Avery Johnson named Student Nurse of the Year at NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health

Photo of Avery Johnson, NDSU

Avery Johnson, a senior nursing student, has been named Student Nurse of the Year at NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota.

An early experience as a young patient set Johnson on her path to nursing. A severe allergy as an infant sent her to the emergency room, setting off a chain of events and path to a future career in healthcare.

“The doctors did not have a lot of information on my diagnosis and how it would affect my life, so my mom took the initiative and enrolled in nursing school at our local community college,” said Johnson. “She wanted to be informed and have the knowledge to advocate for me in future years. When I was three years old, she graduated as an LPN. Flash forward to now, she recently graduated with her BSN. She is a very large part of why I wanted to become a nurse.”

Growing up in rural North Carolina, the Bismarck nursing student recalls an hour-long drive every three-to six-months over the next 14 years for medical care.

“The nurses always were so caring and supportive,” said Johnson. “With each visit, they tried to give me the same nurses,” she recalls. “They made my traumatizing visits easier and less scary,” said Johnson, daughter of Tommy and Faith Johnson of Bismarck.

“Between my mom and the nurses I have encountered, I have developed a sense of the nurse I want to be,” said Johnson. “I want the patients I care for to be able to make their own decisions and have dignity during a vulnerable time in their life,” she explains.

Johnson served as director of service projects for her school’s Nursing Students’ Association chapter and as director of legislation and education for the North Dakota Nursing Students’ Association board. “I have the honor of sitting in on legislative meetings for the state on issues that affect our nursing community,” she said.

In addition to attending NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health, Johnson works as a certified nursing assistant in a busy emergency department, learning valuable skills that fuel her passion for emergency medical care.

“Avery has been recognized for upholding the standards of the nursing profession by always being prepared, using evidence-based practices to support implementation efforts, collaborating with members of the healthcare team, and advocating for her patients' needs,” said Charys Kunkel, director of the NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health. “Her leadership qualities, accomplishments, and dedication to the nursing profession make her an inspiration to others.”

The NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health provides bachelor’s and graduate nursing education to prepare highly-skilled and caring professionals that help meet the region’s healthcare workforce needs.

As a student-focused, land grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

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