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YON 2020 Day 183: Joanna B. Buchannon, BSN, RN

Today, July 1, 2020, is the halfway point of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife! Thank you for joining us for the last 183 days, both in reading each day's nursing story and sharing your own. If you haven't yet shared your story, there's still time! Visit Share Your Story to learn how to submit your nursing narrative.


In her role as Assistant Nurse Manager at the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System, Joanna B. Buchannon, BSN, RN, strives to improve the lives of veterans in her care. She shares with us the legacy of this work, which was begun by her mother, and which she has passed on to her two daughters.

I am a Nurse. Psychiatric nursing in the Veterans Affairs (VA) deals with the mind, body, and soul of the veteran. As a nurse, I believe that one seems to gravitate to a profession, not just because of an interest, but because of a calling. My mother stated that God gave our family a passion for helping others. However, for her as well as for me, that gift was through psych nursing.

At the age of 11, I would travel with my mother to visit our relatives that lived an hour away. During these road trips, she would give me life lessons. These lessons included how women should take pride in themselves, and the need to balance work and family life. She would encourage me not only to go to school, but stressed how important it was for me to go further in school than she had. My mother and father instilled in me the importance of setting a goal and sticking to it no matter what. On one of these trips, my mother informed me she knew what I would be when I got older. Normally I would look out the window as she spoke and occasionally nod, but this time I listened. My mother informed me that I was born to be a psychiatric nurse.

My mother worked as a Registered Nurse in the Acute Psychiatric ward 31A for the Cleveland VA. My mother died at the age of 63 just 20 years after this car ride. I received my nursing degree 10 years after her passing. After earning my nursing degree, I applied to the VA and was hired for an acute psych ward 52A in Brecksville, Ohio. During my orientation, I learned that that the ward for which I had been hired had originally started at our main campus some 20 miles north—ward 31A. I was working in the same ward that my mother had worked on years earlier!


The above photo is of Joanna's mother. It was taken in 1954 when she graduated from Massillon Hospital School of Nursing.

Currently, I am the Assistant Nurse Manager for the 122 bed, Homeless Domiciliary Program. By providing creative approaches to the development and implementation of programs and activities designed to improve the quality of patient care and achieve quality outcomes for the veterans that I serve, I exhibit leadership skills in my clinical practice.

I keep my passion and enthusiasm for nursing alive by volunteering. I have had the privilege to volunteer for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NSCBN), serve on multiple panels, and contribute to continued excellence in the nursing profession. Nursing is a profession, not a job!

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