Five Question Friday: Karen Johnson

Meet Karen Johnson, a nurse practitioner in our Sleep Center.

How long have you worked at Children’s? I started as a nurse in the infant apnea program/pediatric sleep program in 2006. In 2008, I decided to go back to school and become a nurse practitioner (NP). I am so glad I did because now I am working in the Children’s Sleep Center as a nurse practitioner! Feeling happy!

Describe your role. I am the pediatric nurse practitioner in the Children’s Sleep Center. I work full-time, meeting with parents about their child’s sleep issues such as insomnia, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, night terrors and other sleep problems. I am also trained in biofeedback, which is used to help treat children relax who have insomnia. I teach them special skills such as diaphragmatic breathing, and guided imagery to assist them in relaxing so they can fall asleep. We use a special computer program that the kids find really fun and gives them feedback how they are doing learning the techniques.

What do you love most about your job? Biofeedback is a really fun part of the day for me because when children become mindful of how to calm themselves, they see the value in the skills they have learned, and then they are in charge of their sleep. As an NP, I enjoy helping parents create a sleep plan that will fit the needs of the child and the family. I enjoy educating the family. It’s important to educate the family, because being informed parents will increase their understanding and ability to make changes that improve the child and the parents’ quality and quantity of sleep. When the entire family sleeps well, we have a happier family that can enjoy each other and a healthier family overall.

How do you spend your time outside of work? I like to be with family and friends, float on my pontoon on a lazy summer day, ride bike, and sing when no one is around. Being outdoors brings me my peace and calm so that I can recharge. I would like to learn how to line dance, play the guitar and volunteer in my community. But on Monday mornings I become a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Children’s Sleep Center, and I LOVE it!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? I would like to go back to Hawaii someday, but anywhere that is warm is where I want to be on vacation.

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