Since she was a student shadowing nurses on the cardiac unit in 2001, Stephanie Velez, RN, has been an important part of Our Lady of Lourdes family.
Currently a bedside nurse for orthopedics and neurology, Velez also occasionally steps in as a charge nurse. During her 21 years, she has helped wherever needed including working as a certified nursing assistant, with transporting, and more. Before joining the ortho/neuro team she was the evening charge nurse on the cardiac unit for 10 years.
Honoring Her Hispanic Heritage
Velez, who was married in Italy recently and will soon be known as Stephanie Bernard, boasts a rich family heritage. Her mom was born in La Ceiba, Honduras. Her father was born in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, and her stepdad was born in Havana, Cuba. Velez is a native of New Orleans.
“There was never a dull moment growing up with a mixture of cultures,” she says. “We celebrated important life events like cumpleaños (birthdays) and bautizos (baptisms), which usually incorporated Catholic religious services, spending time with family, dancing, playing dominoes (double nine and double six) and grand meals.”
The family encourages their children to speak Spanish as a way to stay connected to their culture and its traditions. Semana Santa (Holy Week) is also an important Catholic festival the family celebrates.
Velez says her favorite family tradition is dancing, including salsa, merengue, bachata, and punta, which is an Afro-Indigenous dance originating in Honduras.
Keeping Connections Through Food
Food is a way to connect, both to our own culture and to experience others’ cultures. Velez’s family cooks recipes from Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Her favorite is ropa vieja, which is stewed shredded beef usually accompanied by white rice, black beans and sweet plantains. Her stepdad made this popular Cuban dish often for Velez when she was a child.
Inspired to Serve
“Advocating for healthy lives and the prevention of disease is what inspired me to pursue a career in healthcare,” Velez says. “Nursing involves so many different aspects like offering an ear to listen, teaching, safe and effective care, offering and participating in spiritual growth and healing, and being compassionate and empathetic. It is all that and so much more.”
Our DEI Commitment
Our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion supports culturally competent care education for our team members all year long, including during Hispanic Heritage Month each September 15 to October 15.