Why did you decide to become a CDM?
I decided to become a CDM to better myself. I worked in the Dietary Department at Springhill Medical Center for several years. I started working in the dishroom, then on the tray line, then in the diet office. It was there that I learned about all of the various restricted diets based on the patients illness. This piqued my interest and made me want to learn more and grow in the field of Foodservice Management and Nutrition.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
Currently I work on the Clinical Team along with the Dietitians, as well as supervising the Operator's Call Center for Room Service Dining. My duties as the Dietitian Assistant consist of daily Nutritional Assessments, Calorie Counts, Diet Instructions as well as networking in the community by doing Health Fairs. As the Call Center Supervisor, my duties are to ensure that all of our patients meal request needs are being met on a daily basis, in accordance with their Doctor prescribed diet order. I conduct monthly meetings, in-services, payroll, monthly schedules, tray assessments and meal rounds.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
Managing my time at work can be challenging, at times working in two different areas in the department. Time is crucial. I tend to delegate duties to the call center operator's in an effort to ensure that the needs of the patients are met. I have seven employees that I supervise and the fact that I can trust in them that they can get the job done without me micro-managing them is very rewarding. I usually start my day by checking e-mails, handling any issues or special needs that we may have with our patients, and then I jump into the clinical phase of my job.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
This past year my facility was approached by the outside computer programming company that we use for our patient's room service. They put a program together detailing an upgrade for the system that would have required us to pay for the installation and training of the program. I, in an effort to save my facility a great deal of money, learned the program and trained my staff on how to use the system. In doing so, we were able to save a substantial amount of money.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
My first job here at Springhill Medical Center was as a dishwasher. I worked in the dish room for some time and then I moved into the diet aide position and then to the diet office. From there I took the online Dietary Managers Course to become a CDM, CFPP.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
This is a VERY easy question to answer, Leslie Phillips , my manager , my supervisor, my friend, has been my biggest cheerleader. She is the Clinical Nutrition Manager here, but at the time I was doing the Dietary Managers Course, she was one of our Dietitians. She was the one that got online and found the program. I knew nothing about it. Leslie inquired about the program, became my preceptor, and had the hospital to pay for the program for me. She has taught me so many things. The one thing that I'm so proud of is that she has taught me how to be a professional. She took the time out of her BUSY schedule to teach me the clinical side of being a CDM, CFPP. She has gone to bat for me more times than I can recall. I look up to her.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
The biggest challenge that I have found being a manager is dealing with all of the different personalities. I'm learning that, as a manager, I have to take it all in stride.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job are my patients and coworkers. I look forward to seeing my coworkers and they look forward to seeing me. As for my patients, it's just a blessing to go up to a room to see someone that is sick and to say something to them that really makes their day. It's very rewarding.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
Staying up to date with current innovations and trends comes with CEU'S, webinars and in-services. I do continuing education through my employer, Sodexo. I attend multiple webinars to keep abreast of the latest, most current practices in foodservice and nutrition.
How do you envision the foodservice industry in the next few years?
In the next few years, with all of the new technology in the world, I can really see the foodservice industry thriving. We have room service here for our patients at Springhill Medical Center, where our patients are able to call us and order their meals (like being in a hotel) and we deliver the tray up to them per their request, at any time during the day. What they want, when they want it! Guests are able to order and pay for their meals online also. With so much automated technology and software available, I see the meal ordering systems and nourishment systems only becoming more efficient down the road.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
One of my duties as a CDM, CFPP is to orientate all new employees that come to work in the dietary department. In my orientation process, I always make a point to encourage that individual that there is room for them to improve themselves here, I know where I started from and I want them to be able to move up and to better themselves at SMC, just as I have.