Staff Spotlight – Karen Johnson, RN, BSN

Karen is a Clinical Research Manager in the NICU.

I’ve worked at UI Healthcare since May 1984, shortly after I graduated from the University of Iowa Nursing program. I worked 3 years in the “Intermediate Care Nursery”. Dr. Ed Bell hired me in 1987 to be the first and at the time, only NICU research nurse. Since then, our program has grown to a team of four.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a book titled “nurse Nancy”. The book included a real band-aid, which I thought was super cool. From that point on, I wanted to be a nurse and here I am!

One of the greatest satisfactions in my career has been the creation of the Iowa Neonatal Clinical Research Committee (INCRC), an interdisciplinary team that provides scientific and feasibility guidance for investigators who would like to conduct research within the NICU.

I have been married to my husband, Don for 45 years. We have 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren.

I always have a good book to read and love gardening, cooking and spending time with my family. I have run two half marathons, so jokingly claim that I’ve run a whole.I also love to golf and am a member of the Brown Deer Women’s Golf League.

I am fascinated with the Rocky Mountains every time I go there. Besides the awesomeness of the mountains, the air is pure, the sky is amazing and it is where I find myself most relaxed.

My favorite restaurant is Monica’s. We’ve been regular customers since it was “Bob’s Your Uncle” and our daughter worked there as a server.

My favorite book of all time is The Thorn Birds, which was also made into a great movie!

If I had 3 wishes they would be: 1. We could get through COVID-19 so I can have my grandkids here again. 2. Continued good health. 3. That all of my kids and their families live close enough to see them often.

Fun fact: I spent a lot of my childhood in Kansas and used to hope that they would someday re-make The Wizard of Oz, starring me as Dorothy.

4 thoughts on “Staff Spotlight – Karen Johnson, RN, BSN

  1. Karen has been an invaluable resource for the NICHD Neonatal Research Network, working with NICU investigators and research coordinators across the country to develop and implement innovative and challenging trials in our most fragile preemies. Congratulations, Karen!

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