Why did you decide to become a CDM?
First of all, I have a love of food and it became a passion when I started out as a Dietary Aide working part time at a sister facility. The manager saw that I was very smart and organized. She taught me how to manage, budget, schedule, and order groceries. I went to another facility (the one I'm at now) to help out as the old manager was terminated. I did such a great job and got offered the position. I started studying, took the CDM course and then passed my national exam, and here I am.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
Nutrition screen assessments, patient interviews about nutrition/gather information about preferences, clinical nutrition charting, scheduling kitchen staff, interviewing and hiring kitchen staff, attending patient care plans, managing nutritional supplements, menu planning, auditing patient meal tray cards, performing food inventory and ordering.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
I make a daily schedule with time slots to stay on track.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
One innovative change I have made is making meal time more enjoyable. Residents love when I come out and speak with them. Before COVID, I used to go out into the dining room and have lunch with the residents. They loved the way I interacted with them. Putting more pride into what you do shows to the residents. I help enhanced the meals, I even had residents who do not come to the dining room wanting to come.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
When I was in high school, my first job was at a local "Hardees." I was a cook there.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
Mrs. Pamela Massey, my old manager at one of our sister facilities. She has molded me to who I am today. She always told me that I could do it and that I was very smart. I took her up on it and I did it.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
Staffing challenges. I handle this by organizing the staffing schedule to fit in with my schedule so that I can help them out. I even add myself on the schedule with my staff. I pick up shifts, because at the end of the day it's all about the patients.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love coming in to see the residents and doing what it takes to put a smile on their faces. I also love helping to cook, because I love cooking.