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High Standards Set at MCCC Guide Alum Emilia Alvarez-Negron's
Nursing Career


For Mercer alum Emilia Alvarez-Negron ’10 (A.S., Nursing), becoming a nurse was a lifelong dream.  “Nursing is my passion and my calling,” she said.

Originally from the Bronx, Alvarez-Negron spent her high school years in Puerto Rico with her father, where she attended University Gardens High School in San Juan.  She later moved to New York City, and then Hamilton, N.J. in 2003.  Today, she resides just outside Baltimore, MD, and works in her dream job as an emergency room nurse for St. Agnes Hospital.

Alvarez-Negron chose Mercer because of the close proximity to her home in Hamilton, and the availability of classes online, as well as evenings and weekends.  “It worked out great for me because I was working full-time at Bristol Myers Squibb and attending Mercer part-time.  The options for study at Mercer allow even the busiest person to pursue their degree,” she said, noting that the reasonable tuition costs also made Mercer a great choice for her.

Alvarez-Negron found the guidance she needed from several MCCC instructors, including Karen Ruffin, who held her clinical rotations at Deborah Heart and Lung Hospital.  “Her expectations and standards for students were very high.  She pushed me to raise the bar when it came to learning and applying that knowledge to my patients,” Alvarez-Negron said.

The proud nursing grad also recalls Linda Martin, now Dean of Science and Health Professions, as a key mentor.  “She provided the support I needed to navigate obstacles and clarify the path that lay ahead. She was a sounding board when I needed a sympathetic ear,” said Alvarez-Negron.

Mercer Alum Emilia Alvarez-Negron '10 currently works as an emergency room nurse at St. Agnes Hosptial in Baltimore, MD.

She also recognizes faculty members Donna Penn, Sue Minkel and Toni Racioppo as highly influential. “The staff at Mercer is extremely supportive of student success,” she said.

According to Alvarez-Negron, while she was always drawn to the nursing field, her career plans were sidetracked when she married young and had her three children. Priscilla, now 24, is a licensed cosmetologist and medical assistant with two children of her own; Kayla is 19 and starting community college this fall in Maryland; and Brandon is 15 and has set his sights on a football scholarship to college and a career in the military. 

After graduating high school, Alvarez-Negron worked as an executive assistant, first in New York City’s financial district, and later for McGraw-Hill.  It wasn’t until she was 35 years old and her eldest child was about to graduate high school that she decided to study nursing.  “I realized how quickly my children were growing up and how soon they would be out of the house.  I didn’t want to wait any longer to pursue the career I had always wanted,” she said. 

Alvarez-Negron earned her nursing degree from Mercer in 2010, and was valedictorian and class speaker at her Nursing program graduation ceremony.  Soon after, her husband’s job was relocated to Baltimore, and she was able to obtain employment there at St. Agnes Hospital.  Initially she worked in a cardiac step down unit, monitoring patients with heart conditions, but less than two years later she was promoted to the emergency unit.

“While in nursing school I couldn't make up my mind what kind of nursing I wanted to practice because I loved all of my clinicals,” Alvarez-Negron said.  “Now, I have the best of all worlds working in the emergency department. I absolutely love the challenge of having several different medical cases at any one time.”

Alvarez-Negron works in the world’s first dedicated chest pain emergency room, as well as handling urgent care, pediatric and general cases.  The emergency situations she assists with range from cardiac arrest and stroke patients, to women going into labor.  “I never know who is being rolled in the door in a life and death situation and what is going to happen next,” said Alvarez-Negron, clearly relishing the intensity of her job. 

“Nursing is truly the most rewarding profession for someone who seeks self-fulfillment, the joy of giving to others, and the constant pursuit of knowledge,” she said, noting that nurses’ jobs can be thankless some days, so it is often one’s own passion that gets him or her through the difficult times.

Alvarez-Negron is currently enrolled in a master’s program at Walden University, an accredited online university.  “I’m on track as planned to not only teach nursing, but also pursue advanced practice as a nurse practitioner,” she said.

She is looking forward to sharing her passion and knowledge with others.  “The work that I do immediately changes people's lives for the better. Academic accomplishments are just a reflection and additional manifestation of that passion. There are very few things in life that are better than that feeling of self-fulfillment.”

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