By: Danielle Ferguson
Some of the important things I learned during my foodservice rotation: 1) Homemade cornbread is amazing, 2) Singing loudly in my car helps long drives go by faster, and 3) the kitchen staff is incredible in their commitment and support to providing patients the appropriate nutrition recommended by the dietitians on the floors. I had the opportunity to complete my foodservice rotation at the same hospital where I am now completing my clinical rotation. Seeing it from both points of view has opened my eyes to how crucial the nutrition services kitchen staff is in aiding my patients in their healing and recovery process.
During my foodservice rotation, I played a role in many of the kitchen operations, such as catering, raw vegetable prep, the nourishment prep station, the tray line, and the patient ordering process. Participating in these operations prepared me well for starting my clinical rotation; I now understand how hospital nutrition services processes work from several aspects, so I know what it takes to get patients meals tailored to their needs. Now that I am in my clinical rotation, I get to learn about the processes required to assess patients’ nutritional requirements and recommend or prescribe the best diet options for each patient.
While working the clinical side of this rotation, I determine appropriate snacks and supplements for patients, decide what diets are appropriate, and analyze the nutrients the patient is receiving. Working in the foodservice department before moving on to the clinical nutrition department has helped my communications and rapport with the foodservice department.These are two very different departments that need to work together for a common goal, so I think having this connection has really been a plus. Seeing both sides has allowed me to adapt very quickly to the protocols of the hospital, have a clear understanding of what nutrition we can offer, and be more efficient by understanding the entire foodservice process of this hospital. This has encouraged my faith that we, nutrition services as a whole, are providing the best comprehensive care possible to our patients.
I know every time I order a snack, supplement, or specific diet, the people on the receiving and production end of that order are as committed to these patients as I am, and for this I am grateful. This experience has grown my appreciation for those who do the work that at times may be under-appreciated, and allowed me to grow tremendously in my role of a clinical dietetic intern!