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Alumni Spotlight: 3 Questions with Jillian Williams


Author Katelyn Nolan | Publish Date February 25, 2020

Jillian Williams graduated from the UCAN Accelerated BSN Program in 2015 from the University of Colorado College of Nursing. Jillian is a pediatric relief charge nurse and outpatient infusion nurse at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado as well as a home care nurse for Tender Care Pediatric Services in Loveland, Colorado.

What drew you to nursing?

From the beginning, my parents have always supported me with all of my endeavors, from my first Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio to my interest in pursuing a degree in nursing. It was easy for them to see me as a nurse due to my innate ability to always want to care for others. To say they were proud of me when I was accepted to CU is an understatement because of how competitive the UCAN program is.  

Upon entry to the program, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in pediatric nursing to be able to help this unique and resilient population while enhancing my critical thinking skills and serve in an interdisciplinary team. I started caring for an exceptional little girl named Emma. She was born with Down Syndrome and is intelligent, funny, and truly one-of-a-kind. Until I cared for her, I didn’t realize the profound impact that can be made by caring for a pediatric patient. Emma is remarkable. Because of her, I have found that most pediatric patients are going to need things explained further or their assessments may be more difficult to complete, but those challenges make it so fulfilling to be a part of pediatric nursing and why I love being a pediatric nurse. I’ve learned that there is something special about children with disabilities – they are so much more than their diagnoses.  

How was your time at CU College of Nursing?

My time as a nursing student at CU provided me with an excellent academic foundation, but some of my favorite memories were in the SIM lab. The instructors always strived to make us feel comfortable in the clinical setting. From my first med surg clinical at the Medical Center of the Rockies, I felt incredibly prepared and owe my readiness to my instructors. CU College of Nursing is different; I learned the fundamentals of nursing while simultaneously acquiring the skills necessary to develop my bedside manner, which set CU students apart from others. Communicating with the patients and their families thoroughly is incredibly important in providing the best and safest patient care. I prematurely developed my bedside manner as a student at CU and refined it during my first job as a new graduate nurse at Children’s Hospital Colorado while completing the new graduate residency program. 

Children’s Hospital is well respected locally, statewide, and nationally for providing exceptional pediatric care. It was important for me to have the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment such as Children’s, with a variety of specialties to learn and grow from and to engage in evidence-based practice with an emphasis on patient-centered care. I was passionate to do everything possible to obtain this guidance to optimize the safest outcomes for my patients. I knew that the UCAN program at CU would be challenging and that it would prepare me to be stronger and further my abilities to balance many things at once, which is key for being a successful nurse. I especially loved my time at CU because just a few months into the program, a classmate and dear friend introduced me to my now-husband (who is also a CU alumnus).

What inspires you in this profession?

Through my practice, I have found pediatric nursing to be rewarding, challenging, and demanding regarding intellectual and emotional capacity, which are qualities that represent the career I have always envisioned for myself. As a passionate and goal-driven individual, I have discovered that in this profession, I am able to strengthen and broaden my abilities of practice by clear communication and individualized needs, while adopting skills from others that I learn by observation and implementation. I believe that my experiences at Children’s Hospital and now Poudre Valley Hospital have made me a well-rounded, adaptive nurse in a high demand work environment. I have the unique opportunity to shape pediatric nursing through quality patient-centered care. Children are naturally resilient  and incredibly forgiving. Even moments after a painful procedure, they are smiling again and want to go back to playing. This is what inspires me. Difficult tasks, critical situations and, recognition motivate me to be a better nurse. To date, in my career I have received three DAISY Foundation nominations from patients I have cared for. It’s incredibly special to me to be in this caring profession that I find rewarding and look forward to every day. 

Where do you see your career going from here?

Currently, I am loving my role at Poudre Valley Hospital. It keeps me on my toes and allows me to apply my critical thinking skills while managing the everyday needs of the unit and my fellow nurses. At Poudre Valley Hospital, I have the ability to further my knowledge and am now PALS or Pediatric Advanced Life Support certified as well as APHON or Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses certified to administer chemotherapy. In the future, I’d like to pursue a master’s degree in health care administration or education to one day allow me to pursue a management role. To be a great leader, I believe that understanding the everyday struggles of a bedside nurse is imperative and I plan to implement my knowledge and experience at the bedside to improve the system of nursing care.