CUMBERLAND – Cheryl Nelson received the 2021 Community Engagement Award from Allegany College of Maryland for her work in organizing rotations for paramedic students at local COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites hosted by the Department of Health from Allegany County and UPMC Western Maryland during the spring semester.
Students and faculty have donated thousands of volunteer hours to community efforts to fight the transmission of COVID. In addition to scheduling the students, Nelson coordinated the faculty to monitor them during clinical hours, frequently working herself and providing hands-on instruction, according to one of her proponents, Brenda Owens, professor of nursing and instructor of the well-being clinic run by the nurse. “Her dedication to students, the college and the community shines through every day in all the work she does,” said Owens.
“The students commented on how nice it was to be part of a process that made the community a safer place and were surprised how much they enjoyed this type of community work. They have worked at the Allegany County Health Department Community Hall, UPMC Western Maryland, Barton Business Park Shell Building and also local senior housing. This met a great need in the health department as they had many vacancies for nurses to administer vaccines, ”said Owens.
Building on these experiences, Nelson and Owens presented the topic of “Alternative Clinical Education Opportunities for Undergraduate Nursing Students During COVID-19” at the Maryland Action Coalition’s Meeting Challenges Head On virtual conference: Maryland Nurses Respond in May.
David Jones, ACM’s vice president of advancement and community relations and director of the ACM Foundation, also nominated Nelson for the award. “Cheryl, through her community engagement efforts, ensured that students received hands-on service to further serve and heal our community,” Jones said.
Nelson has also been credited with serving as the COVID command team contact for allied health students facing possible COVID-19 exposure and / or a positive test.
A graduate of the ACM, Nelson received a Doctorate of Nursing from Johns Hopkins University, a Post-Masters Certificate in Women’s Health from the University of West Virginia, and a Bachelor and Masters of Nursing from the University of West Virginia. Shenandoah University. A nurse practitioner in family and women’s health, Nelson heads the college’s Nurse Managed Wellness Clinic and has been a nursing faculty member since 2008.