Lisa Parker Williams’ Story

Lisa has her BSN with an MBA in risk management, CCM, CMSA, and is a current DNP student.

Lisa currently is employed with Horizon BC/BS as a case care transformation coach.

Her volunteer experience started as a class assignment with NJAC and has continued ever since. She first volunteered with the Conversation of Your Life (COYL) program which sparked an interest in end of life care which in turn encouraged her to stay on with the program, because there is a true need to have the discussion [about end of life care]. The COYL program is a community outreach program to discuss end of life planning; such as advance directives, the options a person has, and how to have a conversation with your family regarding your wishes. Also, how to document your wishes and make your wishes known to your health care team.

Lisa said that through her DNP project, which she carried out in her New Jersey county, she realized there was a need for more programing in her community. She was just beginning to set up a COYL program when the COVID -19 pandemic hit. It is on hold for now.

Lisa noted it’s nice to get to work with an organization when you are in school and are introduced to the programs. From there she recommends to: “find your niche and continue to give back”. Lisa feels that as nurses we need to help each other, and we need to grow our community, which can be done when nurses provide community outreach.

By volunteering in an organization as a student, you give so much as a nurse that the other volunteers truly appreciate the nursing perspective. This was especially true for the COYL panels that are made up of lawyers, funeral directors, and social workers, but the nursing perspective was missing. Nurses from hospitals, nursing homes, or the community setting bring an understanding of, this is what the patient may also be feeling, this is what your loved one maybe feeling. I think we [nurses] bring that experience to the forefront and we are allowed to voice it in away that we are not stepping on someone else’s toes. Lisa found this experience very rewarding, that’s why she decided to stay on.

Through the COYL program Robyn Kohn from the Alzheimer’s Association reached out to her asking for help in their organization. She didn’t think she would like working with the Alzheimer’s Association, but Robyn explained that she needed help with their virtual programs and she thought “okay, I can do that”. With the Alzheimer’s Association there are several different programs available virtually that you get trained in, then you run a virtual meeting, Yesterday was her first virtual meeting for caregivers. She noted that “I learned a lot and am very excited to participate in the virtual meetings. The meetings provide the potential for a lot of discussion and feedback; to see how the caregivers are living and surviving; and to give the caregivers tools. It was rewarding to speak, hear, and learn from the caregivers”. “When we get to the caregivers out in the community, they really want someone to listen to them”!

Advice: Look to something that stirs your interest, and go for it, try it. Initially, try to volunteer, there so many opportunities, try one, and if that one doesn’t do it for you try another until you find your passion. For the nurses out there find something, we are all busy, we all say I don’t have the time, but we have more time than we actually think; especially when you finish school!