Student Pursues Nursing Career After Loss


REMEMBERING A FRIEND: Jennifer Williams, a licensed practical nurse at senior living community University Village, credits the start of her career in the health care industry to a commitment to honor the loss of a dear friend.

Courtesy Tulsa Tech

Jennifer Williams is quick to voice the happiness she feels working as a licensed practical nurse at University Village, one of the leading senior living communities in Tulsa.

Her successful career in the health care industry, however, began with sadness and a commitment to honor the loss of a dear friend.

“I lost my best friend, the lady I call my mother, to cancer while I was in school,” Williams says. “Her name was Frances Payne, she was also a nurse, and she was very important in my life at a time when I really didn’t have anybody.”

This successful wife and mother of five children credits Payne for changing her life forever.

“She was always so helpful but also very honest and direct,” Williams says. “She was always pushing me and encouraging me to get an education. Before she passed away, we visited every day.”

Williams decided that the best way to honor her friend and mentor was to follow in her path and begin attending nursing classes.

“I actually left another school to attend the practical nursing program at Tulsa Tech,” says Williams. “It was just a better environment during an incredibly difficult time, and all of my instructors were amazing, so I never questioned my decision.”

The rigorous program consists of either day or night classes, including theory, lab, and clinical experiences based on the National Healthcare Foundation Standards and Accountability Criteria (NHFSAC). The clinical component of the program provides experiences that allow students to apply skills learned in the classroom into various hospital and community settings. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to sit for the national licensing examination to become a licensed practical nurse ().

The program is demanding to be sure, but Williams had made a commitment.
“I was working full time at night and attending school full time during the day,” she says. “Everyone knew it was a difficult time, and they were so understanding. My instructors couldn’t have been more supportive, and I definitely wouldn’t have succeeded without their help.”

Williams’ duties as an at University Village include assessing and assisting residents, working with healthcare documentation, and scheduling doctor’s appointments. She feels her chosen career field is both rewarding and worthwhile.

“I always find it very rewarding to see the progress of our residents,” Williams says. “It just feels good to help care for someone and hopefully improve their health. I’m happy knowing that our residents are able to stay in their own homes, and we’re able to take care of their needs right where they are. One day I may continue my education to become a registered nurse, but for now I’m very happy with where I am.”

Thea Clark, R.N., and adjunct Instructor at Tulsa Tech, understands why students like Williams succeed in this fulfilling but also very demanding career field.

“Jennifer was a successful student who had already overcome many obstacles,” Clark says. “She is a very caring individual who always puts her patients first. I am proud of her and the things she’s been able to accomplish.”

Life seldom waits for our goals or accomplishments, and being a student while trying to say goodbye is extremely difficult. Tulsa Tech is proud of all of its faculty and staff members who help all students make their own path. In the case of Jennifer Williams, surely Frances Payne would be more than a little proud.

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, and a rewarding career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at

Updated 08-11-2014

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