2017 Graduate Scholarship Recipient
Loma Linda University | School of Nursing
My name is Craig Johnson and I never knew I wanted to be a nurse. I grew up with two brothers and three sisters in the small town of Dinuba, located in the Central Valley of California. Growing up in a family of six children you learn to appreciate the needs, opinions, and feelings of those around you. During these formative years, I began to understand the value of helping others, and, unbeknownst to me, the framework for a service profession was set. I went on to play collegiate baseball while earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, during which time I learned two valuable things. First, I learned that at my core was a desire to understand and help meet the needs of others. Second, I gained an appreciation for the determination, work ethic, and motivation it takes to achieve your goals. What I had yet to learn, however, was where this information would take my career.
The epiphany came in my mid 20’s while waiting tables at Outback Steakhouse. My wife (fiancé at the time) had just enrolled in nursing school, and while talking with her I realized that a career in nursing had long been staring me in the face, but I hadn’t seen it. I truly believe that God leads people to the right places at the right time in their life, and this was my time. I continued to wait tables, to support my new wife, and graduated with honors from Loma Linda University School of Nursing in 2011.
The last six years I have worked as a Registered Nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. In addition, I am a full-time graduate student working toward a Master’s of Science degree, am employed as part-time clinical faculty for the Undergraduate school of nursing, volunteer as an elementary Sunday School teacher, and recently returned from a medical mission trip to Honduras. My career experience has been an exceptional time of educational, emotional, spiritual, and mental growth. Part of that growth included the decision to reenter academia and pursue a career as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. There is an ever-increasing need for perioperative services, and it is my desire to continue reaching communities at need by providing anesthesia aide both domestically and abroad.
I am less than a year away from graduating from Loma Linda University with a Master’s of Science degree with a concentration in Nurse Anesthesia. I continue to moonlight in the Pediatric ICU and look for medical mission opportunities, but some of my greatest joy comes from being a father (Kylie, 5 & Cooper, 3) and husband. I am so incredibly blessed to have found a profession that supports such profound personal and professional growth while supporting the expression of my spiritual gifts.
Meeting life’s many demand through graduate school is time consuming, but incredibly rewarding. As open windows give way to open doors in the nursing profession, I am grateful for the many skills and tools my education has provided to extend a helping hand to those around me. I am extremely grateful for the generous support provided by the Bonnie A.C. Fang foundation and the support it provides to those chasing their professional dreams.