Dietary department...(ranting!!)

Nurses General Nursing


Oh, my patience was tried to the upmost last night at work. Why? The dietary department, again. :( I don't know who they think they are, but I am tired of having to argue for every little extra thing for a pt. Last night for example...have a young man who is in his 30's in with a DVT...good size man. Ate 100% of his supper and requested a second tray. No dietary restrictions. We call dietary and ask for a second tray. They call back and say they can't send one. Why? Because he had his allotment for the day. Hello, the man is on NO restrictions. After a 3 minute discussion with an asinine dietary clerk who kept telling me that he can't send up another tray because a dietitian hasn't okayed it I get ticked and say fine. I will just call the doctor and you can explain why you are refusing to give this man more food. So, we paged the doctor and told him the story. He said no problem and to give the guy a second tray. :rolleyes:

Second scenario. Pt refused her tray at the beginning of the meal pass. We left it on the cart. After the meals were eaten the dirty trays were put back on the cart. Then the patient decides she wants her tray. Call dietary for another tray. Another line of BS. (Plus the pt is diabetic and has a BS of 60). Dietary says they can't send another tray. WTF? :( After arguing 5 minutes with them we did get them convinced to send a sandwich.

I don't if dietary thinks we are hoarding this food or what. Maybe they think we don't know our patients. It was a major power struggle all weekend with them. The CNA's on our floor never ask for anything for the patients without checking with the nurses first to make sure it is okay. Then the nurse usually calls down and requests the stuff. We aren't asking for filet mignon here folks. Simple stuff. Like a piece of pie. Or a bowl of soup. Just trying to make things easier for our patients if we can.

I feel better now. I just hate having to argue with people over stuff that doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the scheme of things. I have other battles that need to be fought.


415 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Vent's like that here too. No idea why. Budget? Portion police? Who knows...


992 Posts

Originally posted by RNonsense

Vent's like that here too. No idea why. Budget? Portion police? Who knows...

I don't what is causing the burr up their butt lately. You would think that the extra money that the food costs (all $2.13 of it) was being taken right out of their pockets for pete's sake. They act like the nursing staff doesn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. I am not talking about renal patients here who definitely have to have a regimented diet, but just your average people. I always thought a good appetite was a sign of good health. So very often most patients don't eat enough to keep a bird alive, and I have someone cleaning his plate and asking for more. ;) That is a nice change of pace for me.

I definitely plan to talk to my boss Monday, as do some of my co-workers. This weekend was flat out ridiculous.


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

It sounds as though your nursing department needs an inservice with dietary, and vice versa.


94 Posts

I worked in a large university teaching hospital until 10 years ago. Dietary was awful.

1) Cockroaches coming outof the food cart when meals were delivered to floor.

2) No requests taken after 8:00pm because they closed an dwent home at 8:30 PM

3) They did leave the keys to the kitchen with the Nursing House supervisor/adinistrstor on-call. That meant that the nursing sup.was making sandwiches at midnight.

4) It got worse when they gave the dietary contract to ARA services.

5) My last few years there we finally just subverted the system and called the take-out Chinese restaurant in our area. They deliver to the ER regularly. We had to pay out of pocket for this, but they never hasseled us, the food was good and we didn't have to be so embarrassed in front of our patients.

One more reason why I left hospital nursing. Edward


6,011 Posts


I must say here that I have seen staff order extra food, desserts etc "for the patients" and then eat the stuff themselves.

I also know that many of the patient "snacks" never made it to actual patients. Perhaps the dietary dept. has been burned onece too often by this kind of thing. And this happened on all shifts. I have also seen staff helping themselves to the food on trays of patients they were feeding.

I agree Nursing and Dietary need to have a meeting, but all this is not dietary's problem

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,494 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I can't believe that you actually had to call a doctor with such foolishness. We simply order in the computer, send double portions, send extra tray now. And we get it. No questions asked. Lucky I guess.


13 Posts

Originally posted by sjoe

It sounds as though your nursing department needs an inservice with dietary, and vice versa.

For years we've been trying to solve problems with dietary, inservices have been of no help. We sit around the conference table, each gives his/her views, everybody smiles and shakes hands and promises a new era of love and cooperation and the next day, it's the same old stuff. My way to deal with it? I've ingratiated myself with a few of the dietary people and am thus able to generally bypass the goons who think we nurses are eating up all their food. Hope this helps.


992 Posts

Originally posted by P_RN

I agree Nursing and Dietary need to have a meeting, but all this is not dietary's problem

It is a power struggle with the dietary department, period. Our dietary department supervisor is so warped he got the administrator of the hospital to make a rule that the hospital staff cannot take food out of the cafeteria at meal/break time. :rolleyes: Our cafeteria is too small and there is no way the hospital employees and visitors will fit in the dining area at meal time. Who cares where the hospital staff eats as long as it is not in patient care areas or other inappropriate areas? Our pantry is stocked with Pepsi and 7-UP products. Occasionally we get a pt who prefers Coke products (and are kept in the dietary department). We have actually had to argue with the dietary department to bring up Coke instead of Pepsi (again for a pt with no restrictions whatsoever). How can nursing be to blame because a patient preferes Coca-Cola over Pepsi? Or that a relatively young man with a DVT would like a second tray? Nursing is suppose to be able to control the preferences of the patients now? :rolleyes:


267 Posts

We have a freezer full of frozen meals (curries, cottage pies etc) that we can bung in the microwave if we need a meal in a hurry. We also have a little oven and bags of frozen chips (fries) that we can cook up if we have a picky eater. As for the Coke/Pepsi battle, we have drink machines. That's it. You want anything other than tea/coffee/hot chocolate/cordial/horlicks or water, you bring it in yourself or have your family do so.


190 Posts

Franny,please,what is horlicks?


992 Posts

We have frozen meals too, that the staff has been accused of eating. Yuck. I won't serve those things to the patients much less eat them myself. :( To be accused of stealing and eating them is a direct smack in the face as far as I am concerned. :(

We are a small hospital. We don't have everything the bigger hospitals have that supposedly makes them "better." What we do have is the chance to give a little hometown kindness to our patients and their families. Dietary is making this very difficult for us. Almost all families who are staying with a very sick and/or dying relative appreciate a hot cup of coffee, or tea (or whatever their preference) or a pastry once in awhile while they keep their vigil. And for the patients who request that little extra something once in awhile and receives it makes them feel special and goes a long way in PR department for our facility. A little positive press is a good thing, especially in this day and age of cut-throat advertising.

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