Media Contacts

Katie Schrier

Manager, Communications, College of Nursing
Email: katie.schrier@nurs.utah.edu

Mar 26, 2013 8:24 AM

(Salt Lake City, Utah) – Before Dash Johnson came into the world in June 2012, his parents Abby and Dave felt they had prepared for the worst. After all, Abby was just four months into her pregnancy when their unborn child was detected to have a rare congenital heart disease which carries a grim life expectancy. Moments after Dash took his first breath, the journey to save his life began. Nine months—and for Dash, multiple surgeries—later, the Johnsons say that while emergency open heart surgery helped saved Dash’s life, nurse Andrea Clement proved why nurses are the heartbeat of the health care system. As a token of their appreciation for Clement, whom the Johnsons often refer to as Dash’s ‘second mom,’ they will celebrate her at the 19h Annual Honors for Nursing, Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at Little America Hotel.

Hosted by the University of Utah College of Nursing Alumni Advisory Board, Honors for Nursing is Utah’s largest celebration of the nursing profession during National Nurses Week. Organizers seek recognitions from grateful patients such as the Johnsons, as well as colleagues, family and friends of Utah nurses in an effort to honor nurses for the role they play in saving and improving the lives of individuals throughout the state. Proceeds from Honors for Nursing fund scholarships for nursing students at the U.

For the 13th year, nurses came out on top of the Gallup poll as the most trusted profession, and Abby Johnson says that Clement, and many other nurses who have already impacted Dash’s young life, are unsung heroes whom she has learned to “trust implicitly” in the care of her child. “As the parent of a sick child who has to be hospitalized, you expect you will be there, your child will get better and you will go home.” When complications persisted, the Johnsons faced the reality that Dash would not be able to go home anytime soon—but that as parents to Dash’s two older siblings, they needed to continue to care for the rest of their family. “I had a really difficult time leaving Dash at the hospital,” recalls Abby. “Andrea, like many wonderful nurses, never left his side.” When in December the Johnsons received the good news that Dash could finally go home, Clement, a life flight nurse, took on a second job as a home health nurse, in order to continue to care for Dash, who has a permanent pacemaker and requires full-time nursing care. “I want to see Dash succeed,” Clement says of her decision.

Members of the community are encouraged to say ‘thank you’ to a nurse who has touched their life by purchasing a Nurse Recognition package for the 19th Annual Honors for Nursing. For $35, the package includes an invitation for the honoree to attend the dinner where they will receive a certificate of appreciation. Supporters may also attend Honors for Nursing for an additional $35.

“When a family member is ill, nurses become an extension of your family,” Abby says. “They help you over the hurdles and they share your victories.” According to Johnson, when Dash’s lung collapsed and he had to undergo surgery, his team of nurses celebrated each day that Dash’s name remained on the patient board for it symbolized another day the little champion had survived. She says that Dash’s nurses have not only helped save his young life—they are helping shape his life. “Dash has had a nurse by his bedside twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week—he is bound to pick up the special qualities found in nurses that have earned nursing the honor of ‘most trusted profession!’”

To recognize a nurse at the 19th Annual Honors for Nursing, visit www.honorsfornursing.org by April 12, 2013.