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Foundation helps nurse who devotes her career to helping her hometown

Kelly Johnson puts her heart into serving her hometown. A nurse here for 14 years, she’s helped deliver babies, mend wounds and restore breathing, both at Osceola Medical Center and throughout the community as a first responder. When she decided to pursue her goal of obtaining a master’s degree in organizational leadership in health care, the Osceola Community Health Foundation stepped up to help her with a scholarship.

“I appreciate that the Foundation is giving me this opportunity,” said Johnson, RN, BSN, CEN. “It makes it that much easier to achieve my goal. They saw something in me and were able to help me.”

Johnson is currently OMC’s clinical information specialist. Before that, she worked 10 years as emergency department director and four years as a health charge nurse.

Except for the four years she attended college, Johnson has always lived in Osceola. And this is where she plans to use her new expertise once she receives her advanced degree.

“I enjoy working in a smaller community,” Johnson said. “I don’t have plans to get my education and go elsewhere.”

She explained that the scholarship was especially helpful because as she started the second year of her master’s program at St. Catherine University, her oldest daughter left for her first year of college. Before Johnson finishes her courses in 18 months, another daughter will leave for college, as well.

The Foundation’s financial support and belief in her meant a great deal, she said. “It’s a good feeling. And I see myself as someone who can pay it forward.”

Foundation funds life-saving tools
In her volunteer role as vice president of County Line First Responders, Kelly Johnson, RN, BSN, CEN, also experienced the Foundation’s positive impact on the community. The self-funded, nonprofit organization dispatches trained volunteers to attend to medical emergencies that occur in Osceola, Star Prairie, Farmington and parts of the Dresser area.

Each First Responder volunteer carries a kit of medical supplies in his or her own vehicle. And, thanks to a grant from the Osceola Community Health Foundation, those supplies now include the Combitube, device used to open a patient’s airway in the decisive moments before an ambulance arrives.

“Getting an airway opened is critical,” Johnson said. “If you can get an airway in, it’s huge in saving someone’s life.”