Year of the Nurse Scholarship Recipient
Growing up in Jamaica, life for Nadia Williams wasn’t always easy. An early memory had a significant impact—that of waiting with her diabetic mother in an hours-long line at a public health clinic for medical supplies only to be turned away with nothing. “Seeing my mom not receive treatment she needed awakened something in me to change this situation for underserved communities,” says Nadia. “It made me want to go into healthcare myself and make a difference somehow.”
As soon as she graduated high school at 16, Nadia went to Northern Caribbean University, graduating with the BSN in 2004. She started her nursing career as a staff nurse in telemetry and pediatric/geriatric departments. The year 2006 brought Nadia to the United States with her fiancé—the couple moved to Maryland. “I was preparing for the NCLEX and working in home healthcare,” she says. She also earned a Master of Health Science with an emphasis in community health—drawing on her experience with public health in Jamaica—from Towson University in Maryland.
In 2011, Nadia and her husband moved to Florida to be near family. She joined HCA Healthcare’s Florida Hospital in Tampa in 2011 as a neurology/telemetry RN. Since then, she has worked at four other hospitals in the system. “I have had so many opportunities to grow and learn at HCA,” she says. “I’ve done wound care and quality management and was the director of quality and an infection control preventionist for a while at Tampa Community Hospital. It’s been great to do new things and become sort of a ‘jack of all trades.’” Until December 2019, Nadia worked as an infection preventionist at Oak Hill Hospital.
Defining her future path
Throughout most of her career at HCA Healthcare, Nadia has worked in the realm of quality, and infection control came into the fold in 2016. “I started thinking about myself going forward and realized how important it is for different areas of an organization to come together as partners,” she says. “How do operations correlate with infection control, and how does that correlate with quality?”
Nadia felt that her background in infection prevention and control as well as quality might make her a great candidate for jobs on the operations side of the hospital. The qualifier for such a role at HCA Healthcare is an MBA degree, so Nadia began researching programs.
Finding American Sentinel University’s MBA Healthcare
In 2019, colleagues of Nadia’s at Oak Hill Hospital encouraged her to explore American Sentinel University, where several employees were also students. “I liked the flexibility, and it was great that the university came recommended,” she says. She enrolled in August and found the MBA Healthcare course work to be relatable, useful and high quality. “The education is very thorough and I’m impressed with the amount of content students we learn in eight weeks. I’ve had a lot of ‘wow’ moments where I realize that something we’ve always just done in the hospital has important reasons behind it.”
Year of the Nurse Scholarship
Shortly after applying for the Year of the Nurse Scholarship in fall 2020, Nadia learned that she was a recipient. “Honestly, the process of applying had such an impact on me because I found myself reflecting a lot on why I am a nurse and who I have become,” she says. “Receiving this scholarship was really special. I appreciate the financial help, and the whole process made me realize that I have a place at St. Petersburg Hospital and that pursuing the MBA Healthcare was a very good decision.”
Goals for an Executive Residency Program
When Nadia graduates with her MBA Healthcare in 2021, she intends to apply to HCA Healthcare’s one-year Executive Residency Program. The program offers exposure to executives, leaders, peers, and business and community leaders and will put Nadia on the path toward leadership in her own career. She could also see herself earning a doctorate one day.
A rewarding career
Nadia says she’s glad she chose nursing as her career. “There’s nothing more rewarding than partnering with a patient to improve their health,” she says. “Healthcare is an excellent career and I’m very happy with the choice I made. I feel like I can make an impact.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel is celebrating by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Several scholarships are awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to this quarter’s recipients. Learn more and apply here.
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