Michael Williams has had a long successful journey, from being the first undergraduate to be accepted to work in an Intensive Care Unit to officially becoming the director and an associate professor of the School of Nursing at Eastern Michigan University.
“Nursing is not for cowards; every single nurse is a leader at the bedside,” Williams said.
While growing up nursing was never a major career interest for Williams until his sophomore year of college when he worked as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home.
“I grew up knowing one nurse,” Williams said. “I never knew what a nurse really did until I had the exposure in the nursing home and said ‘I really like this.”
Williams had already obtained a bachelors degree in science from Michigan State University in 1982. Shortly thereafter he decided to change his career and then went to Lansing Community College in 1984 to obtain his associates degree in nursing. He then started working in the ICU for two years at Ingham Medical Center. He switched units and learned open heart surgery care.“I loved every minute of nursing school,” Williams said. “As stressful, demanding, and scary as it was.”
Williams went on to receive his master’s degree from Grand Valley State University in 1989 after being accepted into the program which allowed him to take courses without his bachelors degree in science and nursing. From there he became a doctoral candidate from the University of Michigan in 2008.
Throughout all of the years of schooling, Williams did not encounter any major obstacles educationally except for one. Discrimination.
“The biggest issue for me I would say is the discrimination against men in nursing.” Williams said. “Today the discrimination is very covert, very subtle, but it still exists.”
Williams began teaching at EMU in 1998. Being an educator is a very time consuming role, but it did not hold him back. Williams likes to teach others and share the knowledge he has because he has a passion for his career.
“I admire his passion for nursing.” secretary Danielle Moreau said.
Williams also works as a nurse at Chelsea hospital in addition to his duties as director of the nursing program and his time teaching in class. Williams claims that no two days are the same and that is exactly what he loves about his role. There is a lot of strategic planning and dreaming that goes into this career path and it is right up his ally.
“Williams is personable and bright,” Moreau said. “I’m amazed at how many things he juggles.”
The School of nursing has its strengths and weaknesses in Williams’ eyes. The major strengths are the phenomenally knowledgeable faculty and the outstanding students. As for the weakness, Williams claims it is simply that the department is expanding so fast that there is not enough room for all the students they wish they could accept.
Knowing that there are many nurses following his path, there is one thing he would like to share with them.
“Embrace your role as a nurse and truly with your whole being become the nurse you want to be,” Williams said. “Embrace your leadership.”
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