Meet Miss Colorado 2015 (Kelley Johnson) - The Nurse Behind the Stethoscope

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    Over the past few weeks, the topic of the nursing profession has ranked among the top news stories. Why? Read about the person who sparked the conversation that keeps on growing.

    Meet Miss Colorado 2015 (Kelley Johnson) - The Nurse Behind the Stethoscope

    Miss Colorado 2015, Kelley Johnson has been in the news lately for her monologue in the Miss America Pageant, telling the American public what nursing means to her. I want to share with you more about Kelley from an interview I had with her last week.

    Meet Kelley - The nurse behind the stethoscope.

    The Choice to Pursue a Nursing Career

    Kelley has always had a heart for caring for people. Her father died from colon cancer when she was just 4 years old. She remembers the nurses…. they were so kind to her and her sister as they cared for her father. These nurses always knew Kelley and her sister by name and referred to her father by name too….and not a diagnosis. In high school, Kelley took a CNA course and enjoyed the geriatric population she worked for. This further solidified her decision to pursue nursing as a career when she got to college.

    Kelley’s older sister is a nurse, and Kelley saw how much she liked nursing. She didn’t have any trouble getting in nursing school after being accepted into the university on a volleyball scholarship.

    This has been a very busy year for Kelley. She graduated in April as Valedictorian of her nursing class, and passed the NCLEX just a few weeks later in May. Kelley says that allnurses helped her pass NCLEX. She downloaded NCLEX content from allnurses that was very helpful, not only for her but also many of her friends that she sent it to. It was one of the main things she studied before NCLEX.

    Kelley was offered job at the same hospital where she did her 6 month preceptorship on a general ICU unit as a senior nursing student. She is now working on a cardio-thoracic surgical ICU unit and hopes to one day become a Nurse Anesthetist. She won the Miss Colorado crown in June, and second runner up to Miss America in September. It has been a whirlwind for Kelley with events that she never thought would happen.

    Challenges Transitioning from Student to Nurse

    When asked about challenges in transitioning from student to nurse, she said the time management aspect has been the biggest challenge, especially with working in ICU. The number of patients, learning who to call, when to call the doctor, when not to call the doctor, getting everything you need to get done and doing it the right way…..it’s a huge learning curve.

    “I’ve just noted there’s a lot more that goes into nursing than the skills we learned in school….It’s just so much more in depth than that….so much more involved, and more critical thinking is involved that I could’ve ever imagined. But that’s my favorite part, because we need those nurses that are smart and know what they are doing and can time manage and can critically think, and can anticipate what might happen. That ability to anticipate is what separates a good nurse from a great nurse.”

    The Miss America Pageant

    When asked what motivated her to enter the Miss Colorado Pageant, she states that the scholarship money was very attractive.

    “Every pageant you enter you usually end up with a couple of hundred dollars to help pay for books and other things, even if you don’t win. That’s how it all started. I ended up winning the Miss Colorado pageant and that’s how I got to the Miss America Pageant. Things have gone crazy….. and it is such a blessing.”

    The Monologue

    “When I chose to do the monologue it was very unique. To have it to be as well-received as it was…. and to have as many people who want to hear it…. and then spread the same message I was trying to spread. It’s just unbelievable and so amazing because it was unique and it was a risk. I can’t do the “stage talents” as well as the other contestants did. But I didn’t want to be counted out as a contestant for the Miss America job simply because I couldn’t do those. And I knew that my talent was nursing. So when I changed my talent to the monologue and I finally won, I think it was because people saw who I really was and how the story of nurses needs to be spread…..it’s a message that people need to hear.”



    "I know I could’ve been a great Miss America, and I would be spreading this same exact message. But I think God is working in funny ways. Because not only has my message been spread so far, even though I’m not Miss America, but also...I wasn’t counted out for the job of Miss America. I was able to compete with a unique talent that people weren’t expecting and I was able to do well. I was able to compete and even thrived in the competition. And I was able to reach this many people with the message for nursing….not for me, but for nursing.”

    The Outrage

    The outrage by the nursing community caused by negative comments on “The View” has ended up doing a lot for nursing. Kelley shared her perspective of the reaction to "The View".

    “If I never talk about this again after today, the one thing I want people to do is to thank their nurses for how smart they are, how important they are, how necessary they are… but also how important the other parts of the healthcare team are. I’m excited for this new spark of enthusiasm that has ignited within the healthcare profession. People are unifying and coming together. Even nurses themselves are valuing each other more. This conversation has started not only for the public, but also for the patients….valuing their nurses and not taking them for granted…. Nurses have also become unified and are coming together. They have a new sense of self respect.”

    As you can see, what began as a creative and unique offering for the talent portion of the Miss America Pageant, has sparked a discussion about the unsung heroes of the healthcare profession…..the nurses. Negative comments have been converted into a spiraling response of support from nurses and the public.

    Thank you Kelley for being willing to take a risk and being such a strong advocate for the nursing profession! And thank you for letting us meet the nurse behind the stethoscope…….your nurse’s stethoscope!

    Let's not let the flame die that sparked the much needed discussion of the importance of our profession. What can you do to keep the flame burning? Remember....you are more than "Just a Nurse".
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Sep 28, '15
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    25 Comments

  3. by   herring_RN
    Thank you for writing this!
  4. by   la_chica_suerte85
    What a fantastic example! I totally want to be her when I grow up!!!

    I think the best take away is her mentioning how nurses are valuing each other even more and that people are unifying in order to address the profession-undermining ignorance of what happened on The View. Many kudos!
  5. by   traumaRUs
    We must also value ourselves as professionals
  6. by   donsterRN
    What a nice interview with an inspiring young woman. Thanks!
  7. by   VicChic20
    I think this is a great way to revitalize the nurses as a whole and as a team of professionals going out there and giving the best care and attention that patients deserve. I respect anyone who brings up the importance of nurses and their impact on others.
  8. by   Pixie.RN
    Witnessing the unification and the uprising was awesome! Imagine our power and influence if we could really come together as a profession. I am proud of nursing as a whole.
  9. by   joalegads
    What a great way to edify the nursing profession! Not just a pretty face but a heart with compassion to sick people that you care for.
    You are a gem Ms. Kelly Johnson! Bravo to all the nurses out there who share this passion for caring!
  10. by   TheNGTKingRN
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pet...patient-ratios

    Now that nurses are listening and united. Let's unite for our own wellbeing and safety of our patients.

    Sign the petition.
  11. by   Brenda S
    I have been a nurse for 40 years this month! I have never been so proud as I am now to see this profession stand together,
    full force, on this situation. I feel that we have now shown the strength and integrity nurses have and you best not ruffle our feathers again!! Very very proud of nurses and coming forth in LARGE quantities to show just how professional, dedicated and strong we really are!!! Wow!
  12. by   RNBillieBSN
    I have been a nurse for 42 years and I have ALWAYS been proud of my profession. I simply cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting and caring for some of the nicest, kindest and sweetest
    people in all arena's I have worked.
  13. by   Sue Salisbury
    Beautifully said, Kelly Johnson. You have made a very moving tribute to what nurses can do in the lives of others. I completely agree that nursing is a talent, and your monologue showed nursing at its best. Best wishes in your career. Sue Salisbury, Hawaii
  14. by   Brenda S
    I have ALWAYS been proud of
    my nursing profession too! Otherwise I would not have dedicated my lifetime to it or even been so excited about the overwhelming responses to this subject. I merely stated that coming together, supporting and letting all others know who we are, what we do and what won't be tolerated was something I had never seen and made me extremely proud

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