At NurseGrid, we believe in the power of community. To us, community means sharing experiences, offering support, and making connections. We created these monthly Spotlights for that reason – to showcase you, share your stories, and ensure your voice is heard.
Meet Kelley Johnson, RN, BSN, DNP-Student (FNP)
Tell us about yourself!
I’m Kelley! I am a 6’2 blonde volleyball player, nurse, doctoral student, dog-mom, writer, pubic speaker, nurse advocate, valedictorian, and I have been both Miss Colorado and Miss California USA. I am a huge family girl, and I love celebrating the holidays. I live in Los Angeles, so I always want to play in the sun and be by the ocean. I love to be outdoors, cook, try new things, and I am always searching for the next best thing in life!
What inspired you to become a nurse?
When I was four years old my Dad died from colon cancer. Honestly, it was such a horrific an experience, and yet there was one magical, life-changing moment, and in that moment I knew what I was supposed to do with my life. When my Dad was in the hospital before he passed away, he was referred to as “Colon Cancer in room 453” by someone in the hall. Just like that he was narrowed to room number and a diagnosis, not Alan Johnson who was dying and had three little girls at home, a wife, was a brother, a son, a friend. Just a room number and a diagnosis. But! We had a nurse who knew everything about my sisters and myself. She knew where we went to school, shed call my mom after hours, and she took extraordinary care of my Dad. That’s when I knew. I needed to be what she was for me for another family.
What do you love most about NurseGrid technology / NurseGrid app?
What is there not to love?! NurseGrid revolutionized the way that nurses communicate, schedule, and save time. I think I love the way that NurseGrid solves significant problems for nurses the most, but the entire company’s mission to help and focus on bettering the profession for nurses is inspiring.
Do you have any advice for new grads?
The saying “nurses eat their young” has been around for a long time, but I don’t believe in this narrative nor does it have to be true. If new graduates continue to work really hard, ask questions, continue learning, respect their veteran nurses and call on them for help, and be team players we can all be successful. The way I see it: we have all been new at one point or another, and it is vital that veteran nurses accept and teach the new graduates and that new graduates are open to continued learning and hard work. We are all in this together, and it behooves the entire profession to work together and “raise” nurses that will be safe, competent, and enjoy working in the best profession in the world.
What do you wish more people knew about being a nurse?
We have a lot of work to do when it comes to the image of nurse in the public eye. It is important for nurse safety that we continue to have conversations about respecting nurses, about how highly educated nurses are, about the autonomy nurses have in healthcare, and about how vital we are to the entire healthcare team and patient care. I wish more people knew our true scope of practice and the difference that we make every single day, but I spend my life advocating for this very mission and just because there is work to do doesn’t mean we are going to stop fighting.
How do you hope to see the role of nursing change in the media?
The role of nursing absolutely has to change! Nursing is sexualized in the media and it is dangerous, inaccurate, and offensive to the 300,000 nurses that are male. I hope to see the nurse Halloween costume eliminated, specifically, because it sets a very unsafe precedent and is disrespectful. Nurses are not the Doctor’s assistant nor do we just hand pens and get coffee. This profession deserves to be respected, and the role of nursing deserves to be presented accurately to the media. Nurses work so hard and so tirelessly to save lives everyday. It blows my mind that these are the men and women that get portrayed as bimbos and sex objects in the media. We have a lot of work to do, but we are ready to do it! There is a new nursing wave about to roll over, and it is going to be all good things.
Spotlight Bio: Kelley Johnson is the reigning Miss California USA and was awarded Top 10 at the most recent Miss USA competition. Within this role, Kelley has modeled, hosted and created content for both brand social media and television, and served as a community liaison for the Miss Universe Organization. Previously, she represented the Miss Colorado Organization across the nation as Miss Colorado 2015. Kelley competed for the title of Miss America 2016 and was awarded second runner up.
Kelley is remembered for her nursing monologue performance in 2015 that led to the famous "Doctor's Stethoscope" comment and the #NursesUnite campaign. Kelley graduated Summa Cum Laude from Nursing School at Grand View University, where she was also Valedictorian. She is a Registered Nurse, and she is also in Doctorate school graduating in 2020.
Her year as Miss Colorado included appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, E News, Inside Edition, and various other television, radio, and speaking engagements across our country. Currently, Kelley lives and works out of Los Angeles as the Chief Nurse Advocate for Wanderly, a travel nursing technology company. Kelley is also the National Spokeswoman for Hurst Review, a nationwide NCLEX Review Service, and continues to host and emcee television shows and pageants across America.