Johanna in graduation robes.Johanna with husband standing next to a red barn.


Johanna Voorhees Hennenfent, '16

Alumnus Snapshot:


Husband: Phil Hennenfent

Parents: Clay and Vicki Voorhees and brother, David and Hayley Voorhees (Owen, Tate, Jase and Elin); In-Laws Pat and Kim Hennenfent, Brother-In-Law Scott and Katie Hennenfent (Ella and Oliver), Brother-In-Law David Hennenfent 


2004 Graduate of ROWVA High School

Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Augustana College, 2008

Associate Degree, RN from Carl Sandburg College, 2016


OSF St Mary Medical Center Emergency Department

Community Involvement:

AO&W (Altona, Oneida, Wataga) Ambulance Service

Prairie Drifters Snowmobile Club, Knox County Sheriff's Department Snowmobile Search and Rescue Team

Rebecca Parke Chapter of NSDAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)


Johanna's experience at Sandburg helped her find focus in her career. In her own words, read how she found her way into the field of nursing:

I had known for years that I wanted to be in the medical field and make a difference, but didn't decide until my junior year at Augustana that I wanted to seriously consider nursing.  After graduating, I came back home and worked for Dr. John McClean at his Oncology/Hematology office for several years before I enrolled in the nursing program at Sandburg. Sandburg didn't necessarily change the trajectory of my life, but rather helped me to refine and hone my focus.

During my time there I was challenged to grow and strive for more, and to push myself beyond the valuable experience and knowledge I had already gained through my 6 previous years as a basic EMT and a medical assistant at Dr. McClean's office.  Everyone from the advisory staff to the nursing instructors and clinical staff stressed and encouraged hard work and displaying the utmost respect for ourselves and the entire nursing profession.


Sandburg is an institute of higher learning that brings many students together from all different stage of life. Some of Johanna's favorite memories while in the nursing program include that diversity, joined together by the common thread of learning.

My favorite memories on campus consist of time with my fellow classmates, of all ages and backgrounds coming together, forming lasting friendships.  While we all struggled with different aspects of the profession personally, we came together every day to support and build each other up.  We spend a great deal of time in all the skills and computer labs, as well as get practicing, studying, laughing, sometimes crying, and laughing a lot more.


Sandburg alumni are making a difference on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Johanna's line of work specifically, she and her colleagues are readying themselves for the local impact. 

COVID 19 has forever changed the face of medicine. I hope the outlook of the not only the nation, but the world, will gain a greater respect for the value of human life and the quality of that life.

Thankfully, we have not yet seen the extreme conditions locally as our partners in other states have, but we are constantly on guard for this to happen. The emergency department and emergency services (EMS) are the first line of defense for everyone else. We have been becoming more aware of processes that we are doing well and things we are prepared for and others that we have not and are trying to adjust accordingly. 

Personally, we are all exhausted from the anticipation and constant preparations we are making and then adjusting to.  We are sad seeing our counterparts in other states struggling without proper equipment and becoming sick and dying themselves. We are frustrated beyond belief that people are NOT STAYING HOME!!  We miss our families terribly! Like many of my co-workers, I have family members with conditions that put them at higher risk. I have not been in contact with ANY of my family for the last 3 weeks (or more) for fear of passing it on to any of them. I see my co-workers and my husband, but I am even careful at home and have distanced from my husband in our own home so I don't put him or the people that he serves food to via our business at Henn House Barbeque Catering and Food Truck at risk.  

I feel like we are all as prepared as we can be for now.  We will always need more supplies, that is a given.  My education has helped give me a solid base to better understand the ever-changing medical landscape, but experience is the ultimate education in any part of the medical field.  You can read all the books the library has to offer on how a patient with a specific condition will present, but you will never forget what they actually looked or sounded like in the moment.  You must learn to adapt and "roll with it" in any situation you are presented with.  That is what medicine is, especially emergency medicine. You evaluate what you are presented with and treat accordingly based on that presentation, history, and previous evidence-based practice, however new that evidence and information may be.