Yesterday was the two-week mark of my first rotation: Food Service/Administration.
Quick overview: This is a ten week rotation, done in pairs, that’s chock full of projects and reports. The first four weeks are spent mainly in the kitchen, wearing all white every day. We also start gathering data during those first four weeks because in the last six weeks, we work on a bunch of reports, presentations, and classes. We also will get to be “supervisors” for four days. We’ll do a lot of shadowing of and assisting for supervisors and managers in food service, food production, clinical nutrition, and the dietetic internship.
The first hour and a half of the first day of this rotation was a meeting with our internship director where we learned about everything we were expected to do in the ten weeks. I won’t lie – it was scary. That whole first day was scary. By the end of it, I felt like I was barely treading water. The other intern mentioned a similar feeling. In retrospect, the reason it was scary was that EVERYTHING for the ten weeks was discussed and it was a little overwhelming. How were we going to get it all done? How were we going to survive? (If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, think of that first episode where no one feels like they know what they’re doing. That was us.)
Now, though, we feel like we can rock it. It’s amazing to compare how we felt yesterday to how we felt on our first day. Yesterday, we completed an important part of one our projects (a taste panel with salads, corn muffins, and cookies) and got amazing feedback from everyone who attended. We’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know everyone’s role in getting food to the patient – the budgeting clerk, the cooks, the service line, the managers, the RDs… (When you actually stop and think about it, there are a lot of people working to make sure patient’s get fed in the hospital and that they get the correct diet.)
The key to getting through this rotation (and probably the others) is to take it one day at a time and just trust in ourselves that we’ll work through any mistakes we make. We have checklists (6 pages worth!) of things we need to get done, and those checklists have been useful guides in the last two weeks.
The most useful skills to have during this rotation is time-management, self-discipline, and communication. Like I mentioned, we have a lot of projects to complete during these ten weeks. Some of the projects have firm deadlines, others have tentative deadlines. For some of the projects, we were given very clear objectives. For the others, we have to develop the objectives within a vague framework. We have to coordinate with many people, so we’re forced to be flexible with our schedules.
One of the hard parts of this rotation (at least for me), is getting up early. I’ve never been a “morning person,” but I have to be for this rotation. Most days, I need to be in by 7. Some days, I’ll need to be there even earlier. This means I’m usually having to get up around 5, just so I can be functional. (At least for the ten weeks of this rotation, I don’t have to think about what I’m wearing for the day. We have a dresscode – full whites when we’re in production, and black and white when we’re in admin.) To try to keep a routine of getting up early, I’m also forcing myself to get up early on weekends. Hopefully this will make it easier to get up early on weekdays.
- One More Week To Go!!!! (healthywonderland.com)
- Food service specialists support more than 6,000 soldiers during exercise (dvidshub.net)