Master of Science in Nursing
Class of 2020
Allen Zelno ’20, MSN, CRNP, FNP-C, a member of Cedar Crest’s inaugural cohort of nurse practitioners, was nominated by the Catholic Medical Association to witness the signing of a proclamation from the Oval Office in honor of National Nurses Day, May 6, 2020.
From summer 2019 to fall 2020, Allen was a parish nurse, also known as a faith community nurse, at St. Luke’s Sacred Heart, serving as a resource nurse to the homeless and impoverished in the urban center of Allentown. His work was done at various faith-based community outreach and health organizations. As part of his work, he secured 19,000 pounds of snack foods for health care workers within the network, a donation from Operation Gratitude. This story led to his nomination for the White House visit.
“I’m just very grateful that all the sacrifices of nurses were recognized by a Presidential Proclamation,” says Allen. “Also, it was very humbling to hear the stories of the other nurses and how they are making heroic sacrifices in their work on the frontlines.”
Allen now works as a family nurse practitioner at Star Community Health, a Federally Qualified Health Clinic in Downtown Allentown affiliated with St. Luke’s University Health Network. The organization primarily serves under-resourced populations with the goal of closing the care gaps that have prevented people from accessing health care.
“It is a challenging but deeply rewarding work environment that really stretches my knowledge and skills,” says Allen. “Cedar Crest prepared me to be able to launch into the world of primary care as a nurse practitioner by providing a solid and comprehensive base on which to grow. Cedar Crest’s emphasis on community engagement blended well with my professional emphasis on community health and outreach to the underserved urban population.”
Allen has set his sights to make an impact beyond Allentown through work with national organizations such as the Catholic Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the National Association of Catholic Nurses.