Our graduates are making an impact in our community. Here we
spotlight a few to acknowledge their accomplishments.

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Renay Jones | MSN, RN, CNML

About Renay…
Renay Jones’ first job after earning her nursing degree was in the Progressive Coronary Care Unit (PCCU) at Atrium Health Cabarrus. Her 25 years in that unit show that you don’t have to go far to build a successful nursing career. Sometimes you can do it right across the street.

How did Cabarrus College prepare you for your current role?
While working in the PCCU, Renay earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and climbed the career ladder to become an Administrative Clinical Supervisor. She enjoys cardiology and the educational aspects of her job – her master’s degree is in nursing education – so she never left. “Truly, I’ve spent the majority of my life here on this unit,” she said. “This is my family here.” 

What are a couple of things you loved most about Cabarrus College?
The family Jones found in the PCCU is not unlike what she experienced as a student at Cabarrus College. “I felt like everybody knew who I was, and all the instructors were invested in me,” she said. “They were invested in each of us. So, it really had a family feel to it.” Now, as she educates staff in her position at Atrium Health Cabarrus, Renay continues that legacy. “I enjoy educating. That’s really where my passion is. And I feel like I’m helping to grow the next generation of nurses because that’s what we have to do.


About Lauren…
I am from Charlotte, North Carolina–born and raised! I graduated in May 2021 from Cabarrus College of Health Sciences with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. I currently work at Atrium Health Cabarrus on the Post-Surgical floor as a Nurse.

How did Cabarrus College prepare you for your current role?
Cabarrus College prepared me to be a Nurse in a multitude of ways. The College provides excellent curriculum, hands on clinical experiences, and numerous skills lab opportunities to teach students what it truly means to be and practice as a nurse. The faculty and staff go above and beyond to pour into their students and help them be as successful as they can.

What would you tell current students about the importance of giving back to Cabarrus College?
I think current students should be educated on the importance of giving back to their community, and especially Cabarrus College. During my time at Cabarrus College, I found a new love for nursing, healthcare, and making myself available to future student nurses. I would encourage current students to volunteer in any way that you can. It is very important to build the healthcare community and I believe Cabarrus College has multiple opportunities that allow students to give back.

What are a couple of things you loved most about Cabarrus College?
I loved so many aspects of Cabarrus College. I loved the staff and how close knit they were to us. I felt like I knew my professors on a personal level, and that I could go to them with any and every issue I had. I also loved the clinical experience they gave us. Students were given the chance to experience a variety of floors and specialties. Lastly, I loved the Transition to Practice Program, also known as the Practicum experience. This was the opportunity that made me the most confident in my abilities as a Nurse. I believe all students should be given the opportunity to experience practicum during their time in nursing school.


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.