CLASS OF 2002 – NURSING
JESSICA D. CASTRODALE MSN, RN, PHCNS-BC
1. Do you have a fond memory or story of your time at Cabarrus College?
In my nursing assessment class, for final exams, we had to pair off with another student and do a complete physical assessment, head to toe. Dr. Small was watching our every move. I volunteered to be the patient, and my colleague began her assessment final exam. To assess for hearing impairment, she was supposed to ask me to block one ear while she whispered in my unblocked ear, “Can you hear me?” In her nervousness, she asked me to block my right ear and commenced to whisper into it! “Can you hear me?” she whispered. “No,” I replied. She repeated her question, and I began to giggle uncontrollably. Neither she nor Dr. Small cracked a smile. She couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stop laughing!
2. How did your education help get you to where you are today?
When I was contemplating my choice of field of study, I looked around my facility to see what wasn’t being “worked on” that was an area of interest to me. I had been doing community education, and I found that many of the take-home messages were the same. One-on-one education, or even education in small groups, would take forever. It was then that I realized that, if we were to have an impact worth measuring to fix chronic diseases, we would have to work at system levels to effect change. That is the power of community health.
3. How else do you serve Cabarrus College and why is it important?
I serve on the Governing Board of the college and chair the Institutional Advancement Committee, whose role is to engage alumni and potential donors and advance the priorities of the college. Those of us who attended CCHS know what a high quality of education we received. We are proud of how that has enabled us to achieve our professional goals. I believe we want opportunities to catch up with fellow classmates and support our future colleagues as they progress in their educational journeys. One of my favorite quotes is, “The world is run by those who show up.” It is important to “show up” and do the work that, in our own minds, makes a meaningful difference.
4. Where do you work and what do you do in your position?
After completing the RN to BSN program, I realized that advanced degrees are as much about perseverance as intellect, and I felt prepared to move forward with pursuing a master’s degree. I decided to complete my MSN, Community Health, Population Focus at a local university. (Now one has the option of completing many Master’s-level degrees at CCHS!) After completing that and the Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education, I passed the exam for PHCNS-BC, or Public Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Board Certified. Today I work as a Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, practicing primarily in Cabarrus County. I work with the Atrium Health system and community stakeholders on improving health in areas of focus identified by the system, our facility, and the county, for individuals in groups. Right now, those areas include Housing, Food Security, Employment, Mental Health, Early Childhood Education and Development, Substance Use, and Childhood Obesity.