In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!
The Director of Food and Nutrition Services directs and integrates all aspects of food and nutrition service for patients, employees, and cafeteria customers, including clinical nutrition services, retail, and catering services. The Director provides leadership and direction and is responsible for planning, organizing, and staffing the department in accordance with the mission, values, and vision of the hospital.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
Bachelor’s degree is required with a minimum of 3 years of experience in food service management or a recognized culinary diploma with a minimum of 5 years of demonstrated management experience. Most hospitals prefer someone with an RD.
CORE COMPETENCIES AND SKILLS
- Outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to effectively communicate with persons both inside and outside the organization
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Strong leadership and consensus-building skills
- Directs and integrates all aspects of food and nutrition service for patients, employees, and cafeteria customers, including clinical nutrition services, retail, and catering services
- Ensures that there are ongoing in-service and educational training programs for staff, and policies and procedures in place to guide the staff in their duties that address safety for food handling, emergency supplies, orientation for new employees, work assignments, and job descriptions
- Must be able to deal with multiple project demands and tight deadlines
- Oversees proper menu planning, purchasing of food and supplies, schedules, sanitation, and the retention of essential records
- Demonstrated initiative, follow through, and ability to work independently
- Ability to build and manage budgets
Directors of Food and Nutrition Services earn in the range of $65,000 to $110,000 although the total salary will vary depending on the size and location of the hospital, and the education and experience of the candidate.
The employment outlook for Directors of Food and Nutrition Services is somewhat complicated. Each and every hospital must be able to meet the precise dietary requirements of all inpatients and therefore must have an operational onsite food service. Food and nutrition services for inpatient care will continue to require a Director. However, hospitals also maintain a cafeteria for employees and visitors, as well as catering for hospital events. In a number of cases, hospitals outsource their food service operations for these service lines to an outside vendor. In other cases, hospitals have actively tried to improve the quality of their food service by working to improve and upgrade internal operations. In either case, Directors of Food and Nutrition Services will continue to play an important role in all hospitals.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
- Association for Healthcare Foodservice (http:// www.healthcarefoodservice.org)