A Leader of excellence
RN shines as the face of rehab nursing
story and photo by James Coburn
Amy Johnson was inspired to become a nurse after her grandfather had a stroke. He was in a hospital and had been mistreated, she said.
She and her grandmother had to clean her grandfather after his bedding had not been changed, Johnson said.
“That just made me want to become a nurse,” said Johnson, RN, and director of clinical services at Bradford Village, located in Edmond.
Her grandmother is now a resident of Bradford Village.
“I just pursued my nursing career whenever I was in high school. I went to votech and got my CNA.”
Immediately out of high school Johnson worked at Grace Living Center for six years. Johnson has been a registered nurse for more than a year. She earned both her LPN and RN credentials at Platt College in Oklahoma City. She had been a CNA and a CMA for eight years.
She had worked at Valor Rehabilitation Hospital and loved it, she said. There she had been a traumatic spinal cord and brain injury nurse.
“That was a passion but I keep coming back to Bradford,” said Johnson, who returned to Bradford Village more than a year ago. She is one of the restorative nurses at Bradford Village.
“We try to rehab them back to their maximum level of functioning,” she said.
Nurses take new patients in skilled nursing under their wing and adopt them. They do their best to return them back to their homes so they can be a functioning part of society again, Johnson said.
Her office is with the long-term care residents. She works with therapists assisting in building a therapy program for the long-term care residents while working with restorative aides. She shows them the programs they need to follow, she said.
“So if a patient goes out to the hospital, has the flu and come back, and they’re weak and don’t quite have the strength like they used to, I put them on a restorative program and build up that muscle strength,” she said.
She has a lot of confidence in the nursing staff she assists on a daily basis.
“They are very knowledgable and strong nurses,” she said. “We’re more like a family. They’re not scared to tell me how they feel about something.”
Bradford nurses are not afraid to stand up for themselves by making suggestions to the leadership team, she said. She likes that they are headstrong with the best consideration for their patients.
“I feel like they’re family,” she said of their patient advocacy.
Johnson recalled her first job as a nurse soon after she earned her LPN license. She admitted a resident at Bradford in 2008 who continues to live there today.
“I thought that was awesome. She was on the deathbed a couple of times. When I came back here I saw her and her daughter works at Edmond Public Schools. Me and her are very close. I thought that was awesome that she was still here. It was like the queen bee of the facility.”
At day’s end Johnson is gratified she has been able to be a partner with her nursing staff. It takes a team approach, she said.
Johnson loves helping the staff be at their personal best. She offers a lot of encouragement to both residents and staff members. Residents are not treated as door numbers, but as human being with a life history.
“I like to introduce myself to all the new residents when they come in and let them know who the management team is,” she said.
Johnson checks on them throughout their stay at Bradford Village. She recalled a woman who had been in a car accident prior to her admittance.
“She walked out of here and all of us clapped and cheered for her on her way out,” she said. “We try to encourage them to participate in therapy – anything we can do to make them feel like they’re human – not that they’re just somebody whose sick.”
Families will thank her and remember her for being the good nurse that she is. One family member recognized her in a coffee shop and began to cry. Her dad had passed away.
“I was gone from here at the time, but they recognized me for everything that I did,” she said.
When not working, Johnson likes to exercise and doing sports with her children.
“Both of my sons play football and wrestle. So I’m always with them at their activities.”