Janhavi, Nursing Home Food Service Worker (FSW)

Janhavi, food service worker at The Neighborhoods, putting away dishes in the kitchen and smiling at the camera


Nutrition & Exercise Science with a specialization in nutrition

Career Goal 

I am a graduate student and will finish with my master’s degree in May 2023. After graduation I plan on sitting for my registered dietitian exam and then start working as a registered dietitian. I don’t know what setting I want to work in yet: clinical, school, community or food service management. Hopefully I will be able to decide after my internship this spring.

How long have you worked for Brookings Health System?

I actually started at The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home as a FSW in 2019. I took a little break after I finished with my undergraduate degree because I thought working and going to graduate school would be too intense. I found I did have time and came back in 2021, working room service at Brookings Hospital. This summer I came back to The Neighborhoods as a food service worker.

What does a food service worker do?

We serve food to the residents according to physician ordered diets and we make sure we do not serve them anything they are allergic to or cannot eat. We also serve them beverages and supplements according to their diet. For example, some residents get thickened drinks or they need to have a supplemental drink every morning. Some residents also have fluid restrictions so we make sure they are not exceeding the daily limit of how much fluid they can consume. Over at the hospital, we also have to make sure patients are getting their specific diets, but you see more variety, like cardiac and renal diets. We also perform sanitation duties in the kitchen and the dining room at The Neighborhoods.

Why did you apply with Brookings Health?

I just wanted experience related to my major. This job is really closely related to what I’m going to school for. I learn about the different diets first-hand which will help me later on when I work with elderly adults on their special dietary needs. I’m also learning about food service management by using the different kitchen equipment and serving the residents.

Also, as an international student, I have limited options on campus for work. I wanted to get experience specifically related to my major. To do that, I need to get special permission to work off campus and renew it every semester. To get permission for off-campus work, the work needs to relate to my classes and this job does.

What do you enjoy about working at The Neighborhoods and with the residents?

I really like that I’m able to help the residents. Food is a really big part of their day. I enjoy connecting with them when I’m interacting with them. Making them laugh may be the highlight of some of their days. I really like it when they compliment me when I make food for them so I try my best to make sure they enjoy the food.

Why should other students consider working at Brookings Health?

They would get really good experience related to their field of study. Also, the work environment is really good. They work around your class schedule and are flexible. All the nutrition experience we receive is good to include on your resume for future jobs. Co-workers are really helpful and are always willing to cover shifts for you. Brookings Health also has employee discounts to businesses around Brookings which I think is a good benefit and a plus for college students.