Summer is a busy time for HES students to complete internships. This series will spotlight students and their intern experiences
Name: Emily Dickens
Major: Dietetics-Coordinated Program
My internship consists of three different rotations lasting a total of 27 weeks. My first rotation is at Baptist Health Lexington in the Patient Food Services Department (10 weeks), my second is with the Fayette County Cooperative Extension in Lexington (7 weeks), and my third is at Our Lady of Belfonte in Ashland, Kentucky (10 weeks). My first rotation is the food service systems management rotation, my second is the community nutrition rotation, and my third will be the medical nutritional therapy (clinical) rotation.
What is your typical day as an intern?
So far I have completed my first rotation. My tasks included loading food trays and carts for patients, passing the trays to the patients on every floor, getting menu orders from patients, creating and implementing a 'healthy combo meal' as well as promoting and marketing for that meal, and creating a 'theme meal' with decorations and recipes to go along with that meal. I also conducted plate waste surveys, gave an in-service on artificial sweeteners to the tray passers, worked in the dish room, dipped food on the hot line for the tray passers and worked on patient menu changes. Making the menu changes consumed a lot of my time because each change had to be made for each diet and in several different places, (spreadsheet, patient menu, chef menu, production menu, etc.). The facility is switching to tablets for taking menu orders, and I worked on implementing this new system.
How are you applying classroom knowledge in your internship?
I was able to take what I know and apply it to real life situations, which enhanced my classroom knowledge even more. O I used management skills learned in Human Resources Management (DHN 346) and applied them to my co-workers, preceptor, and other employees. I used an abundance of knowledge that I learned in DHN 302, 304, 340, and 342 with the food production, purchasing, and procurement side of this food service systems management internship. I knew what to look for at deliveries, processes for checking inventory, standardized recipes, and how to properly give portion sizes when plating a meal. I used the DHN 512/517 knowledge of medical nutrition therapy to know the difference between the diet orders and why a patient on a certain diet could not have a certain food.
What is one key thing you have learned during your internship?
One key thing I learned in my internship is flexibility. The 'real world' requires adapting and being flexible, which can be a real challenge at first. I also learned that having an education and prior knowledge specific to the job or internship you are working in is very important, allowing for a more relaxed and confident work environment.
What advice would you share with other students who are preparing to complete an internship?
I would advise others to learn to be flexible with a professional demeanor. You have to be disciplined and able to efficiently work with change.