Under the general supervision of Food and Nutrition Services Leadership, this position is accountable for ensuring that each patient receives timely and appropriate meal service that follows the prescribed diet order. The incumbent works with patients and other members of the interdisciplinary team to ensure patient preferences are met within constraints of foodservice production and prescribed diet order.
Nature and Scope
This position is responsible for reviewing menus with patients once a therapeutic diet has been ordered. The incumbent also provides clerical support to the patient food services area of the department by answering the phone, responding to computer messages, and organizing paperwork for patient services. All menu selections are transcribed onto paper menus, or entered into the Foodservice program, and the choices evaluated against any dietary restrictions. Menu choices can be obtained by interviewing assigned patients, phone requests from patient/provider or from computer messages.
This position has frequent contact with employees and patients. The incumbent must develop a knowledge base of the menus, diet restrictions, recipes and food inventory. These skills will be used to balance the needs of patient dietary restrictions with the availability of menu options within the system and for problem solving directly with the patient or nursing staff to better meet patient needs and expectations. A complete knowledge of the food service area is necessary to relay information to the appropriate staff.
The incumbent will have the knowledge and skills to support the nutritional care of children, adolescents, adults and geriatric patients. The incumbent must demonstrate the ability to work with patient’s physical, cognitive and psychosocial needs specific to the population being served and meets standards of quality as measured by department age specific competency standards.
All moderate to low difficulty therapeutic diet types are edited/corrected by the incumbent. The incumbent ensures that assigned patients are seen to determine food preferences and tolerances and appropriate menus completed within established time constraints. The incumbent has the authority to make independent decisions in writing menus; order an additional tray for a patient if the wrong tray is delivered; to offer substitute food items per established guidelines; complete referrals for snacks or preferences; and to refer problem patients or unusual special diet types to the dietitian. Decisions referred to the dietitian are those dealing with complex diets or allergies. Decisions referred to Food and Nutrition Services Leadership for approval would be any unusual circumstances or those which do not follow established guidelines or those that routinely require leadership approval per established department guidelines.
Other duties include the delivery of patient trays. The incumbent may be required to perform other tasks and duties as assigned to meet the needs of the department.
This position is subject to a large volume of messages, phone requests and interruptions throughout the day. High standards of courtesy and good organizational skills are essential. The major challenges to this position are keeping track of the many details required for accurate food production tallies/forecasts; meeting deadlines; maintaining a calm attitude when dealing with many interruptions from phone calls and when dealing with sometimes-unreasonable requests, unpleasant individuals, and complaints.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
1. Communicate skills to work effectively with patients and their families, as well as staff.
2. Skilled with good English reading and writing.
3. Understanding of basic nutrition and its importance in health and disease. Broad understanding of special diets.
4. Possesses basic computer skills and comfort with a computer based position
5. Organizational skills.
6. Willingness to perform a variety of tasks.
7. Ability to interact effectively with persons of different social/economic background.
8. Demonstrates the knowledge and skills necessary to provide care, based on physical, motor/sensory, psychosocial and safety appropriate to the age of the patients served.
9. Mathematical ability for simple math calculations
10. Possess excellent customer service skills
This position does not provide direct patient care.
The foregoing description is not intended and should not be construed to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, skills and efforts or work conditions associated with the job. It is intended to be an accurate reflection of the general nature and level of the job.
Requirements – Required and/or Preferred
Must have working-level knowledge of the English language, including reading, writing and speaking English.
Requires completion of 2 college level nutrition classes or 1 year experience working in the kitchen or clinical nutrition services section of an acute care hospital.
Dietetic Technician Registration with Commission on Dietetic Registration is preferred
Computer / Typing:
Must possess, or be able to obtain within 90 days, the computers skills necessary to complete online learning requirements for job-specific competencies, access online forms and policies, complete online benefits enrollment, and fulfill demands of computer centered position.