A dietary aide is responsible for setting up dining areas with utmost cleanliness and attention. They should prepare meals under the supervision of the dietary manager and deliver food at the designated room on time. A dietary aide must strictly follow the instructions in preparing food for each patient and they should adhere to all safety and health standards. They must be conscious, competent, and should have a friendly approach to patients. The main aim is to provide outstanding food services following instruction and standards.
What are the job duties of a certified dietary aid?
The dietary aide work along with dieticians, dietary managers, and chefs and they help preparing food for residents and patients. They have to follow certain job duties:
- Preparing meals, snacks, and beverages following specific instruction
- Serving meals ensuring food hygiene procedures all the time
- Tracking inventory of kitchen supplies
- Staying current on individual procedures including state specified rules and regulations
- Set up dining areas and assist with kitchen maintenance and general cleaning
- Assist with an educational program on nutrition
- Collect the plates and glasses from the dining area
- Discard the leftover food into the garbage
- Clean the food station and wash the cooking vessels and dishes
- Stock the ingredients and monitor inventory
- Assist in menu planning and track expenses
- Aid maintain kitchen equipment’s and appliance’s
Where does dietary aid work?
A dietary aide usually prepares food in healthcare centers, hospitals, and retirement homes. Typically they spend the most amount of their time in the kitchen and cafeterias. They are expected to be on their feet preparing meals, reviewing the meal tray, delivering meals to patients and residents. The professionals need to show patience and kindness while working with patients. It is their job to help chefs creating menus concentrating on nutritious food. They keep records of the patient’s diet and communicate with other staff regarding dietary needs.
How to become a dietary aide?
To become a certified dietary aide you need to follow certain steps that are given below.
1. Degree and certification for dietary aide
The student in this program must learn preparing the meal and understand nutrition standards. The program incorporates certification training which many states require for food handlers. Most of the dietary aide position doesn’t require higher degrees beyond a high school diploma. However many employers may ask for an associate degree in nutrition or an undergraduate degree in a relevant field. Students can opt for a combination of general education and professional course to meet the degree requirements. Some of the courses include:
- Principle of nutrition
- Life cycle nutrition
- Clinical nutrition
- Food system management
- Medical nutrition therapy
The American National Standard Institute accredits food handling certification programs. The state requires such certification programs to employ in food service facilities. Some associate degree programs incorporate certification training within the curriculum. Some common programs include certified professional food manager and food safety manager certification examination.
Once you complete your high school diploma, graduation, or certification program the student needs to gain experience working with food. Students who have experience in food service jobs such as cafeteria or restaurant can be benefitted becoming a dietary aide. You can apply for jobs at fast-food centers where you can perform the various task needed to become a dietary aide. you must learn how to prepare food, clean the cooking vessels, and handle customers. You may work as volunteers at the nursing home and this can make you stand out from the other dietary aide job applicants. You may apply at local nursing homes, retirement centers, and health care facilities for a dietary aide position for training purposes. You will get proper training if you employ at nursing homes and healthcare facilities. Gain experience interacting with specific clientele which will serve as pre-hiring training.
In some states, the person who is interested in working as a dietary aide needs to obtain food safety certification. To learn the criteria of certification, the aide needs to contact the state’s health department. The law varies from state to state and the aide needs to have an active food handler’s permit. Some states may ask the dietary aide to have first aid or CPR certifications. Here are a few common permits:
- The ServSafe food handler – This is a common form of food handler’s permit. The food handler program will teach students how to handle and serve food properly and the temperature at the food should be kept at.
- The National Restaurant Association – the organization ensures the permit holder understands the up to date regulatory requirement for handling the food in various situation.
There are few skills and qualities required for the dietary aide to remain successful in their career.
- Attention to detail – The professional needs to pay close attention to patient charts ensuring they receive correct food with apt nutrients and on time. The skill will help them to identify when the patient will have a change in appetite and this can be reported to senior staff promptly and accommodate them.
- Interpersonal skills – Feelings, concern, and care is requisite for dietary aide because they work with patients with a variety of health problems, personality, and ability. So they must possess strong communication skills allowing them to communicate in their best style with the patients.
- Preparing food – The dietary aide needs to be expertise in preparing mass food and be familiar with the nutrients and each patient should get while on treatment and give adequate care for. They need to track various dietary restrictions like allergies and preferences.
- Time management – Dietary aide need to perform the various task so they need to prioritize their duties daily an on emergency basis. Organizing tasks based on importance and deadline will help them to work best with resident meals and dietary concerns.
5. Dietary aid workplace
Most of the professional works in rehab facilities and they are required to adhere to certain dress codes depending on the facility. They may be required to take part in certain continuing education programs and training. They may have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. For most of their shift, they will spend time on their feet and must adjust to drastic temperature changes.