Monthly Archives: May 2011

Last Rotation– Riderwood!

riderwood villageI am currently in my final rotation (besides one elective week before graduation) at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, MD.  My partner and I are learning all things food service at this non-profit retirement home for six weeks total.  Here is a list of some things we’ve done so far (only some- we’ve done so much in only 2.5 weeks):

  • Learned about staffing, scheduling, and job descriptions
  • Assisted with food prep (chopping vegetables, cooking, etc)
  • Performed SWOT analyses
  • Observed the process of making pureed foods
  • Met with the dining services human resource director, financial director, and executive chefs to discuss their roles
  • Interacted with the residents of independent living and assisted living communities

The main thing we’ve been doing, however, is planning out our theme meal.  The Riderwood Residents apparently always look forward to the UMD Dietetic Intern-run theme meals that run throughout most of the year, as each pair goes through.  Each pair picks a theme to base a luncheon on, and we are responsible for marketing, decorations, menu formulation, budgeting, preparing, and serving the meal.

Our theme meal is on Friday June 10th, and our theme is famous classical composers.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…how could that ever work?  What does that have to do with food?  And as we were brainstorming random theme ideas on the first day, neither Ala nor I thought the classical music theme would actually be the one that we did.  However, the executive chef indicated that it might be a good one to work with, so we went for it.

Riderwood theme meal entitled Symphony at the Potomac

It’s actually coming along really well.  We chose certain composers and looked at the region they were from.  Our composers are from Russia, Germany, Italy, Poland, France, and Austria, so we have menu selections from those areas of Europe.  I happen to be a classically trained pianist which has come in handy!  Part of our marketing strategy is playing one of the many pianos featured across Riderwood and telling the residents who come to listen all about our theme meal.  They seem very interested!  Our meal will be featured in a dining room known as the Potomac Cafe, so named our event Symphony at the Potomac.

I’ll keep you updated as our progress continues!


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Livin La Vida DaVita

We are in the home stretch…I am currently in my final rotation: Riderwood for Food Service!! Before I started Riderwood this past week, I spent time at a couple DaVita clinics, where patients receive hemodialysis treatments (and occasionally some peritoneal dialysis patients come in too). The dietitians are so well respected there because nutrition has such an important impact on dialysis patients’ health.

hello kidney

The thing I love about renal nutrition is the complexity of it. Phosphorous, protein (albumin), calcium, iron, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), potassium, and sodium must be carefully monitored, and they often have an effect on each other. Because the kidney’s don’t work correctly, they cannot regulate these levels (such as getting rid of excess electrolytes in urine, or protein being taken out of the body during dialysis) like a healthy person can. This can be very dangerous! And at DaVita, dietitians work directly with correcting lab values through proper diet and even medication.  Another great thing about working in dialysis?  You get a clinical point of view, but develop long-term relationships with your patients.  Getting to know the people I’m helping and seeing them improve over time would be so rewarding!

My partner Ala and I handed out samples of a protein drink and discussed the importance of adequate protein and albumin levels. We also conducted a few individual assessments and went over lab value “report cards” with patients during their treatments. Our preceptor Leah was very helpful in explaining all the ins and outs (pun intended 😉 ) of dialysis and its nutritional concerns.

For more information about all things kidney, see the National Kidney Foundation and DaVita webpages.

What’s Cookin?

My Dining Services rotation is complete! I learned so much about food service, food safety, management, and employee wellness. The staff was all so nice and friendly, and it was great to be back on campus. I have a whole new appreciation for my years or relying on the University of Maryland Dining Halls!

For our final presentation, we outlined all the different projects we worked on, such as maintaining the employee Wellness Wall with healthy tips and recipes, writing articles and tips for the dining.umd.edu website, teaching employees about hazardous chemicals, administering a survey to students, and more. We also cooked up a delicious meal comprised of steak braised with tomato and onion, orzo, and peanut butter cookies.

Here are some photos from my experience with my partner Ala:

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