1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN, news director


Nurses lose a formidable advocate.


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Cheryl L. Johnson, BSN, RN, 57, of Brighton, Michigan, died October 28 after suffering a brain aneurysm nine days earlier. A staff nurse in the medical ICU at the University of Michigan Health System, she was the president of the United American Nurses (UAN), AFL-CIO, the nation's largest union for RNs, representing more than 104,000 nurses. She was also a second-term president of the Michigan Nurses Association.


A tireless champion of nurses and outspoken critic of mandatory overtime and unsafe staffing, Johnson was instrumental in the formation of the UAN in 1999. She served as its first and only president-she was reelected in 2002 and again in 2004. After the UAN affiliated with the AFL-CIO, she was named to the executive council of the federation and then to its highest governing body, the executive committee. In 2005 she was named a vice president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Johnson was also a member of the AJN editorial board.

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In my first interview with her, after she became president of the UAN, she spoke about her belief in nurses as a patient's best hope for getting high-quality care and the need for hospitals to recognize that. She said, "The buck stops with nurses. We're the ones who make or break the patient's experience."


She is survived by her daughter Nikki Briggs, her son-in-law Brett, her grandson Jack, and her fiance Mitch Gorkiewicz, as well as thousands of American nurses who will not soon forget her efforts to secure better working conditions and safer patient care.


Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, news director