By Frank Couch
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Assistant Professor, Karmie Johnson, DNP, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, CNE, has been recognized as one of 12 recipients of the UAB President's Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2020. She began teaching in the School in 2013.
In response to the award, Johnson said she draws inspiration from her faculty, students and passion for teaching.
“My colleagues have taught me so much and their innovation and passion for the profession inspire me,” Johnson said. “If I display excellence in teaching, it’s because that expectation is continuously fostered by my colleagues through their example and this school for providing a supportive, dynamic environment.”
Johnson is a four-time graduate of UAB, with two degrees from the School of Nursing. Ms. UAB from 1999-2000, she graduated from the University Honors Program (UHP) with a Bachelor in Science (biology) and a Bachelor in Art (art studio) and served in Samoa as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. After her time as a volunteer, she earned her accelerated Bachelor of Nursing from the University of South Alabama and returned to UAB for her Masters of Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice.
“During my time in the Peace Corps, I found I was passionate about teaching, and then found something I could love. I love nursing’s approach of applying science to people, of using critical thinking to maximize human potential while compensating for human nature,” said Johnson.
Combining her two passions of nursing and education has given her a joy and fulfillment she never anticipated.
“I have the privilege of participating in a student’s journey as they consider their potential and evolve in ways they never thought possible,” Johnson said. “I get to contribute to creating health care providers that will be the best of the profession I love.”
Johnson’s passion for teaching and nursing is tangible to students, who can look back and recognize her influence as they enter their careers.
“Dr. Johnson’s students are continually challenged to think, research and better themselves as well as their patients and communities,” wrote one former student in her nominating letter. “She was one of the few teachers who could fully captivate our cohort just based on her lecture style. As a new nurse on the GYN-ONC floor at UAB Hospital, I was able to identify a case of neuroleptic malignant syndrome because I remembered Dr. Johnson saying, ‘Hot, stiff and out of it.”
Johnson is a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, working with vulnerable patients at the UAB School of Nursing-led PATH Clinic and is the Wellness Coach for the Nurse-Family Partnership of Central Alabama. She serves in the Faculty Senate, the Honors Council of the UHP, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Benevolent Fund Council. She is the recruitment chair for the UABSON Alumni Board and a board member of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Chapter. She is a founding member of the Philippine Nurses Association of Alabama and has been on the executive committee of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Greater Birmingham since 2012, a position integral to her role as the School’s Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows coordinator.
“Dr. Johnson designed and implemented several flipped classroom activities in order to facilitate integration of nursing content in psychiatric nursing. She frequently provides guest lectures on mental health at both the pre-licensure and graduate levels. She is consistently recognized by students and peers for her creative, engaged style with them and consistently receives outstanding IDEA scores evidenced by student and peer evaluations,” said Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing.