SALINAS — Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) has recognized Divina Cortez with the STAR Award for her work ethic and her extraordinary compassion and dedication to patients.

Cortez is a nurse aide who exemplifies the SVMHS STAR values — Support, Teamwork, Accountability and Respect. As a STAR Award recipient, the publicly elected Board of Directors recognized Cortez during the board’s monthly meeting.

“I’m honored to receive the STAR Award,” says Cortez. “When I enter a patient’s room I greet them with a smile instantly making them feel a little bit better. Every day I go home happy because I know I have made a difference in their lives. I couldn’t do my job without the unwavering support of my colleagues. We are a team. I truly enjoy working at Salinas Valley Memorial.”

 Cortez began working at SVMHS as a nurse aide in telemetry in 2006 and moved on to the Ortho Neuro Spine Unit in 2011. This is her third STAR nomination. The first two nominations were from patients and the third from a colleague.

Her co-worker expressed, “Her strong work ethic cannot be rivaled and the quality of her work never wavers. She embodies exceptional nursing care.”

“We congratulate Divina on her success as a nurse aide,” says Christie Gonder, RN, Chief Nursing Officer. “The way she cares for patients is inspiring. She truly makes an impact on the patient and employee experience. We are grateful she is part of our team.”

Several outstanding employees received STAR nominations, including Liezle Alejandro, Vanessa Calderon, Dolores “Lulu” Duenas, Annie Gonzales, Alma Lopez, Clarissa Madrigal, Liz Martinez, Debbie Mina, Pia Mina, Romeo Sainz, Christian Sanchez, Vermond Tigoy and Michelle Velasquez.

Every month, Salinas Valley Memorial recognizes an outstanding employee with a STAR Award (for all staff) and a DAISY Award (for nurses).

Nominations can be submitted by patients, visitors and staff. Nomination forms and drop boxes are located throughout the hospital. Go to to learn more about the awards.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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