I have worked in the food industry off and on over 16 years, so I assumed that I would know most of what goes on in a hospital kitchen. While I did understand the basics and the importance of customer (or in this case patient) satisfaction, I was able to learn so much more about what it takes to work as a team in a management position.
Since I came into my food service rotation during the holidays, to say that things in the kitchen were crazy would be an understatement. There would be some days that I would walk in and find where I would be most helpful because trying to complete my competencies was just not in the cards that day. The managers get pulled in so many different directions so you have to learn to remain calm and keep a smile on your face.
Having said that, I learned so much from the managers at Grand Strand. I learned that as a nutrition manager, there is no job in the kitchen that you won’t do. If a dish washer calls out sick, you are thereby the official dishwasher for that day! As an intern, I was eager to step in and help the managers with whatever they needed to make sure they got the job done. I assisted in hosting employee meetings, conducting safety/sanitation audits, prepped and cooked for over 1,700 employees for the annual Christmas party, participated in employee annual reviews, and assisted patient ambassadors and nourishment room stockers to ensure that the patients received adequate service and the nursing staff had what they needed for their patients in between breakfast/lunch/dinner.
There would be days that I would walk in at 4 a.m., and other days that I would stay until 8pm. This is a position that you will never grow bored of, and time passes quickly. You do not sit at a desk all day and creativity is encouraged. In just a couple of months, I made new friends at Grand Strand, and was able to see just what it takes to be a nutrition manager in the hospital setting. There are times that it can be challenging, but knowing I am part of a team that truly cares about their patients and coworkers is something that I will take with me after I leave my food service rotation. Becoming a food service manager would be a rewarding career and is something I’ll be seeking out once I obtain my RD credential.