A short time after going to work as a new nurse in the emergency department at Johnston Memorial Hospital in 1984, Lisa Johnson got the chance to save a life. Her 73-year-old grandfather, Wilbert Parrish, collapsed without a pulse at home. Johnson immediately started CPR, and her dad dialed 9-1-1. She did chest compressions in the ambulance all the way to Smithfield, where the doctor in the emergency department shocked Parrish’s heart back into normal sinus rhythm. Parrish would survive his heart attack and live to be 76. Johnson became a devout believer in CPR, and she took to heart the experience. “Maybe that’s why I was meant to be a nurse,” she says.
As soon as she graduated from nursing school at Johnston Community College, she went to work as a nurse on the fourth floor. In the 30 years since, she has worked at a private practice and with hospice. But her first love has always been the emergency department where, on and off, she has spent 20 of those years.
On May 16, Lisa was named the Johnston Health Ambassador of the Year during the annual service awards banquet. She was first chosen in December 2012 as an Ambassador of the Month, and then selected for the top award from among 10 other recipients.
At the banquet, Chuck Elliott, president and CEO of Johnston Health, kept the audience in suspense as he described the recipient as helpful, genuine, compassionate, respectful and skilled. He said the selection of the Ambassador of the Year is based on exemplary actions and commitment to the goals of Johnston Health.
“I’m extremely honored,” Johnson said afterward. “This award makes me want to work even harder.”
Aside from nursing, Johnson has been active in the capital campaign to renovate and enlarge the emergency department in Smithfield. She also serves on the patient satisfaction committee. She and her husband, Allen, live between Pine Level and Brogden, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
About the Johnston Health Ambassador Program
Every month, a Johnston Health Ambassador of the Month is selected from our many outstanding employees, and every year, one of them is named the Johnston Health Ambassador of the Year at the annual service awards banquet during Hospital Week. Each Ambassador of the Month receives a reserved parking space with a personalized sign for the month, and the Ambassador of the Year receives this for the entire next year as well as an extra vacation day and recognition throughout the company and community. “Ambassadors have in common a commitment to the organization, their professions and patients,” says Tim Hays, vice president of human resources. “They set the standard for excellence. And I think it’s cool that they’re selected by their peers.”