Diversion and Skill; Completing the Meal

Diversion and Skill; Completing the Meal



Courtesy Story

Naval Medical Center – Portsmouth

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) Culinary Specialists (CS) diversify their skills by providing extensive services to support the U.S. Navy’s oldest continuously operated hospital since 1830. On a daily basis, the CSs feed a wide array of patients while accommodating their individual dietary needs. The requirements range from a room-service style menu for soon-to-be and new mothers in the Labor & Delivery Ward, to strict dietary guidelines and recipe procedures for patients in varying degrees of health, to supporting the staff and visitors of NMCP through a traditional Navy shore-side galley operation. Although faced with constant challenges throughout all the service provided, the CSs stop at nothing to complete the mission.

In addition to providing meal service at NMCP, Culinary Specialists attached to the hospital staff are also required to assist during relief efforts on the hospital ship USNS COMFORT. When deployed, nearly 40% of the CSs assigned to NMCP – along with one or two dietitians – are assigned to the hospital ship with deployments lasting from one to six months. This necessarily leaves the remaining staff to step in to critical leadership roles and continue to provide the same high quality patient care. Perseverance at its finest! This time is no different. With COMFORT on a five month deployment, the Food Service staff at NMCP not only maintained those high standards but met additional challenges.
NMCP regularly receives high profile visitors and often times the support of the Culinary Specialists is requested. This past year the CSs have hosted VIP luncheons for Vice Adm. Rachel Bono, director, Defense Health Agency and Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy Surgeon General; hosted a VIP breakfast for prospective commanding officers assuming command with Navy Medicine East; and they also executed a perfectly planned change of command ceremony, welcoming aboard Capt. Lisa Mulligan and saying fair winds and following seas to Capt. Christopher Culp.

With a consolidated crew of 50 CSs, they have exceeded the mission to provide high quality meals and exceptional customer service to both staff and patients on a daily basis. The Culinary Specialists at NMCP are GROWTH orientated versus GOAL orientated. A goal is a destination whereas growth is consistent improvement for the better of all.

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