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Work experience

Apr 2010Present

Student Nurse, Senior Baccalaureate Preceptorship

Cook Children's Medical Center

In April 2010, I worked one-on-one with a Registered Nurse preceptor (see Susie Messina, left column) in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for 144 hours as a component of my senior Professional Nursing Practicum.  Under supervision, I took charge of one to two patients each shift, providing total patient care to critically ill children and babies, calculating correct medication dosages, becoming proficient with hospital equipment and electronic documentation, and giving end-of-shift reports to oncoming nurses.  I was provided with unparalleled clinical skills opportunities such as feeding tube and foley catheter placement and removal; care for intubated patients; care for patients post-cardiac and post-craniotomy surgeries; dressing changes; monitoring peritoneal dialysis; performing postmortem care; adhering to different isolation types; and administering and monitoring IV infusions, just to name a few.  I was presented with a wide variety of patient problems and diagnoses, ranging from multiple patients with congenital heart defects, to Down syndrome; pneumonia; psychiatric cases; victims of motor vehicle accidents; bowel obstructions and subsequent bowel resections; the need for a child of a Jehovah's Witness background to receive blood products; patients with severe developmental delays; end stage renal disease; sudden infant death syndrome; and shaken baby syndrome.  I monitored electrolyte levels, performed thorough hourly assessments and computerized documentaion using MediTech, and continuously referred to a report sheet to prioritize care.  I collaborated with other nurses as well as other disciplines such as respiratory therapists, physicians, radiologists, surgeons, care partners, and nurse practitioners.  In addition to developing therapeutic relationships with patients and their families, I built relationships with members of the PICU team, which for that month, I was a part of. 

May 2008Aug 2008

Certified Nurse Aide

Hendrick Medical Center

As a Certified Nurse Aide, I worked on a skilled nursing unit with other health care team members and took direction from Registered Nurses to provide patient care.  I was in communication with RNs, LVNs, and the floor's nurse manager during this time. 

I was able to assist with all of the following skills during these months: 

-give clients bed baths

-make beds

-provide oral hygiene and facial shaving

-collect urine and stool specimens

-collect and report vital signs including pulse oximetry and daily weights

-adhere to standard and isolation precautions

-assist with oral feedings

-monitor and report intake and output

-assist with turning and range of motion exercises

-apply compression stockings

-assist with ambulation

-participate in a team

May 2007Aug 2007

Resident Assistant

Hardin-Simmons University

I was one of two resident assistants in Hunter Hall, at Hardin-Simmons University during the summer school session in 2007.As an RA, my responsibilities included supervising the residents (about 100 male and female students) living in the dorm to attend summer school; doing weekly room checks; moderating resident disputes; enforcing rules between the dorm director and residents; and serving as a line of communication between the residents and the dorm director.I also acted as a source for problem solving issues (maintenance, social, etc.) that arose during these months.

Mar 2006Jun 2007

Stocking Clerk and Cashier

Follett Bookstore

I was responsible for assisting customers with textbook buybacks, purchases, and returns.  I checked inventory and stocked shelves appropriately, and worked with other employees to assist students and families with their purchases in the on-campus bookstore.

May 2006Aug 2006

Childcare Teacher Assistant

Primrose School at Heritage

I was primarily responsible for providing care for 2-5 year olds, occasionally older or younger.  I helped to develop lesson plans for them and supervised them at play both in the classroom and outdoors.  I provided minor first aid to children who were mildly injured at school, and communicated with the parents as they dropped off or picked up their children.  I participated with other teachers and teacher's aides at the school in preparing and implementing lessons and the required curriculum.  I communicated with the school director and owner about the behavior of the children and their interaction with each other, as well as other care providers.  I provided physical, emotional, and intellectual care for a class of 20+ pre-K children, while communicating with them at an age appropriate level.

Sep 2004Aug 2006

Courtesy Clerk/Cashier


I started as a courtesy clerk where I bagged merchandise for customers, assisted in delivering their purchases to their vehicles, and had responsibilities for keeping various areas of the store clean and safe.  I was later promoted to a cashier, at which time I gained additional responsibilities such as providing fast and friendly customer service, utilization of a computerized cash register system, assisting customers locate items, delegating tasks to courtesy clerks, and working with other cashiers to ensure the highest customer satisfaction possible. 


Aug 2005May 2010

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Hardin-Simmons University

At Hardin-Simmons University, I successfully completed my core prerequisite courses in preparation for acceptance to Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing (PHSSN), a consortium of Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University, and McMurry University.  While a student at PHSSN, I have had many clinical opportunities in departments of almost every specialty, to practice my nursing skills, work as a part of a team, work as a team leader, and work independently.  I have also gained much knowledge through which I have been stretched to become an excellent manager of time and resources, a strong critical thinker, and consequently a safe provider of health care.  I have been afforded the privilege of practicing as a student nurse under some phenomenal instructors who are at the top of their profession, and working alongside them in both actual and simulated clinical experiences.


Paige Morrison

Paige has known me as a friend, fellow community servant, and colleague since 2006, when we attended some of the same classes at Hardin-Simmons University.  We were later in the same women's service organization, of which she was the vice president/service chairperson.  After becoming friends, we became roommates, attending the same nursing school, where she was one year ahead of me, graduating in May 2009. 

Kate Woehl

Kate Woehl has been my clinical and classroom instructor for two years.  In the classroom, she has had me as a student in Fundamentals of Nursing (Fall 2008), Medical-Surgical Nursing (Fall 2009), and Critical Care Nursing (Spring 2010).  She was also my clinical instructor for both my first and last semesters of nursing school, assisting and supervising me as I provided patient care. 

Please click here to view letter of recommendation from Kate Woehl.

