Meet Future Renown Nurse Jeromy Hughes

By: Alana Ridge

June 17, 2024

Jeromy Hughes, Orvis School of Nursing student and future Renown nurse, smiles and poses at the University of Nevada, Reno.

When Jeromy Hughes became one of the 29 nursing students accepted into the first Gerald “Jerry” Smith Academic-Practice Partnership cohort, he almost couldn’t believe it. Life as both an Orvis School of Nursing student and a future nurse in our community was about to change. Not only was he about to receive full tuition support, but he also was set up for a guaranteed start to his career as a nurse at Renown Health.  

The Academic-Practice Partnership was named in honor of Jerry Smith of the Nell J. Redfield Foundation. Supported by a generous gift from the Redfield Foundation and Stephanie Kruse, Foundation Board Director, the goal of this partnership is to help foster a lasting nursing workforce in northern Nevada, with nurses like Jeromy leading the charge. 

From the Courtside to the Bedside

Jeromy grew up playing basketball in his hometown of Las Vegas and was on the team at Bishop Gorman High School. His talent resulted in a scholarship to play basketball for Wenatchee Valley College in Washington, which would put him on a trajectory to play professionally – even though nursing was always in the back of his mind. Jeromy received a unique opportunity to play for De La Salle University in the Philippines, and with much excitement, he set off across the world. 

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

When the world shut down, Jeromy had no choice but to stay in the Philippines, waiting to return to the Silver State. Three months later, he flew home to Las Vegas. 

In those moments, Jeromy’s entire mindset shifted. A career in nursing was no longer in the back of his mind; it came right to the forefront. With a plan to now stay in-state, he set off to attend the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). 

“My whole family is involved in the healthcare field, and I’ve always been surrounded by healthcare in some way,” said Jeromy. “My parents own an elder care facility, my dad is a respiratory therapist in Las Vegas and my grandparents own a hospice facility down in southern California. My grandma was also a nurse for more than 50 years, and throughout her career, she worked in labor and delivery, psychiatry and medical-surgical units. I’ve always wanted to help people like my family has, and nursing resonated with me the most out of every option.” 

Renown Health Foundation

Howie and family on bikes

Renown Health Foundation

We build financial support through fundraising efforts that provide critical revenue for innovation, top quality care services, technology, programs and equipment, to meet the growing needs of the communities we serve.

A Solidified Future

After learning about the Academic-Practice Partnership through his professors and advisors, Jeromy was inspired to apply for acceptance into the first cohort. He knew that the flagship year of this program would be fiercely competitive. 

With his passion for caring for others matched with his stellar academic performance, he was an ideal candidate for this tuition assistance opportunity.

To Jeromy, joining the Academic-Practice Partnership cohort means the world. The stress of paying for school is no longer a worry, and he can instead focus his energies on his studies in preparation of becoming a Renown nurse. 

The benefits of this program, especially for him, go beyond tuition assistance. The connections he has made as a member of the cohort are priceless. 

“The faculty at the Orvis School of Nursing and the team at Renown that I’ve met as a student and a participant of the Gerald 'Jerry' Smith Academic-Practice Partnership have been amazing,” said Jeromy. “Whenever I have any questions, they are always here to help me grow. The staff behind this program provide us recipients with a lot of guidance and support.” 

Jeromy is set to graduate from UNR this December and is looking forward to being a part of the community that makes Renown a special place to work. 

“I’ve had all my clinicals at Renown Regional Medical Center, and it’s clear to me how tight of a community it is,” said Jeromy. “All the units are amazing – the General Surgical Unit and Orthopedics Unit especially helped me gain the confidence I needed to try for a Nurse Apprentice position. I learned a lot from them, and I was never afraid to ask for help when I needed it. I am looking forward to being a part of such a close team.” 

While Jeromy enjoyed all his rotations, the cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) stood out to him. the. With the support of the Renown nurses on his side, he applied for and received an apprenticeship spot on that team. 

Throughout his time as a student and a nurse-in-training, he reflects on how his outlook on nursing now compared to a year ago changed for the better. 

“The biggest reason I got into nursing was to help people, but I didn’t realize how large of a role patient advocacy would play in my job,” said Jeromy. “This is what inspired me the most, because at the end of the day, we do it all for the patient.” 

Gratitude and Guidance

Jeromy expresses how thankful he is to his mentors and professors at the Orvis School of Nursing, who have cheered him on every step of the way, and his future coworkers and leaders at Renown, who have provided him with the resources and learning opportunities he was able to embrace. 

“It truly has been a blessing, and my family and I are extremely grateful,” said Jeromy.

To all aspiring nursing professionals out there, Jeromy has some key words of wisdom:

  • Keep on going, and go with the flow.
  • Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
  • There will be challenges and barriers. As long as you have confidence, you will get through them, and everything will work out in the end.

As he looks forward to his impactful career, he leaves us with a profound thought that every nurse can take to heart:

“Even though I’m just one person, I know I can make a huge difference.”

To support aspiring nurses like Jeromy, consider a donation to the Gerald "Jerry" Smith Academic-Practice Partnership. Learn more at

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