Janie Harvey Garner, RN - Founder of Show Me Your Stethoscope
Little did Janie Harvey Garner know at the time, that the Miss America Pageant in 2015 would change her life forever. What started as an ER nurse's attempt to show support for Kelly Johnson and the nursing profession by creating a facebook page has grown into a huge nonprofit platform that serves to unite and empower nurses by helping them find their voice.
Who Knew Wearing a "Doctor's Stethoscope" Could be the Start of Something BIG?
Little did Janie Harvey Garner know at the time that the Miss America Pageant in 2015 would change her life forever. A nurse by profession, Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson got on stage during the Miss America Pageant that year and gave an engaging and touching monologue about a particular nursing experience. She wore and a stethoscope during that monologue. By the next morning, Kelly Johnson was in all the news getting lambasted over her monologue while wearing a "doctors stethoscope"...as if there is such a thing as a doctors stethoscope. Janie Harvey Garner, an emergency room nurse at the time, had had enough.
Before we get into what Janie did with the frustration over the lack of understanding of what nurses do, let's discuss her personal story. Janie received her Associates Degree of Applied Science in Nursing from St. Louis Community College. She is a former United States Navy Hospital Corpsman. Janie has practiced nursing in the Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Room, Cardiac Catheterization lab, SANE, and Cardiac Electrophysiology lab (where she continues to work today).
While working in the Emergency Room in 2011, her life took a tragic turn when Janie and her husband Paul lost their oldest son in an unfortunate accident. She was so grief stricken that she felt she had to leave bedside nursing (in particular Emergency Room nursing) and move to a desk job. At one point during her grieving process, Janie found herself sitting in her car with a syringe full of insulin, ready to end her life. She remembers thinking that her son would not have wanted this for her. He would not have wanted her working behind a desk, he would want her to continue helping others as a nurse. So she put the syringe down and joined the nursing profession bedside yet again.
SMYS - The Beginning
Fast forward to Janie working again in the ER, catching an episode of "The View" where Miss Colorado was being raked over the coals so to speak for her monologue about a special time in her career as a nurse. Janie decided after seeing the media's negative response to Miss. Colorado's "talent" of nursing, that she would create a facebook page showing support for Kelly Johnson and the nursing profession as a whole. Being from Missouri, the "Show me" state, she named her page "Show Me Your Stethoscope". She invited her colleagues to post pictures of themselves showing off their stethoscopes. Janie thought she would have maybe 50 or so of her ER colleagues joining in but by bedtime over 50,000 appeared with over 100,000 by the next morning and an additional 20,000 more during her morning commute. Just a week after forming Show Me Your Stethoscope, Janie had over 800,000 followers and the site has been successful ever since.
We've Come a Long Way
Janie Harvey Garner is now the Executive Director of Show Me Your Stethoscope (SMYS), the nonprofit online facebook "platform of solidarity for nurses", as the website states. Janie has stated that she believes "the biggest problem we have as nurses is a lack of unity in health care; division equals strife and unrest" The website is all encompassing of nurses, from students to the most seasoned veterans, all degree types, genders, areas of practice etc. are welcome. The Show Me Your Stethoscope Foundation, a 501 (C) 3, was formed to "globally empower nurses and healthcare workers to educate the public of their rolls." SMYS now, among many services, supports medical missions in a number of countries though service and donations (including donated stethoscopes).
Giving Nurses a Voice
As nurses we need to take note of the impact that one voice can make. In 2015, Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson's monologue inspired Janie Harvey Garner to find her voice in creating one of the largest nurse-run online communities. The number of nurses reached and empowered to find their voice though Show Me Your Stethoscope is further proof of the power of each voice. Janie's vision has grown into the desire to educate, support, and give back to the world. Whose voice will Janie's inspire.......?
Some of the allnurses team met and talked with Janie when we traveled to Washington DC to participate in the Nurses Take DC Rally in April. It was a very busy time in DC, however, Nurse Beth was able to grab Janie for a short interview that was conducted just outside the networking exhibit hall as part of the rally.
Last edit by AN Admin Team on Jul 18
Jul 23Occupation: allnurses Asst Community Manager, APRN Specialty: 25 year(s) of experience in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU ; From: US ; Joined: Apr '00; Posts: 53,465; Likes: 26,395Nurses NEED a voice. We are the backbone of healthcare - lets hear it....Aug 20From: OK, US ; Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 36; Likes: 18I had no idea that anything like this existed. Thanks for sharing this article!!