Why did you decide to become a CDM?
I started out as a dietary aid and worked my way up to a cook. I knew that I wanted to make a difference, so I felt the best way for me to do that was to become a CDM.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
I am responsible for the supervision of 27 staff in my department. I am accountable for the dietary assessments, monitoring the weights, meal intakes, and food preferences of the 80 residents on the long-term care side of our campus. I am also responsible for 70 residents in the assisted living and 96 residents in the independent living. I complete all of the food ordering and equipment purchasing for the campus. I also do all of the menu planning and coordination of all catering events.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
I wanted to offer my menu during off hours so that residents could eat whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. I came in and trained evening staff how to cook the items on our menu and also trained them on ServSafe. Now our residents can get our regular menu 24 hours a day.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
I worked at a 30-bed nursing facility as a dietary aide, when I was 16 years old, bussing tables and washing dishes.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
The biggest challenge I have is trying to find time to complete all of the assessments, get food orders done, put out new menu ideas, and visit with all of the residents daily, in addition to scheduling and finding staffing. The best way to handle it is just to put everything on a priority list and remember that the residents are always number one.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The best part of my job is getting to interact with the residents and getting to make them smile. They always ask if I am going to sing to them or dance for them, which automatically puts a smile on their face.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
I attend most all of the CEU's that are offered in my area as well as educational opportunities offered from my vendors.
How do you envision the food service industry in the next few years and foodservice?
As the population ages, I envision residents not wanting the traditional ‘meat and potato’ meals and wanting a more diverse selection of food. This will coincide with their current lifestyle.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the food service industry?
My best advice is to become involved with our ANFP organization. They have a lot to offer both locally and nationally. Also, network with your peers. There is so much you can learn by just talking to those around you.