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Denise Johansen Celebrates 45 Years as a Nurse At Mercy Medical Center

9:32 PM · Mar 16, 2021

Denise Johansen is celebrating 45 years working at Mercy Medical Center and looking forward to the next chapter in her life: retirement. Johansen officially started at Mercy on January 1, 1975, after working in the pediatric ward during her senior year of high school. After high school, she went into the nursing program and played volleyball and basketball at UCC before finishing her nursing degree in 1979. “I also worked to pay my way through school,” Johansen said. She started as a nurse when Mercy was located on Harvard and worked on the medical and surgical floors from 1979 to 1991. Johansen became a community ED nurse in 1992 then transitioned to home health where she still works. “I really enjoyed working at the hospital and in-home health, I’ve developed some great relationships,” Johansen said. “Home health has offered me a great fit for my family and flexibility which is one of the strong pulls for me because my family is important to me. I have worked under some great supervisors who have been compassionate and understanding.” Most recently she has been an intake coordinator, going to patients’ homes and helping them with wound care, education of disease processes, teaching people how to check their blood sugar, or how to manage their overall health. Johansen’s supervisor, Shannon Johnson, has worked with Denise for almost 12 years. “She trained me when I started in home health. That’s a long time in any field, especially nursing. She’s a wealth of knowledge, so kind and caring,” Johnson said. “She chose nursing as her profession and in her heart. This really shows up in her interactions with her co-workers and patients. She’s just awesome. As far as home health, she’s a solid nurse and we look to her for advice because she really is the master.” When asked what her favorite part about her career at Mercy was, Johansen said the people. “The relationships with the patients, the lifelong friends I have made, being blessed to be in their lives, it’s very rewarding,” Johansen said. “I have people come up to me who said you helped me. It really gives you joy and satisfaction, and confirms that this is really where God wanted me to be.” The support that she has provided to her patients over the course of her career is what Denise will remember the most. “We share the best or worst days of their life,” Johansen said. “They can get bad news or good news, so holding their hand and being their advocate is vital. Sometimes it’s just being accepted, valued and it’s a gift to help them process that. To be heard and to be their advocate.” “I’m proud to be part of the Mercy team, it’s like my second family. It’s important to me and I never wanted to do anything else,” Johansen said. “I hope I’ve made a difference.” Next steps for Johansen? Retirement. ”I’ll be 65 next February. Now I can spend time with my grandkids and travel with my family and friends.”

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