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Lifestyle & Human Interest

ER Nurse Spends Her Off Days in the Hospital, Brushing and Braiding Patients' Hair

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Nurses are generally recognized as being heroes, having chosen a profession that helps others. And over the last year, their work has been truly lauded by the communities they serve.

Brooke Johns has been an ER nurse in Las Vegas for 2.5 years, helping people and making their hospital stays more comfortable.

“Nurses, in general, get into this to help other people,” Johns told KTNV-TV.

But five months ago, she realized something was missing — something that she could easily provide: Hair care.

Something about having your hair done boosts confidence, helps you feel more put together and fosters that all-important human connection, which is lacking during these times.

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“There’s something therapeutic about the human touch, as well,” Johns added. “Human talking, human touching, it’s that connection that we’re all hard-wired for.”

This realization spurred Johns into action, when her friend was admitted to the hospital.

“Her hair was very, very snarled, she was too weak to brush it out herself, and it was something she was really worried about,” she said. “So, one of the times I went up there I was able to brush out her hair and braid it and just talk with her.

“She was a different person when I left that room.”

After she went to visit her friend, Johns realized that a little care made all the difference.

Since then, she’s made a habit of going to the hospital where she works during her time off to pamper patients who could use a little kindness and warmth.

“Care Like Family isn’t just something we say at Southern Hills Hospital, it’s something we live,” the hospital shared in a Facebook post. “Our ER nurse, Brooke, exemplifies our mission while she’s in the ER and even on her days off.

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“On her days off, she comes back to Southern Hills Hospital and spends hours brushing and braiding [patients’] hair. We thought she deserved some recognition for her kind heart.

“Thank you Brooke for all that you do! We’re so lucky to have you.”

Patients have spoken in praise of Johns’ work as well, including Sierra Stein, who first met Johns as a patient in the ER.

“It’s because of her that I was admitted to the hospital, and I’m getting the care and treatment that I need,” Stein told KTNV-TV.

“COVID is going around, and there’s a lot of isolation. You can’t really have visitors, so having someone actually come in care about you, hold your hand, braid your hair makes you feel like you’re at home again.”

Johns plans to continue her brushing and braiding for now, but in the future, as restrictions lift, she’d also like to visit the children’s hospital dressed as Elsa — just another way she’s using her gifts to bring a little cheer to those who could use it most.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking