UPHS — Marquette Heroes | Melina Walenga

Melina Walenga is a Telephone Operator in the Contact Center at UP Health System – Marquette.

What is your role at UP Health System – Marquette?
I am a Telephone Operator in the Contact Center at UP Health System – Marquette.

What was your inspiration for getting into healthcare?
I had worked in Telephone Support for several years, but I was tired of working from home (gasp!) So, when the new hospital was built, a position opened in the Contact Center and here I am. I enjoy helping people, and if that means being a calm voice on the other end of the line, then it’s an honor to be just that.

What’s a typical day like for you? What is it like working in this field?
Working in a hospital’s Contact Center has its everyday challenges. It is my understanding that we filter calls for over 140 providers and offices; we are often the first point of contact after-hours for patients trying to reach OnCall Providers; we are the folks on the other side of the Code Line and the voices over the intercom. We are here to support not only the hospital staff but the patients and their families too.  

How long have you been employed here? Have you always been in the same position?
I have been at UPHS — Marquette since July 2019.

What are some of the big changes you have experienced in this position?
Most of the changes I have experienced have come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In “before times,” no one gave a second thought about having someone go along with them for appointments, receiving visitors as an inpatient, or anything else we previously took for granted. It is essential for my team and I to stay current with all policy changes in order to effectively help our patients and families.

What are some of your interests outside of work? What is your favorite local gem?
I am the mom of two senior dogs (Ezekiel and Hurley) and two kitties (Storm and Mabel). I like to spend my free time exploring the woods, chasing the aurora, canoeing down the Au Train, and photographing everything. When I’m not working, the dogs and I can be found at my family’s Art Studio on Presque Isle making Raku Pottery. Being creative and making beautiful things have always brought me the most joy, especially when the end result brings others happiness too. This year we will be teaming with several local charities to help them raise funds for their causes. In the fall, I am planning to go to NMU and complete my BA in Fine Art.

What do you enjoy most about working at UPHS – Marquette?
What I like most about working here is our team in the Contact Center. We are a small tight-knit group of 8 people that staff this office 24/7, 365 days a year. Being such a small group, it is important that we communicate with each other and support each other when we can.

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