Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Mary J. Hitchcock

Committee Members

Grayce E. Goertz, Bernadine Meyer


The study of training and employment needs of food service personnel in 15 selected West Tennessee hospitals was accomplished by means of two questionnaires completed during personal interviews with hospital administrators and food service managers of hospitals in two groups by size. Specific weaknesses in the training of food service employees were noted. Hospital administrators reported inadequately trained employees as one of their major problems, and foodservice managers stated that lack of education and training was a major problem in the procurement of food service personnel. Other problems that administrators and feed service managers mentioned frequently regarding food service employees were shortage of personnel, turnover, and absenteeism.

The job categories having the greatest employee turnover were food sanitation workers and food service workers. The food sanitation position was considered by managers of large hospitals the most difficult to fill. Managers in the small hospital group did not report difficulty in filling positions, yet they did report major difficulty in securing qualified applicants.

Both hospital groups reported plans for adding employees to their departments in the next five years. Expansion of the hospital facility was stated by six managers as their reason for adding positions while the justification given by two managers was improved service.

Administrators of the 15 hospitals studied reported a total of 13 managerial positions which will be added in the future. When administrators were asked to identify the qualifications each looked for in a person he was hiring to be in charge of the food service department, experience was mentioned more frequently than any other single qualification.

Twelve of the 15 managers interviewed estimated that up to 10 per cent of their employees had received training before being hired. Of the 348 total employees in all hospitals visited, only 21 had been enrolled in training programs conducted during the past two years by outside agencies.

The skills and areas of knowledge considered most important for the managerial category were management principles; human nutrition and food science; and personnel administration. Although hospital conducted training programs for managers were reported in approximately half of the institutions studied, training was not considered to be a hospital responsibility. Training for this group was generally considered to be the responsibility of an outside agency.

Use and care of equipment, sanitary and safety standards, principles and standards of quantity food service and preparation, and effective use of non-supervisory personnel were cited by all managers as most important for supervisory personnel. Ten of the 15 hospitals established training in these same areas of skills and knowledge.

All of the managers interviewed assessed as most important for food preparation workers the area of principles of quantity food preparation and service and the ability to apply them. Managers designated training of food preparation workers as a hospital responsibility, and a majority of the managers reported hospital conducted training in 11of the 15 areas of skills and knowledge included in this category.

Food display and service was considered most important for food service workers by all of the managers interviewed. They assigned the training responsibility of food service personnel to the hospital; over half of the hospitals studied conducted training programs in all areas of skills and knowledge listed for these employees.

All managers interviewed indicated that use and care of equipment was most important for the food sanitation worker. A majority of managers considered sanitation and personal hygiene and safety as important, and 13 of the 15 hospitals visited conducted training in these areas.

Hospital administrators were asked to identify the qualifications each looked for in a person he was hiring to be in charge of the food service department. Administrators mentioned experience as a qualification more frequently than any other single qualification. Approximately equal numbers of administrators of small and large hospitals listed technical knowledge in dietetics and American Dietetic Association membership as a preferred qualification.

With one exception all food service managers had completed high school and six had completed college. Four managers who had not completed college indicated they had graduated from the American Dietetic Association sponsored Supervisor Training Program. Education levels in general were higher for managers of large hospitals. Thirteen managers indicated they had attended some type of continuing education program during the last two years. Workshops and hospital sponsored management development courses were the most frequently attended and workshops were considered most helpful of any of the programs listed.

Four managers from each hospital group listed no professional affiliation. Three managers of large hospitals were members of the American Dietetic Association and an equal number from the small hospital group were members of the Hospital, Institution, Educational Food Service Society.

One manager from each hospital group had less than one year of previous experience in food service and 10 had five or more years of previous experience. Nine of the 15 managers had held their present jobs for over five years.

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