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Phone Operator’s Personal Touch Results in STAR Award

Phone Operator’s Personal Touch Results in STAR Award

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

November 13, 2023 – Anyone who has ever had a memorable experience with a phone operator knows how the voice on the other line represents the very organization itself. A knowledgeable and compassionate phone operator at Salinas Valley Health made a big impact on the wife of a patient, resulting in a STAR Award.

Jennissa Lopez has been part of the telecommunication team at Salinas Valley Health since March 2021 and as an operator, answers and directs calls coming into the Medical Center. One of those recent conversations and Jennissa’s approach to the caller’s concerns resulted in her being selected a STAR Award recipient. STAR is an acronym for the core values at Salinas Valley Health representing Support, Teamwork, Accountability and Respect.

“This is not a one off compliment,” says Telecomm Supervisor Elisa Macias. “Jennissa is a positive person who likes everyone to feel special and is always helpful and caring. She exudes a can do attitude every day, with every interaction. We look forward to her being a part of our organization for a long time to come.”

In the nomination process, the Chief Information Officer at Salinas Valley Health, Audrey Parks relayed a conversation she had with a patient’s wife who was concerned about her husband and shared her deep gratitude for Jennissa. Jennissa had noticed how many times the patient’s wife had called and showed skill and empathy in managing the tearful conversation. Jennissa followed the chain of command and put the caller in touch with the emergency room’s patient experience team. The operator then later followed up with the patient’s wife to make sure she was feeling better. The caller said the comforting connection made all the difference.

“Jennissa makes the effort to do the right thing when it matters most,” says Parks. “While I’m not surprised that Jennissa went above and beyond, she’s consistently amazing and we are glad she is part of the Salinas Valley Health team.”

At a surprise ceremony celebrating her STAR Award, Jennissa said, “Growing up, this is always a place I have wanted to work. I love this organization and helping people feel special. I appreciate that someone I touched took the time to call and share how I made them feel.”

Jennissa is currently going to school studying ultra sound and looks forward to completing her education and continuing to serve the community at Salinas Valley Health.

Five other people were nominated for the STAR Award: Isabel Paredes, Senior Buyer, Purchasing; Ana Torres Garcia, Environmental Services Aide; Eric Mejia, Cook II, Nutritional Services; Estela Garcia, Unit Assistant I, Med Surge and Garrett Sabado, Nurse Aide, ONS. Every month, Salinas Valley Health recognizes two extraordinary employees, one with a DAISY Award (for nurses) and another with a STAR Award (for all staff). Nominations can be submitted by patients, visitors and staff. Nomination forms and drop boxes are located throughout the hospital and online. To learn more about the awards visit

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