Hello fellow interns! My name is Ilana Dubrovsky and I am located in northern New Jersey (Region 4). I would like to share some strategies that I have found helpful in my transition from orientation to my first rotation in patient services.
First, develop an organizational system to track your rotation schedules, preceptors, and assignments. This will increase your productivity and decrease stress! I use the Google calendar, which integrates into my computer and phone. This tool enables me to make changes or notes to my schedule on the go, while synchronizing with the calendars on my other devices. It has made a complicated schedule a little easier to manage.
Beginning my internship in patient services has enabled me to get a 360° view of the patient experience. I witnessed patients ordering their meals, oversaw (and participated in!) meal preparation and the delivery of patient meals, as well as interviewed patients to understand their satisfaction with food service as well as overall experience. This rotation enabled me to identify areas that could use improvement through participating and overseeing processes, but also by communicating with managers and supervisors.
In my experience, I have found that managers and food service staff are happy to share areas of their workflow that need improvement or simplification. I suggest you take a note of these challenges. Ask others if they also face this challenge and be confident in making suggestions to improve the process. For example, food service line workers in my hospital site were unsure about substituting one nutrition supplement for another, if we were out of stock of an item. They consistently asked their supervisors if substitutions were appropriate. In response to this challenge, I received approval from a manager to create and post a sign that read: “No substitutions for supplements; flavor substitutions only. (Check for allergies: butter pecan flavor contains nuts.)” I made a second sign that had photos of the supplements and a brief summary of the product and population or disease state it is intended to serve, in case someone was interested in understanding why substitutions are not permitted. These simple signs were a big hit! I received positive feedback from both the managers and the line workers, thanking me for the information.
The advice I leave you with: ask questions and don’t be shy in making suggestions. You are a nutrition professional and equipped with tremendous knowledge. Best of luck. You got this!