Confessions of Robin Rush

Kingman Regional Medical Center's Robin Rush doesn't understand hospital room service.
Robin Rush, director of nutrition services at 234-bed Kingman Regional Medical Center in Arizona, questions molecular cuisine and the need for room service. Robin Rush, director of nutrition services at 234-bed Kingman Regional Medical Center in Arizona, questions molecular cuisine and the need for room service.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

The executive leadership staff is overwhelmingly wonderful.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

We have patient satisfaction scores in the top 1% in the country for Press Ganey, and that’s using an old-fashioned trayline.

Q. What is the most unusual foodservice/catering request you have ever received?

We had a terminally ill patient whose last wish was to marry his longtime fiancé. The hospital staff wanted to provide a “wedding” for the couple. Our bakery chef, Victoria, was able to produce a beautiful tiered wedding cake within a couple of hours.

Q. If you weren't in foodservice what would you be doing?

Probably something with computers, like designing software.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d like to cook with “magic.” Some people can add a pinch of this and that, and it comes out great.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

Something that would physically prevent me from being able to work.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

It’s a tie between Margaret Thatcher and Clarence Thomas as they are both remarkable people.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Dark chocolate.

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Molecular cuisine. Foam, in particular, does not look at all appetizing to me.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Camel.

Q. What do you consider to be the most overrated foodservice trend?

Room service in hospitals. It’s a lot of money and you can get good patient satisfaction without it. For us, it’s the personal attention that we pay to each patient that makes the difference.

Q. What are your words to live by?

When faced with a challenge look for a way, not a way out.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
delivery

We offer a food delivery service to students who are too sick to eat at the dining halls. Oftentimes when we’re sick, we want simple, bland food that’s easy to digest. We also include a bottle of water since staying hydrated is super important. Students who have used the sick meal program are very grateful that we offer this service because they don’t have to stress over how they’re going to eat when they’re too sick to come into the dining halls. The program is also important in preventing the spread of illness.

Ideas and Innovation
smoothie

Nurses often mention that at 2 p.m. they are dragging and just trying to get through their 12-hour shift. This winter I will be implementing a 2 p.m. pick-me-up, which will include a smoothie station where they can create their own smoothie to help get them through their shift. It will be filled with energy-boosting ingredients to personalize their own drink, such as bananas, almonds, spinach and even dark chocolate.

Ideas and Innovation
chili

Winter is when our guests frequently crave something comforting and hearty, and chili is great for that. Our plan is to boost guest engagement this winter by inviting them to design a unique chili experience. The guest chooses the type of chili first, then the vessel: bowl, bread or potato. Next, they customize their dish even further by choosing the toppings, which will be categorized as traditional, creamy, crunch or heat. The wild card, crunch and heat categories, are where my team and I will flex our creativity and highlight different flavors, ingredients or techniques.

Ideas and Innovation
new year party

In search of inspiration for this letter, I turned to the one I wrote for January 2017, in which I griped about some trends I wanted to toss in the new year. Twelve months later, the Sriracha trend has calmed down, food trucks seem slightly less pervasive and, while the definition of “clean” eating continues to evolve, it’s not so laser-focused on GMOs. So it seems my predictions were correct, including the one about where I’d be eating on New Year’s Day (though I had no clue my now-fiance would propose to me that night over duck noodle soup).

However, since this year has been...

FSD Resources