Professional Development, Staffing Tips for Success | Jun 9 2017

Summer is coming, plan your coverage now

Let us find the dietitian while you plan the vacation

Summer is coming, and many are anxiously awaiting time off work! The downside is the planning required to find coverage, and the time devoted relieving others. When preparing for time off, the goal is to facilitate less make-up work upon return, and that documentation, and customer service remain in compliance.

A crucial part in the process is finding the right Registered Dietitian (RD) for the challenge. The perfect person for the task is someone who thinks comparably to oneself, and recommends equivalent interventions to best accommodate the interdisciplinary team, and patient needs. Usually, if expectations are clearly explained, frustration is avoided for both RDs involved.

Luckily, the ability to express needs of coverage improves with experience. In the meantime, the following includes some recommendations to ease the coverage processes after finding the right person. Communicating relief expectations can be tricky. The goal is to provide enough information to ensure documentation, and patient rounding remain congruent with regulations. However, do not overwhelm the other RD with too much information.

Start by creating a schedule

On this, indicate what time mandatory meetings and events occur. Also, provide a sample of how to stagger the workflow. Then, provide a copy of usual assessments, accompanied with an example of each section’s completion. Additionally, leave step-by-step instructions to run reports frequently used, and how to find information needed.

Also, do not forget instructions for navigating the computer system/charts, especially if he or she is unfamiliar!

Make references available

Next, provide references that are used often, perhaps caloric and protein needs for conditions regularly encountered.

Finally, inform the relief RD how to communicate recommendations to the interdisciplinary team. Everything but the work schedule falling over the vacation time, should have a master copy saved for future use.

Return the favor

Over time, many RD’s find that they utilize the same people for coverage, and the above process gets easier for both individuals involved. However, when another RD covers, the expectation is to return the favor. Covering for other RD’s can be complicated. Fortunately, with practice and familiarity, covering gets easier.

Providing relief is a great opportunity to “flex” RD muscles not regularly used, and a fantastic way to network, and learn new things. The vacationing RD should provide similar resources as stated above. Remember, when someone is cross-covering, they are often still covering his, or her usual service. Anything that can be provided to help them get in-and-out is helpful and appreciated.

All in all, when covering for others, and recruiting coverage for time off, planning time and consideration must be allotted to diminish frustration for both RD’s. Communication is key, and always remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Most of all, enjoy the time off!

Request coverage now:

Submitting a request for coverage from Dietitians On Demand, a nationwide staffing company, starts with this quick form.

Dietitians On Demand is a nationwide staffing company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. Check out our job openings, or request your coverage today!

About Joshua Kutschbach

Josh Kutschbach, MS, RD, LDN, has experience working as a Renal Dietitian, and Consultant Dietitian for Behavioral Health and a Relief Dietitians for Dietitians On Demand. Josh was recently featured on The Diabetes Council blog, giving advice to Type 2 diabetes patients. He's No. 50.

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