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At Mission, she worked collaboratively with physicians and care providers to ensure that care was at the highest level possible, developing protocols and guidelines to manage trauma diagnoses and populations. An example of one specialized trauma population was the management of severe traumatic brain injury. Connie's contributions were instrumental in establishing and maintaining the integrity of the program, which was recognized by the Joint Commission with the Ernest A. Codman Award in She assisted 35 other trauma programs across the country to evaluate and rebuild traumatic brain injury systems as part of the Adam Williams Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative from to She established a trauma nurse training program at Mission Hospital to ensure that nurses caring for these patients had the right knowledge to provide care to the most critical patients.

She organized and taught the first course in California and numerous courses from to at sites in Southern California. She interacted with hundreds of trauma nurses, providing education and ensuring competency in caring for trauma patients. While serving as a Trauma Program Manager, the quality review program at the hospital was often cited by the ACS as being exceptional.

She was encouraged to assist other programs outside Mission to help build processes to monitor trauma care. Connie's enthusiasm for trauma was evident when consulting for hospitals reevaluating their trauma program, or those establishing a new program. Her knowledge and expertise in trauma systems was essential in helping these centers on their journeys toward ACS accreditation.

As the Trauma Program Manager, Connie dedicated a large portion of her role to trauma prevention. After a devastating accident resulting in the deaths of five teenagers in the community in , Connie strengthened the Safe Rides program held at Mission Hospital. This program, created for high school-age adolescents, ensured a ride home if in the company of a peer who had been drinking or if the student was impaired-no questions asked! The Safe Rides program led to a two-third decrease in the incidence of alcohol-related trauma in that age group.

Connie assisted with the county-sponsored "mock crash" prevention program held at all local high schools.

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Students and parents simulated an accident at the school and acted out the crash's aftermath for the entire student body. The goal was to deter at-risk behaviors, which could lead to accidents. She also reached out to the community, identifying risk factors contributing to accidents and injuries. From her analyses, Connie helped to orchestrate prevention programs that reduced injuries in the community. Connie was a founding member of the Trauma Managers Association of California.


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  • This organization provided a network for trauma program managers across California to come together and build effective trauma programs. The Trauma Managers Association of California's mission was to improve trauma care through the development of a state trauma registry, work collaboratively with other health-related organizations, and provide trauma education activities for care providers as well as the lay people by promoting trauma injury prevention programs. Connie was committed to legislative efforts for trauma center funding as well as those reducing the risk for injuries in our communities.

    She traveled to the state capital on a monthly basis, working with physicians, nurses, and legislatures to ensure that trauma initiatives were high priorities for legislators.

    In Memoriam: Connie's Legacy

    She served on the steering committee for developing a future California statewide trauma system. These activities defined Connie's professional life, but it was her personal qualities that truly shined brightest. Connie's colleagues describe her with words such as inspirational, adventurer, innovator, mentor, relator, eternal optimist, and fun loving! Connie's nurse colleagues at Mission shared the following:. Connie had a natural ability to inspire others to be the best they can be. As a leader, she expected excellence, but instead of dictating, she provided support, challenges and responsibility.

    She helped those around her to think, see, and believe that anything was possible. She believed in excellence, and her passion for work and life naturally swept everyone right along with her. She was an inspiration for how we should all live our lives, how we treat each other, and how to enjoy each day.

    PHOTOS: TV star continues Connie's legacy in Mackay

    She had an inner sparkle that makes me smile just thinking about her. When I think back about people in my life, it was Connie that has inspired me to realize that life has endless possibilities. The quote "people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you make them feel" must have been written just for her. Connie always made everyone around her feel special.

    She had an uncanny ability to make the extraordinary appear normal and normal extraordinarily fun. Together we cared for patients while she oriented me to charting, and the culture of the unit.

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    Late at night Connie and I would sit side-to-side and talk endlessly about hopes, dreams and plans. I recall helping Connie to make a list of everything she wanted to do for her 30th birthday. She wanted to be occupied "every second of the day with fun things to do" so that she wouldn't have time to think about the big I remember her detailed birthday plans which began at 7 am and lasted until well after midnight. Samuel Johnson with his sister Connie in February Samuel has devoted the past few years to tirelessly raising money for cancer research.

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    In , the star of The Secret Life of Us and Molly announced that he was quitting acting to focus on full-time charity work, in support of Connie and others. At 38 years of age? Were you drunk? However he ignored her advice and established the Love Your Sister charity, which has since raised millions of dollars, and created an online community of supporters.

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    Connie and Sam Johnson as children. The end. The only part of the road in your life that must sadly be travelled alone. Connie watching Sam win the Gold Logie earlier this year.