Stephenie Akins

Stephenie Akins has known me for three years.  She was my instructor in both the classroom and clinical setting during this time.  Mrs. Akins has taught me in the following classes: Introduction to Nursing (Spring 2008); Dimensions of Nursing (Fall 2008); Obstetric/Pediatric Nursing (Spring 2009); and Medical-Surgical Nursing (Fall 2009).

Please click here to view letter of recommendation from Stephenie Akins.

Christopher McNair

Dr. McNair was my professor for Anatomy and Physiology while I completed my nursing prerequisite classes at Hardin-Simmons University (2007-2008).  He taught me in class as well as supervised my work in the laboratory setting, and has been an advisor to me, as he has followed my success throughout my past two years of nursing school. 

Susie Messina

Susie was my preceptor for 144 hours of clinical experience in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Cook Children's Medical Center (Spring, 2010).  She worked with me one-on-one and supervised as I provided care to critically ill patients, performing such tasks as physical assessments, electronic documentation, intravenous titration, administration of medications, communication with patients and families, patient hygiene, and postmortem care.

Clinical Experience


Welcome!  Thank you for visiting my electronic portfolio!  My name is Tamara Johnson and I have recently graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  I look forward to starting my professional career with you, as I make the transition from a motivated and capable nursing student, to a competent, practicing Registered Nurse.  Please get to know me better by browsing through my portfolio, where among other things, you will find my cover letter and résumé, references and recommendations, as well as a complete work history, service experiences, clinical care plans, and some of my personal interests and goals. 

Writing Sample


Cover Letter


  • Presidential Scholarship Recipient, Hardin-Simmons University, 2005-2010
  • Nursing Scholarship Recipient, Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, 2008-2010
  • Theta Alpha Kappa, National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology, inducted into Alpha Theta Rho Chapter, 2007
  • Dean's List, Hardin-Simmons University, Fall 2007
  • Honor Roll, Hardin-Simmons University, Spring 2008
  • The American Legion School Award Metal, 2004
  • Salutatorian, Lifegate Christian High School, 2004
  • Academic Excellence Award, Canyonville Christian Academy, 2003


-Senior student representative, PHSSN faculty meetings, 2009-2010

-Junior student representative, PHSSN curriculum committee, 2008-2009

-Member, Epsilon Pi Alpha Service Organization, 2007-current

-Member, Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Society, 2007-current

-Member, National Student Nurses' Association, 2008-current

Service/Community Outreach

  • Epsilon Pi Apha (2007-2010):  I am a member of Epsilon Pi Alpha, a women's service organization at Hardin-Simmons University.  This organization is committed to serving those who are underprivileged in our school and local community.  Among the service projects I have done with this group, I have helped scrape and repaint a house for a low-income family, raise funds for and participate in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and help to repaint youth rooms in a local church.  For a complete list of the groups we volunteer for, click here
  • Care Van (2008-2009): As a service learning opportunity for nursing school, I administered vaccines to children in Taylor County under RN supervision as part of the Childhood Immunization Care Van Program.  In addition to administering various vaccines, I helped to transport the necessary equipment to and from clinic sites, and communicated with parents and children regarding the immunizations received. 
  • Heart Walk (2008-2009): The Heart Walk is hosted each year in Abilene in conjunction with the American Heart Association to raise money and promote awareness about heart attacks and stroke.  I walked for my grandpa, who was afflicted by both multiple MIs and CVAs early in his life. 
  • Winter Wellness (2008): As a first year nursing student, I was able to participate in a Winter Wellness Health Fair hosted by Sears Methodist Retirement System, at the Abilene Civic Center.  This event offered free health screenings, and influenza immunizations which I helped to administer to the elderly population.
  • Operation Christmas Child (2003-2010): Operation Christmas Child, a division of Samaritan's Purse International Relief, is a program that collects and sends wrapped shoe boxes filled with toys, clothing, school supplies, and hygienic items to underprivileged children around the world at Christmastime each year (7.9 million shoe box gifts were received last year!).  I have been participating in this program yearly since 2003, making and delivering boxes, and writing letters to the children.

Service to others is always on my heart, a quality which I believe nudged me toward this career path in nursing.  But as you can see, my caring and love is not exclusive to my patients; I have a great interest in community and global outreach, and am involved in multiple local, national, and global efforts to provide health care and hope to all people. 

"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit."   -Wade Davis

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."  - Martin Luther King, Jr.


My personal interests vary widely.  I am naturally inquisitive, and there are very few things I do not enjoy learning about.  In my future, I see myself obtaining a Master's degree and getting certified in one or more nursing specialties such as a CCRN, or perhaps eventually becoming a Critical Care Nurse Practitioner.  Larger, very long-term goals of mine include such things as being a proofreader for nursing textbooks, being involved in/directing complex nursing research projects, getting into nursing education, and perhaps even being a dean of a school of nursing. 

While I am devoted to my professional career, I do find pleasure in unrelated recreational activities.  Things I enjoy and spend time doing outside of schooI and work include spending time with my family, studying biblical Hebrew; studying the Old Testament; vegetarianism; community and global outreach; Charter for Compassion; research projects; reading up on current events, academic and clinical findings, or just a good book; discovering good restaurants; learning to cook; collecting quotes and poems; photography; human development; psychology; watching Frasier, CSI, and Gilmore Girls re-runs; enjoying good music; hiking; nature; expanding my vocabulary; gender and sexuality studies; animal studies/rights; LGBT studies/rights; watching good movies; and learning about advancing technology, both of the entertainment and medical industries.


Certified Nurse Aide

Department of Aging and Disability Services
Jan 2010Jan 2012

BLS for Healthcare Providers (CPR & AED)

American Heart Association