Carmen Lacey was born May 30th, 1957 to Thomas Russell (deceased) and Nellie Rose Singleton. Ironically, she was born at the old Cannon Memorial Hospital in Banner Elk.
Lacey is currently the Director of Patient Care Services and President of Cannon Memorial Hospital. She began her career working at Crossnore Drug Store after school and on weekends while she was in high school. After graduating high school she began attending Mayland Community College with the intent of majoring in business. During an interview she states, “it never really fit for me.” She states she abandoned that career goal after a year, and continued to work at Corssnore Drug Store.
After having her first child (Mindi) she started working at Garrett Memorial Hospital in the pharmacy as a technician. She developed very close relationships with the nursing staff, and several of them displayed qualities she thought epitomized everything that a nurse should be. Lacey states these qualities were, “kind[ness], compassionate, intelligent, and always doing the right thing for their patients.” She goes further to state that three specific nurses, Lorene Cuthbertson, RN, Pam Jameson, RN, and Eula Johnson, RN provided her with the inspiration to go to nursing school.
Lacey graduated with her Associate Degree in Nursing from Western Piedmont Community College in 1987. One year after graduating nursing school she held a weekend supervisor position. Later in 1991, she felt she needed to further her education and completed her Bachelor Science in nursing through Winston Salem State University. In 1992, she became the Assistant Director of Nursing at Sloop Memorial Hospital, and retained this position until the hospital closed in 1999. In 1999, Sloop Memorial Hospital merged with Cannon Memorial Hospital into a new facility in Linville. Lacey then became the Director of the Medical Surgical, Obstetrical, and Restorative Care Unit. In 2004, Lacey obtained a certification in Nursing Administration from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In 2006, she continued to move up the ladder and assumed the position of Director in Nursing. In 2009, she once again furthered her education and obtained her Master’s Degree with an emphasis on nursing administration from Gardner-Webb University.
Lacey comments on her life by saying, “It is interesting the turns that our lives take. When I was a teen, I couldn’t watch my grandfather take his insulin injection, blood made me physically sick, and a career as a nurse never entered my mind. There have been so many who have touched my life as mentors, teachers, friends, and colleagues. I am grateful to have known each of them for they have made me the person that I am today.”
Addendum: Lacey retired from Appalachian Regional Healthcare in December 2021. (Staff editor. (2021, Dec 17). Avery County healthcare leader Lacey retiring after more than three decades of service. The Avery Journal Times. Article available online.)