Dietary aide experts are generally hired by hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities. They are the ones who ensure that the nutritional needs of a patient are met. They work hand-in-hand with dieticians and health care professionals in creating healthy meals for patients according to their nutritional needs.
Eating a well-balanced diet is very important to having a healthy and strong body. Proper diet and nutrition is very important especially for those with chronic ailments. In order to fully recover from an illness, or maintain a strong immune system, dietary aides prepare and plan nutritious meals for patients. They use their vast knowledge of nutrition and diet to supply the body with the right food in the right amounts.
Duties and Responsibilities
Generally, dietary aides spend much of their time talking to patients about their food preferences. They work with the dietician in discussing dietary requirements and develop menus and nutritional care plans.
A dietary aide assists the cook in determining the amount and type of food and supplies required for daily meals. He also assists in the preparation and serving of them. Before distribution, he checks the special diet trays and make sure that it follows the dining guidelines.
The dietary aide is responsible for keeping a complete food supply in the kitchen. He checks stock and helps in obtaining them. Then he records the data on flow sheets and other documentation.
Depending on the institution, a dietary aide may also be in charge of the cleaning duties in the kitchen and dining rooms.
Education and Skills
Most employers require candidates to have an associate degree from an accredited program approved by the American Dietetic Association. Students should also pass national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. On the other hand, some employers only require a high school diploma or GED.
Work related experience is always an advantage. Candidates should be knowledgeable in food nutrition, health, and diet. Cooking skills and computer literacy are also a must.
A dietary aide should also be able to maintain high sanitation and personal hygiene levels. He must have excellent communication skills and be able to work with a team. Like other careers, discipline, hard work, and organization are certainly needed to be a successful dietary aide. He must be physically fit to be able to move around, bend, lift, and push. He must be able to read and follow instructions and fulfill responsibilities within a designated time frame.
Attentiveness is definitely a must. Aspiring dietary aides should be critical in details particularly in the ingredients measurement, cleanliness of the facility, and other dining protocols. He should contribute to the efforts of dining and medical staff to promote health and safety.
Work Conditions and Salary
Salary for dietary aide work is usually based on an hourly wage. However, some institutions offer fixed salaries. Work schedule may be early morning, afternoon, or evening. All candidates should be flexible and able to adapt to a shifting schedule and overtime to cater to the needs of the institution. Some employers also conduct training for inexperienced employees.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/