Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Nursing is something the Lord wants me to do - Carmen Johnson

Published:Thursday | October 26, 2017 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist
Carmen Johnson, president, Nurses Association of Jamaica.

In her early years, new Nurses' Association of Jamaica (NAJ) President Carmen Johnson had hopes of being a sociologist, but having been steered into nursing, maybe by spiritual means, she is convinced that this is her true calling.

"I see it as something that the Lord wanted me to accomplish and so I see it as the service that the Lord wants me to do," Johnson, a departmental manager at the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital, told Rural Xpress on Wednesday, less than a week after being elected to lead one of the island's most visible organisations for 2017 to 2018.

Having spent more than 20 years at St Ann's Bay hospital, after a one-year internship at the Kingston Public Hospital, Johnson has earned the moniker 'Devotional Sister', as she is always ready to have devotions and prayers for the patients at the institution.

Originating from Aenon Town in Clarendon, Johnson was placed in St Ann to work and, so made the Garden Parish her home. More than 20 years as a Christian, she started attending the New Testament Church of God at St Ann's Bay and Salem before the Runaway Bay church was established some five years ago. That is where she now worships.

"Yes, I'm happy and I like the family relationship that we have and we see each person as a brother or a sister. We take care of each other; the relationship is very good and the congregation is still growing," Johnson revealed.

With the belief that she was led to be a nurse in order to serve, Johnson has relied on prayer as a means of comfort and hope for the sick. Sometimes when patients come asking for prayer she would ensure that, whenever time allows, she would offer them the prayers they seek. This has basically become the norm for her over the years.

"Being a Christian, I recognise that what I do is not of myself, and as I say to my colleagues, each day we come we are here to serve, we are here as individuals who can encourage the patients when they're at their lowest," related Johnson.

"We're here where we can help them to pray, and because of that it has humbled me. I see myself as a servant because of what the Lord did. The Lord Himself was a servant, so we ought to be like Him as He says we ought to, and nothing is too low or too high to do once it will impact patient care.

"So, I'm able to speak to my patients, I'm able to pray with them, I'm able to encourage them.

"We're here when they're born and we're here when some die, and so it is for us to see how we play that role. As I say to my staff, let not one die or leave this world without, as the song says, you never mentioned Him to me. That's what we strive to do."

*Next week we look at Johnson's readiness for the role to lead the NAJ.