CDM, CFPP of the Month - March 2021

Janice Hemel, CDM, CFPP

Name: Janice Hemel, CDM, CFPP

Job Title: Food Service Supervisor, CDM, CFPP
Employer: Lane County Hospital
Job Location: Dighton, KS
Years at Current Facility: 30 Years

Years in Current Position: 28 Years

CDM Since: 1992

Why did you decide to become a CDM, CFPP?

When I was in high school, I worked for the hospital as a night helper. This had me thinking of being a Diet Technician. When I went to college at Dodge City Community College, I was studying Diet Technician classes. I decided to stay with the Associates Degree and not go ahead and finish my courses to be a Diet Technician. I went back to the hospital and was PM cook until I decided to take time off to have children. In 1990, I returned to work at the hospital. I was PM cook and learning morning shifts as well. When my supervisor stepped down, I was encouraged by my dietitian to apply for the position. I was hired as the supervisor and encouraged to become a CDM. I completed the course and passed the test. Then came the scariest part of being a CDM. I had to take the CFPP part of the test later as that part was added later.

What are your main responsibilities in your current position?

I do both clinical and managerial sides of the dietary department. I do ordering, staffing, charting and MDS, CQI, and menus. As most of you know, this is just a small list of my duties.

How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?

Multi-tasking and list making help me to organize my time. I work on paperwork things while I am on the floor, during my break times, working extra long hours, and work on pieces of projects instead of the whole project at once. 

What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?

I wanted to open up breakfast time, for a start, to allow our residents to have breakfast in a longer time frame than just at 8 a.m. I first went through the CQI process for approval. Then I met numerous times with my staff, several with the DON and MDS coordinator, and a few with nursing staff and dietary staff combined. I then spent time with the residents explaining to them what our plans were to do. Yes, there were hiccups when we started but all of us were on the same page. Some things needed to be changed but with everyone’s input very little had to be done. The residents loved it the first morning and we never looked back. It also made other changes in our dining services easier to make as we used to same format for them

What was your first job in the foodservice industry?

When I was in high school, I was a PM helper.

Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?

My first dietitian was my biggest mentor and supporter. She was my preceptor for class and worked with my confidence in my abilities that I could do the job. She was a good listener and teacher. There have been many others that supported me and encouraged me but she was the one that built the foundation of me, the CDM, CFPP.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?

As most CDMs know, staffing is a major issue. In rural Kansas it is even more difficult as I have gone through the applicant pool many times. The other big challenge is in my facility itself. I do not have the support of my facility that a lot of you do. I have tried but am assumed I can do it all with what I have. They know I can do it one way or another, so expectations are high regardless of the cost to me or my staff. Where we shine is with our patients. We have an excellent connection with our patients. We love them and they love us.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My patients are my favorite part. Seeing their smile, stating they are spoiled, meeting their special requests all in a day’s work to see their smiles. 

How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?

 I count on the Edge magazine and meetings to keep me updated. I like to network with other CDMs to know I am not alone in this industry and get great ideas from them.

How do you envision the foodservice industry changing in the next few years?

COVID-19 is changing food service and how we do things. I see us as having to figure out how to dress up our service keeping within the guidelines of the CDC that may not ever go back to the old normal. We are looking at a new normal and then to improve under those guidelines. Like no salad bars but doing chef salads and other choices to get the foods that patients so enjoyed prior to COVID-19.

What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?

Get involved with ANFP, use networking as a support, for information and new ideas. Keep your chin up and think outside the box for anything you can do to make food service top notch for whomever you work for. This will give you so much satisfaction.