While Mark T. Williams, ’04, spent more than 40 years working as a psychiatric nurse and tending to people with severe and persistent mental illnesses (SPMI), he never had any desire to become a doctor. Williams understood the inherent value of being a nurse.
“People would frequently ask me, ‘When are you going to become a doctor?'” recalls Williams. “They only saw nursing as a stepping stone, but I know I was meant to be a nurse. I love connecting with patients, praying with their families and thoroughly explaining the doctor’s instructions.”
Despite being passionate about assisting those with mental health problems, Williams insisted he would never return to school after earning his Associates Degree in Nursing. In fact, he even swore to his supervisor that he would attend workshops or conferences, but he’d never earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Less than a year later, he went back to school after discovering the College of Saint Elizabeth’s BSN program.
“I just got frustrated that I wasn’t able to do more in regards to helping people,” explains Williams. “I needed to advance my education so I could affect policy. My education not only helped me clinically, but it also enabled me to travel in circles with people who can affect legislation.”
As a male in the nursing field, Williams feels strongly about advocating for other men to join his ranks. He firmly believes in breaking down the barriers of gender discrimination because it plays no role in the quality of care a person can provide.
“There are no male nurses or female doctors, there are just doctors and nurses,” says Williams. “Men are just as capable as women of empathy and we need more men in the nursing field.”
Recently, Williams was recognized for his commitment to healthcare. He was awarded the Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award by the Bridgeway Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services of Elizabeth and the Community Nurse of the Year Award by the Concerned Black Nurses of Newark!
Mary Colleen Robinson has a communication degree with a concentration in journalism and is currently working as the PR/Social Media Specialist at the College of Saint Elizabeth