like Hy-Vee, are able to offer customers hands-on education by simply using the products found in the aisles. Retail dietitians are able to work closely with customers and choose products that best suit each individual’s dietary needs. It’s amazing to see how much knowledge a customer can gain after a retail dietitian takes him or her on a simple store tour.
The last eight weeks have been nothing less than inspiring. Not only do I want to continue a career as a retail dietitian, but I want to provide students with an internship experience much like my own. As I prepare to graduate in May, I’m grateful to have interned at Hy-Vee and I am thankful to have had the chance to explore all of the opportunities the position has to offer.