High school student begins health care career at Allina Health

[Allina Health Newsroom, January 16, 2024] “I’m a call operator, and I usually work morning shifts on weekends. I take calls from patients requesting their breakfast, lunch or dinner,” said Jolie Davis, a nutrition call center operator at Allina Health.


On weekdays, Jolie Davis is a school senior with a weighted 4.22 grade point average. On weekends, she helps Allina Health hospital patients follow the nutrition requirements ordered by their care teams. She takes as many as 200 calls a day.

“Some patients already know what their diet is,” said Davis. “There will be some patients who need my help. I make sure they don’t exceed their levels on things like sodium or saturated fat.”

About the career
When a patient is admitted to the hospital, they get a packet with a menu and a number to call between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. to order their meals. Operators, like Davis, help patients make the best choice based on their needs and their care team’s requirements.

For example, if a diabetic patient is restricted to four carbs per meal but wants a pizza, Jolie reminds them that one pizza would mean meeting their carbs per meal allowance. She would recommend they order half a pizza to have room for other items. Davis is part of a team that includes diet techs, who help with more complicated nutrition questions or orders.

As a casual employee (an employee guaranteed work when it is available), Davis says this job is perfect because it gives her an early entrance into the health care industry. “I really enjoy this job,” said Davis. I work from home, so I don’t have to drive, which is great during winter. My schedule is flexible. I can pick and choose my shifts. I choose to work weekends because I’m home, and I’m not stressed out about making it to work,” continued Davis.

Opportunities for teens in health care
Like many high school students, Davis is an athlete and involved in numerous clubs at school, including the National Honor Society. She is fascinated by the brain and intends to become a pediatric neurologist. Allina Health is working to recruit more young people like Davis through volunteer opportunities and scrub clubs. Many young students don’t realize there are health care jobs they are qualified for, even in high school. Davis often tells inquiring friends there are opportunities for them at Allina Health. Davis’ manager, Joanna Treft, got her start in health care as a dietary aide delivering meal trays to patients while she was a high school student. “I think people forget we make food. We need people for many different jobs,” added Treft.

Treft now proudly manages a department that provides the flexibility to allow employees to continue their education. “We have some students going to school for nursing. Some are going for nutrition and other fields in health care.”

As for Davis, because of the flexibility of this job, she plans to continue working and helping patients when she begins her first year at Macalester College, where she earned a scholarship.

“I just like helping people overall. That’s why I feel like being in the health care field is a good place for me,” said Davis. “Every day, you’re helping somebody.”


Posted on January 16, 2024 in Nutrition

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