Sandwich/Pizza Ideas?

Sorry for the delay in posts, hopefully I’ll have some time and something interesting to write tomorrow. I spent the day sitting in on meetings and was asked to help come up with some creative sandwich and pizza ideas to sell in the cafeteria. They are looking to re-vamp their menu with weekly specials. Any suggestions?


Overtime, Minus the Pay

These past 2 days have been great but the early mornings are affecting me today. Yesterday I was at the hospital for nearly 11 hours—so much for getting off at 1:30! I ended up staying for a couple of extra hours to observe a couple of interviews for a management position. It made for a long day but it was definitely worth it. I have never sat on the other side of an interview and it was very interesting to observe how these candidates responded to pressure and to watch their body language. Let me tell you, these interviews were intense! I was getting nervous watching them.

Today was definitely harder to force myself out of bed at 3am but I managed to do it. I did a lot of the same shadowing and helped unload produce and other refrigerated items for the majority of the day. I’m getting to know the layout of the hospital better with all of the nourishment stocking around the floors. The best part of the day, however, was presenting the floor stock audit spreadsheet that my partner and I created to 3 managers/supervisors and our director. Not only did we complete our first project but we actually created something that they plan to implement and think will help them pin-point problems.

Another good thing—tomorrow I don’t have to be in until 6 am, which is still early but an improvement over 5. I’m also going to start working with next week’s production preceptor since I’ve basically completed everything for this week’s rotation.

Sorry for the boring post, I’m too tired to make it more exciting. Looking forward to an early bedtime and the end of the week!

Is It Bedtime Yet?

It feels so much later than it actually is right now, probably because I was up at 3:00 am to start working at 5! For the next 2 weeks my schedule is 5:00am-1:30pm—definitely not something I’m used to. This is my first week of food service management and they are starting it off with a mixture of manual labor and a mental challenge. I spent the (early) morning in the stockroom unloading boxes of food off pellets and stacking huge cans of food. I practiced using a box cutter and was told to look forward to testing out a forklift at some point! I was also introduced to the huge walk-in freezer where I will apparently be working for a good part of Thursday. Better remember to bring a jacket.

I should backtrack a bit and mention what I did yesterday. Yesterday was my orientation to food service management and I was given a partial overview of what is to come these next 7 weeks as well as my first project. My partner (during food service management 2 interns are partnered up for the entire rotation, which is actually nice because we have 2 brains working on the many assignments we will be given) and I were given our first project. We are to design an audit to compare handwritten and computer records of foods delivered to the numerous hospital units. Apparently there has been a major cost discrepancy for months (years?) and they want a system to figure out why. The task seemed daunting yesterday but today we had some downtime and were able to come up with an excel spreadsheet and may have pinpointed the reason for their problem. It looks like someone has been improperly entering a particular food item in the computer so it isn’t being billed. I’m hoping we’re right and will save them some money.

This entire week is also filled with shadowing different food service workers to get a feel for each of their jobs so we know just how hard some of them are. We spent time with employees delivering snacks all over the hospital as well as working various stockroom jobs. So far all of the jobs include either a lot of walking or lifting. Definitely not easy! I found myself laughing out loud several times today thinking about how different this is from what I imagined. It is a great experience though and, despite waking up before the birds, it is a lot of fun.

Weekend Catch-Up

One thing I wondered about all summer before starting the internship was whether or not I’d be able to have a life outside of the program. Well, I am happy to say that it seems that I may have as much, if not more, of a life than I had outside of undergrad. Definitely more of a life than when I was taking the hard sciences (i.e., biology, gen chem., o. chem , physics, genetics, herpetology, etc… yes, I do realize I went beyond the required but what can I say, I was confused about what I wanted to do).

As far as homework is concerned, I did have lots of work to do at home this past week, but that was because I was in a unique rotation. I’ll probably also have stuff to do at home during food service management, which I start tomorrow morning…, but it seems like there is less homework and more intense on-the-job work for the majority of the rotations. Talking to my fellow interns it sounds like they work hard to see as many patients as needed and have to be sure to complete their charts before leaving for the day. I didn’t hear anything about having additional assignments to complete at home yet. I’m sure some preceptors will ask us to look things up and report back to them or things like that, but that will depend on the situation. Later on in the program we will have projects to work on, like preparing to lead a journal discussion and working on a case study, but there’s nothing to do for those yet.

One thing we do have that is homework-like is our pre-rotation packets. Before beginning a rotation we are given a list of readings and a handout of questions to answer and terms to explain. These packets vary in length and difficulty depending on the rotation and the preceptor. For example, my pre-rotation packet for food service contained 12 math problems (food cost, yields, employee wages, etc), fewer than 20 terms to be familiar with and some reading from a ServSafe book. Basically it was just a brief review of things covered in our food safety and food service management classes. Keep your notes and text books people, they are great references and save time from searching through the library of books available at the hospital.

