Cedar Crest Nursing Student Receives LVHN Award for Student Nurse Excellence
Ellen Velazquez ‘14
Each year, Lehigh Valley Health Network presents an award for an exceptional student nurse. The recipients must be involved in professional organizations, community health care outreach, have exemplary professional practice, leadership and more. The 2014 John M. Eisenberg, MD Friends of Nursing Award for Excellence as a Student Nurse recipient is Cedar Crest nursing student Ellen Velazquez ‘14. This marks the fifth consecutive year a Cedar Crest College student has been selected for this award—a true testament to the strength of the nursing program.
“I cannot believe that I was chosen with all of the nursing programs in the area,” said Velazquez. “I cannot take all of the credit, though. I have had a lot of support. I have dedicated myself to the profession of nursing and all I want is the best for my future patients. If I happen to get an award for it, that is just an added bonus.”
Velazquez said that she’s known that she wanted to become a nurse since she was twelve years old. Her interest in the health care industry comes from her mother who works as an occupational therapist. However, Velazquez believes that nursing is just her true calling.
“I can feel my heart beat, I can feel my lungs breathe; but it becomes something so much more when you learn what is under the skin. Plus, I have always cared deeply for people. What an amazing blessing to be able to be with people in their worst moments and give them hope.”
Last year, Velazquez won the Haff Award, given by Cedar Crest’s nursing department to the junior nursing student with the highest GPA. She is a member of the Delphi Honor Society and will soon be inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society. Most recently, she and three of her classmates presented their Nursing Research II evidence-based practice project at the Eastern Nursing Research Society national conference. She was also a Cedar Crest team member at the Student Nurse Challenge, an academic bowl competition for nursing students.
Velazquez has a long history of academic achievement. She graduated seventh in her class from Louis E. Dieruff High School and earned multiple academic scholarships. During her senior year of high school, she competed in the Health Occupation Students of America competition with classmates; winning first place in Pennsylvania for creative problem solving and then moving on to compete at the national level.
Velazquez said that after graduation she hopes to find a job in an intensive care unit and to eventually become a critical care registered nurse.