Why did you decide to become a CDM?
I was notified of an opening at my current facility by my director when I was cooking in a hospital. She was the consultant dietitian for our facility, and called me to notify me of the opening.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
Implementing Morrison systems into our Mayo Clinic facility. I am responsible for our retail space, patient services, and tasked with human resource management of our department, along with all financial responsibilities to ensure budgets are in line and revenue continues to grow. I ensure that appropriate staffing levels are maintained. Due to being in a small facility, I also pitch in and cook or do dishes to make sure patient needs are being met. I participate in our interdisciplinary team, attending patient rounds Monday through Friday. I work closely with our dietitian to help meet patient’s clinical needs.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
Calendars and daily task lists help keep me organized to ensure I do not overlook department and patient care responsibilities. My staff also assists in keeping me organized by checking in when they noticed things aren’t completed by me. They bring concerns forward when needed.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
A few things that I have implemented since I started in this role are: went from a 7-day non-select menu to offering room service for our patients. We also started a payroll deduction system in our retail space for employees. Our facility works closely with other Mayo Clinic sites, and employees across the various sites are able to use their employee badge in any cafeteria. We are also in the process of changing to a new POS system that will allow employees and guests to view our retail menu online, along with all the nutritional information for items that are offered that day.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
I started waitressing at our local county club when I was 14. I eventually moved to cooking at the country club. I moved on to cooking at a hospital, and then was offered my current position.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
I would say my biggest mentors have been my Operations Manager, and our previous and current dietitians. Our operations manager hired me as a new manager with no managerial experience. He has always been a big supporter of me and our department. He has always made me feel very comfortable approaching him with any concerns or issues that I have encountered.
Our facilities previous and current RD’s have had such an impact on my career. I have had a very good relationship with both of them! They have both let me take on as much clinical responsibility as I can within the CDM scope of practice. Our current RD is currently my proctor as I finish up my internship for a DTR degree. She has been so instrumental in our transition from being a self-operated department to being managed by a foodservice company by being a liaison between Mayo Clinic and Morrison Healthcare. She has been a role model to me in so many ways, but I feel the most important is her unwavering support of me as a director and a person. I feel I have grown as a CDM under her guidance and support. I often hear of CDM’s having a love/hate relationship with their RD, but in my 10 years in this position, I have never felt that!
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
Enough time to complete all tasks thoroughly that is being asked of me is a challenge. I would also have to say staffing is also a big challenge.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy all aspects of my job, but my favorite would be the patient interaction I have. I learn more from the patients than I can from any article or classroom. My desire to be more involved with our patients is the main reason I have gone back to school to earn my DTR degree.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
Morrison online learning sessions, food shows, ANFP and MN ANFP conferences. I have found networking to be an important part of staying on top of changes in the foodservice industry.
How do you envision the foodservice industry in the next few years and foodservice?
People expect a lot of food service. Everyone wants to be catered to. I envision the day that my phone will alert me when I am near a snack place. It may even tell me what options are healthy choices. I see that phones/internet will be the way of future ordering so people can walk down and just pick up their food. No transaction will need to be made as it was done via card on the phone. I see that patients will order from i-pads in their room and a phone call will only be made for those that cannot utilize this function. Everything will be automated.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
Find a work / life balance and know that there are going to be bad days in this industry, but there are also very rewarding days. Always focus on what’s best for the patient.