Like I said, these packets differ in difficulty. A couple of the interns started with cardiology and had to read a lot of journal articles and had a more intense handout. Again, I think I just need to lose all of my expectations so I’m not overwhelmed by any of these prep assignments.

So my point is I feel less stressed about the work load right now than last semester when I was juggling 17 units and a part time job that was stressful enough on its own. Not having exams to study/cram for helps. So far my weekends are pretty open and I’ve been able to socialize and catch up on my cleaning. I’ve already vacuumed and mopped more in the last 2 months than I did all of spring semester last year (oops!).

No classes tomorrow so I start food service management in the morning. I’m trying to think positive thoughts—food is fun, right?

Nutrition 101

I took a break from analyzing food records (not my favorite thing, but definitely a needed skill) to go teach a nutrition lesson with another intern to a group a high school students today. It was kind of an introductory lesson, just going over the basic food groups, macronutrients (fat, protein and carbs) and vitamins and minerals. Surprisingly most of them paid attention and did really well on our review quiz and questions. The best part, however, was the open discussion after the lesson was over. We asked if anyone had any nutrition related questions about anything they had heard. One girl actually asked about fiber supplements related to weight loss. I guess fiber is a hot topic these days! I definitely advised her against taking them and looking to natural food sources (fruits, vegetables and whole grains) rather than taking a pill or powder. Teenage girls are especially susceptible to developing unhealthy eating behaviors based on things they’ve heard so I was happy to have the chance to steer her away from that. Overall, I’d say the lesson was a success. Now I just have to finish working my way through these food records….

Morning Thoughts

I feel so refreshed today after 8 hours of sleep and a morning jog. It was nice and brisk outside this morning, which is welcomed after a summer full of triple digit days.

Last night’s conference was interesting. A nutritionist spoke about the importance of fiber in weight loss and weight management. Note that I said nutritionist; while she has a master’s in nutrition she is not a dietitian and was ironically speaking to a group of people who either are registered dietitians or are dietetic interns. She was an excellent speaker and probably very motivating for people looking to revamp their diets, but I have to say I disagree with a few things. For one, I do think that calories should be monitored during weight loss attempts to make sure you are neither over-eating nor under-eating. With the increased amount of fiber infused foods on the market (i.e., tortillas with 12g fiber each and cereals with 14g/half cup) it’s easy to meet your fiber requirement and then over-eat other foods thinking you are safe after meeting the recommended 20-35g.

The main thing I’m questioning, however, is she said that for every gram of fiber you consume not only do you not absorb the gram of fiber (worth 4 calories) but your body burns and additional 7 calories to pass that fiber. So, for every gram of fiber in a food item you can subtract 11 calories from the total. I’d like to see the evidence behind this. If anyone knows of any studies that support this information please let me know! (Note: one important thing that she didn’t mention is that when looking at food labels for packaged items, many food companies already subtract the 4 calories/gram of fiber so if this is true you would only subtract the additional 7 calories/gram of fiber to find the net calories in the item.) Thoughts anyone?

Brain Break

I’m giving my brain a break between working on nutrition education materials and going to a dietetic association meeting so I thought I’d update you on my past 2 days. I decided to take advantage of the time flexibility during this rotation while I have it; after this week who knows what hours I’ll be assigned (probably super early though for a while…).

Yesterday was our first official didactic class day. We reviewed an entire year’s worth of adult nutrition assessment in a few hours, reviewed some sample charts and then practiced a few case studies. I have to say that I felt fully prepared after my undergrad classes, especially medical nutrition therapy. All of those lengthy case studies and study guides really paid off. Now I just have to wait 8 weeks before I can work with real patients.

Today I started a week long research rotation, which is definitely different than I anticipated, but I was forewarned to drop my expectations about any rotation. There’s a lot more variety to research studies than I realized—it’s not just testing out a placebo vs. supplement or drug. I’m actually working on some nutrition education materials and will be co-leading a nutrition lesson for teenagers later this week. Along with that I’ve been working with a partner to design some menus for people who are following a very strict diet. It’s quite challenging to make food choices appealing when you are limited by more than calories.

Speaking of appealing food choices, I need to figure out more food options at the cafeteria. For the past 2 weeks I have stuck to ordering either a Gardenburger or chicken sandwich for lunch. I tend to be a creature of habit but I can only eat so many Gardenburgers! (They are really good though…). Time to get more creative :o)