16 February 2014

Food Service Rotation Recap

Helloooo!  Let's begin this post with this adorable commercial I saw on Ellen. (Originally aired during the Super Bowl).

Of course, seeing the puppy only made me think of Charlie and how much I want to hug her right now. :)  She had surgery a few weeks ago to repair a torn ACL and is currently going through physical therapy.  Because I'm out-of-state right now, I wasn't there post-surgery, but my family reports that she's recovering well!  She just had to get through the cone phase...

Which apparently, wasn't that long!  Yay!

Internship-wise, I have officially completed my food service and management rotations!  Now don't get me wrong, most of the people I worked with were friendly and there were definitely some interesting parts of the rotation, but I am SO glad to be done with it.  Having already worked in hospital foodservice prior to the internship, I knew how it worked, and it just isn't what I want to do in the future.

Having said that, I have gotten a few questions regarding what you actually have to do during this rotation.  So, without further ado, here are my rotation highlights, and what you might expect during this part of your internship.

  • Shadowed my preceptor, the patient services director, for a day.  She also happened to be an RD.  (Some rotations don't actually require their preceptors to be RDs, but it depends on the internship.)
  • Attended all meetings/events that my preceptor went to (for the first two weeks).  Some were lectures on human resources topics, such as learning about lost time management, FMLA, and the hospital's overtime policies, and others were meetings with other managers and administrators in the hospital to talk about the medical center's expansion that is currently underway, for example.  I also did rounds with her where each unit's staff had to present a board displaying their goals for the month and whether or not they reached them the previous week.  So, I never really knew what to expect!
  • Patient Rounding.  Since I mostly did rounding in the cancer units, this was basically just a conversation with each patient to determine if they have been tolerating the food they've been receiving, if it has been tasting okay, if the service has been good, etc.  Generally, we just wanted to see if there were any changes in how they'd been eating since they'd been there (good or bad), if they'd been happy with the service (a Food & Nutrition associate is supposed to take their meal orders every day), and if there was anything we could do to help.
  • Followed a food.  It's basically as it sounds.  I sat down with a manager as he placed an order through one of their suppliers, chose a product on the list, and followed it through its production cycle.  (I chose pork loin.)  This means that I inspected it when it was delivered, saw how it was stored, and watched it as it was prepped, cooked, and served to the patient.  This gave me ample opportunity to observe whether employees were following HACCP safety standards, the hospital's standardized recipes, etc.
  • Conducted a sanitation check.  Yep, I was the spy, I mean, health inspector for the day.  If there were any violations, I had to complete an action plan and follow through with it.  This meant having to talk to certain employees who weren't happy with me talking to them, but if they had just been doing what they were supposed to be doing, it could have been avoided! :) Oh, the joys of being a manager...
  • Conducted tray and supplement assessments.  Checked each patient tray for quality, presentation, accuracy, and safety based on the diet order.  So basically just making sure everything that was ordered was on the tray and complied with the diet order.
  • Took a "regular" diet meal and modified it five different ways, then costed out each meal.  I chose to modify the meal into cardiac, renal, 5gmCHO (diabetic), lactose free, and gluten free appropriate menus.
  • Wrote a purchase proposal.  After discussing departmental needs with production managers, I researched several brands of a piece of equipment they requested and wrote a purchase proposal.
  • Performed a waste assessment.  Okay, this one was tedious, but interesting.  I chose to do my assessment on breakfast condiment waste.  I posted signs/asked associates to collect all unused condiments, milk, and juice that were left on trays during breakfast dishes.  Then, I separated and counted how many of each item was collected.  Per my preceptor's request, I also took pictures (below).  Then, I had to calculate the average cost of these items for a day, per month, per year, etc.
  • Pantry Checks.  This simply means that I went to each unit's kitchen/food supply room, or "pantry," as the hospital calls it, and checked to see that each Food & Nutrition employee was keeping his/her assigned pantry clean, rotating stock appropriately, etc.
  • Conducted daily meetings.  Every day at 10 AM, supervisors are supposed to deliver announcements, reminders, etc. to Food & Nutrition employees.  I lead some of them.
  • Conducted employee inservices.  My preceptor said they had been having problems with employees not recognizing food allergies, so I developed a lesson plan and presentation, and taught several allergy trainings to Food & Nutrition staff.
  • Acted as a supervisor for various areas/shifts in the kitchen.  I was assigned to supervise kitchen staff (cooks, dining on call (room service) staff, tray line staff, dietary aides) during the last two weeks of the rotation.
  • Created and implemented a themed meal.  This was fun, but also the most stressful, for me.  I developed a themed menu that would be served in the cafeteria during one day (I chose the last) of my rotation.  After debating between a couple of ideas, I settled on Eastern European/Russian in honor of the Sochi Olympics.  After supplying the recipes that I chose to the managing chefs, who luckily said they could do every one! (well, except the blini bar...), I did some basic cost analysis to determine how much the whole thing was going to cost.  Then, I had to advertise my meal in the couple weeks leading up to it, make pricing signs for the cafeteria, and do all of the decorating on the day.  Overall, it was a huge success!  Not to brag, but the lines were almost out the door! :)  Which made me feel like all the work I put into it actually meant something.  Whew!
Here are some photos from the event.  Sorry for the blurriness.  They looked good when I took them with my phone but apparently they didn't like being moved to a computer.

My Menu! (If you can read it...) I left several things off but they were still served.

Pan Seared Pierogi
Pierogi, finished dish
Kielbasa y Kapusta (Kielbasa w/Cabbage & Potatoes)
Kielbasa y Kapusta, finished dish

Setting out the strudel! (Apple & Strawberry)

I provided some of the recipes for people to take with them if they wanted.
Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Kiev, Lapsha, Braised Kale & White Beans, Lemon Basil Carrots, Broccoli (Not pictured: Tempeh Reuben w/Caramelized Onions & Russian Dressing) 

Super easy-to-make flag garlands!

So there you have it!  This was a lot of what I did at the site, but not all of it!  Plus I had several other outside assignments to complete.  It seems like a lot, and trust me, on my first day my brain was thinking "Umm, how am I going to get all of this done??," but four weeks was more than enough time!

So, with the conclusion of my hospital food service rotation (I will eventually have to do school food service as well), tomorrow begins my clinicals!  I'm excited to really get the ball rolling!

Question of the Day:  What's your favorite kind of food? Would you be willing to try something that looks crazy and that you've never seen before?
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