The road to becoming a nurse was an interesting and painful one for Brooke Johns.
When she was in college she took communications intending to become a sports broadcaster. That all got put on hold when she met her husband and they decided to start a family.
"That became the dream instead of the broadcasting, and then I was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years," Johns explains. "I decided to go into nursing because of the excellent nursing care that I received during the most difficult time of my life. I wanted to go and do likewise. I wanted to do for people what had been done for me."
Johns and her husband had just moved to Las Vegas when she found out that she was pregnant with a fourth child. She says it was completely unplanned. When she went to the doctor for a checkup, she discovered that her baby's heart had stopped.
"Having three previous children, I had been through pregnancies before, but I had never experienced loss like that," said Brooke.
She says as a result of that, she dealt with postpartum depression. One of the symptoms for her was insomnia. She says at one point she became so fed up with being up all night that she decided to do something to keep herself busy. She began memorizing the muscles and bones of the body.
"Just through doing that the idea of going back to nursing school popped into my head," said Johns.
With three kids at home, she went back to school to take nursing and finished a few years later. After graduating was quickly hired by the emergency room at Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Earlier this year her friend was admitted to the hospital suffering from COVID-19. Brooke was given special permission to see her friend and it was that friend that inspired her to go the extra mile.
"Just through talking to her, having somebody there, engaging, the person that I walked into was not the same person that I walked out of," said Brooke. "She was tired at first and looked tired. By the end, when I needed to go home, she was sitting up straight and was engaging. It was amazing to me to watch that happen so quickly."
She got permission to visit her friend a few more times and noticed that her friend's hair was a mess so she offered to comb it and braid it for her.
"The braiding was practical and kept her hair out of her face. I was able to do that for her a few more times, and through the process, it started clicking for me,' said Johns. "If this one person was benefiting from this, I bet you there are rooms full of hospital admits that are having this same issue, that are tired and weak and don't have the energy to care for themselves, and would benefit from the time and the touch."
Brooke began coming in on her days off to braid and comb the hair of patients that needed a little extra self-care.
"We were never meant to do this life alone. We need each other. Everyone needs saving at some point," says Brooke. "My nurses did it for me, and I get to do it for these patients, and it is my privilege. I leave these patients' rooms a better person."
Today on Connections, Brooke shares why she has no plans on stopping this act of kindness anytime soon.