Williams finds nursing 'very gratifying'

Jason Williams gained an interest in medicine and helping people after his younger brother began having seizures shortly after birth.

“I can remember wanting to grow up and find a cure for this (epileptic) disorder so that my brother could have a normal life,” Williams said. “However, the older I became, I came to terms and accepted his condition.

“The many nights that were spent at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) watching the staff care for him made me want to provide the same care to someone else.”

Williams went on to attend Henderson State University’s School of Nursing and graduated in 2009.

Today, he works as a Registered Nurse at ACH in pediatric ICU while waiting to be credentialed for hospital privileges. Once credentialed, he will serve as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse for ACH’s burn unit.

“I was not familiar with Henderson. I had my sights set on going where my high school friends were going,” he said. “Bruce Moore, who my mom worked with during her time with the City of Little Rock, recommended that I attend Henderson because it was a great school. Looking back, this was a great decision and I have him to thank for this.”

Moore is a Henderson graduate and a member of the Henderson Board of Trustees. He currently serves as Little Rock’s city manager.

After graduation, Williams went to work for Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) as a burn technician. He transitioned to a Registered Nurse a year later.

“While in the burn unit, I took on research projects that allowed me to present at both the local and national level,” he said. “In 2013, I transitioned to the Special Staffing Team. This department works in all of the inpatient units in the hospital with the goal of filling departmental needs for a nurse.

Williams also trained to become an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation specialist (ECMO), a highly trained individual who cares for the “sickest of the sick.” He is one of only about 30 ECMO specialists in the state, with only a “handful” working at ACH.

Last year, Williams began Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing master’s program and graduated recently with his Master of Science in Nursing specializing as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

“I recently sat for both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program and the American Nurses Credentialing Center Certification and passed both,” he said. “My future goal is to obtain my Doctor of Nursing Practice with an expectation to start in August 2017.

“Another goal of mine is to become a nursing instructor on the undergraduate and possibly graduate level.”

Williams said his nursing degree from Henderson has been “one of the best decisions I made as a young adult. Nursing has afforded me the opportunity to travel to various places for both professional and leisure activities. I also have job security, as well as many opportunities within the field to explore.”

Williams said he recommends Henderson State to anyone considering a career in nursing and offered this advice:

“I encourage current students to speak with an advisor about the details of the program and steps they should take to obtain a nursing degree,” he said. “I would also recommend students find a mentor in the field.

"Nursing is one of the hardest degrees to obtain. Having someone who has been where you are and to offer encouragement can be very beneficial.”

Nursing is a profession that has been very rewarding for Williams.

“I enjoy helping people and the interaction I share with the patient and their families. It feels good taking care of a sick patient and watching their health improve and eventually discharge from the hospital,” he said. “It’s very gratifying when I gain a parent’s trust in caring for their child and witnessing the health of a child improve.

“I have taken care of some really awesome kids and met great people from those families. I also work with some great colleagues.”

Williams credited the support he received from Henderson’s Student Support Services and the McNair Scholars Program, along with the School of Nursing, for helping shape his successful career.

He urged current and future students to “push yourself and continue your education as far as you can. And always give back and open the doors for those who are coming behind you."