Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, Speaks About the Value of Home Care and Hospice, Presents Nurse of the Year Award
October 30, 2015 08:59 AM
On Thursday, October 29, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice presented the 2015 Nurse of the Year award at the Annual Meeting to Sylvia Cruz, of Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia. Helping to present the award was Kelley Johnson, who was Miss Colorado in 2015 and named second runner-up at Miss America 2016. During the competition, Ms. Johnson made headlines for her speech during the talent portion of the Miss America Pageant in which she spoke about her experiences as a nurse.
Before presenting the Nurse of the Year award, Ms. Johnson addressed the audience about the importance of nursing and of home care and hospice specifically. She said that in competing for Miss America, she wanted to do so completely and wholeheartedly as her genuine self. She knew her true talent was caring for others as a nurse, which is why she selected nursing as her talent and gave a monologue about how caring for a patient made her realize that she is a “life-saver.” She also told of how she heard from nurses across the country following her speech, which started a conversation and brought nurses together to talk about their own experiences.
Ms. Johnson reiterated the value of nursing, and she spoke specifically about the importance of home care and hospice. She told a personal story about her father passing away from colon cancer when she was 4 years old, and how important both home care and hospice were for her family during that time. “I just want to let you know I’m so thankful for all that you do,” she told the audience. “Home care and hospice is so incredibly important, and it’s truly vital for our most vulnerable populations. I’m just so humbled.”
Ms. Johnson then presented the award for 2015 Nurse of the Year to Sylvia Cruz. In accepting her award, Ms. Cruz spoke about the value of nursing and the importance of caring for patients.
Ms. Cruz has been a home care nurse for over 17 years. She chose her path in nursing after a poor home care experience of her own, and she vowed to become a home care nurse who would be a blessing to her patients. Ms. Cruz typically works in impoverished areas, where language and economic barriers make many typical plans of care unrealistic for her patients. With her gumption and compassion she gives the gift of dignity to the poor. Ms. Cruz is able to bridge the gap for her patients through relentless discovery of creative solutions.
Ms. Johnson hails from Windsor, Colorado. She graduated from Grand View University and was valedictorian of her nursing class. She is a proud practicing registered nurse.