Friday, October 29, 2010

More of My Favorite Things

Recently, I spent an hour in our nutrition services department. I got a first-hand view of what it takes to keep our patients fed while following doctors' orders and doing our best to make the food tasty.

It is no secret. Food simply tastes better when we are not sick and when we can eat what we want, not what is prescribed. This team has its "plate full" when cooking for our patients, staff, and visitors.

I previously wrote about "The Big Three" last year. Patients use three important factors to evaluate their inpatient experience. How does the food taste? How clean is the place? And, did people treat me with care and respect? Often, patients are not able to judge the true clinical quality of their treatment. But the reality is all three of these areas involve something we judge everyday in our walk on this earth and that makes us experts in these areas. We transfer our judgments about overall quality using these three proxies.
Our nutrition services staff know they get judged at each and every meal on how their food tastes, if it is the right temperature, and if people have a choice in what they eat. It may not matter to the patient if the additional goal is for the meal to be healthy, meets the physician's requirements given the illness that brought them to our doors, or fits into the daily routine of our patients. Despite that rock and hard place, I am proud to report that our team gets plenty of compliments about their food.
"I can't believe it was 'hospital' food!"
"The parents' OB celebration meal was amazing."
"I loved having choices from the room service menu."
These are just a sample of the comments from our patient satisfaction surveys.
The nutrition services department also serves hundreds of meals everyday to our hospital team members and visitors in the cafeteria and Neon Cafe. This is no easy task given the variety of tastes and nutritional needs of our staff members.
We have been making a special effort to eat healthier lately. This is a real balancing act. Preparing food that is tasty and nutritious takes good culinary skills. My hats off to our team for their daily dedication to feed the crowd and keep them coming back for more! I am excited about the ideas from our nutrition services team to keep improving.
Thank you for your efforts!

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