1. Olson, DaiWai M. Editor

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I admit that when I walked into the Keynote session of the 49th Annual AANN Conference, I really had no idea who Kelley Johnson, BSN, RN was. I did know all about the now famous "stethoscope comment," but I didn't really connect the two. Although I took a few pearls of wisdom from this presenter, there is one in particular that has had me thinking for the past month.

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For those who were unable to attend the AANN Conference in Boston, let me provide a bit of background. Kelley Johnson was completely candid and forthcoming with information. Within a few minutes of taking the stage to give the Agnes M. Marshall Walker Keynote Address, this 23-year-old confessed to hundreds of nurses that she was a novice "baby" nurse. Kelley had barely graduated and was just beginning her career when she suddenly became famous.


Kelley also shared with us that she was not a pageant veteran. Rather, like most of us, she had student debt. Unlike some of us, pageant was an option to make a little extra money, and so Kelley entered the Miss Colorado 2015 competition. Her talent for the competition was to share a story to which any and every nurse could relate. To her own surprise, she won.


Also to her own surprise, she ended up going further in the 2016 Miss America Pageant than she had anticipated. In this competition, she again used a monologue as her talent. On the day of the competition she was judged by one set of rules. She came in second place and was filled with thoughts of going back to work in her nursing profession. The next day, Kelley was judged by two celebrities on The View and, within a few hours, she became famous.


Kelley admitted that she had never sought to be the face of nursing. She had not set out to be a spokesperson for our profession. In fact, if I recall correctly, she said, "this just happened [to me]." And, when "it" happened, Kelley did what any nurse would do. She accepted the challenge and dealt with it. She did not run toward, nor away, from the unknown.


This is what has had me thinking for the past few months. Kelley took advantage of an opportunity to help move the nursing profession forward. She contributed. Those who have met me know that my chances of winning any pageant are pretty slim, but that doesn't mean there won't be opportunities for me to contribute.


We don't all have to become as famous as Kelley in order to contribute to the profession. But, we do have to start thinking about those opportunities. Kelley had a story to tell. She has shared this story with millions. Every time I speak with a neuronurse one-on-one, they have a story to tell-ideas and insights to share. I can't give you a pageant crown, but I can give you a platform. Moreover, I know that if a 23-year-old new graduate nurse can contribute to our profession, so can you.


It is your turn to share. JNN is your platform.