Florida Tech Alumni Delise Williams, ‘From Between the Baselines to the Front-Lines’
By Florida Tech Information Center // June 1, 2020
HOOPS STAR: tenacious defender and scorer during her four years at Florida Tech
MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – A tenacious defender and scorer during her four years at Florida Tech from 2014 to 2018, Delise Williams has taken her all-around game to help a new team in a different arena.
As an emergency department nurse at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Williams is among those on the frontlines helping to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic.
During her four seasons at Florida Tech, the point guard averaged 9.52 points, 3.90 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game while playing in 111 career games under head coach John Reynolds.
Williams led the Sunshine State Conference in steals during both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
In each of those years, she guided the Panthers to the SSC Tournament Championship Game, as well as a NCAA Tournament berth in 2015-16. As a senior in 2017-18, Williams was the team-leader in both points and steals.
Williams made the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll all four years at Tech and was named women’s basketball’s Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior.
After graduating from Florida Tech, Williams enrolled into the School of Nursing at The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.
She graduated from the nursing program this past December and began her career working at Grady Hospital just after the start of 2020.
Grady, the largest hospital in the state of Georgia and the fifth largest public hospital in the U.S., has seen a steady flow of COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began.
Delise Williams Q&A
Where have you been up to since graduating from Florida Tech?
“After Florida Tech, I went to nursing school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I graduated from Ole Miss this past December and now I am working in the emergency room at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Can you describe what a day looks like for you dealing with COVID-19?
“During my time working in the emergency department at Grady, I would say that we’re used to having a large volume of patients. The hospital is right in the heart of Atlanta. Any given time there could be upwards of 200 patients in the waiting room, and that was prior to Covid-19. So, we are used to the high number of people but it’s just the tediousness and the repetition when it comes to the protective equipment that we have to use.
“So, with every patient who is suspected of coronavirus reasons, which is probably 95% of the patients we are seeing now, we have to wear it when we go in and take it off when we come out and in a specific order. We keep it confined to a certain space so it’s not being transmitted to other patients or co-workers. On top of that, we have to wear a mask for our entire shaft, as soon as we step into the hospital. They have educated us very well on how to stay safe, so I will say that I’m personally not working in fear.”
What are the work schedules like for an emergency department nurse during a global pandemic?
“It’s actually normal to have a 12-hour shift as an emergency department nurse. It’s pretty rare to come across a nurse who only works an 8-hour shift here and there. Different hospitals have different schedules, but for my hospital nurses are required to work three days a week, 12-hour shifts. You can come in for more hours and of course during this pandemic they are asking anyone who’s willing to come in for extra days.
“Coming in for a fourth of fifth day in the week, it’s tiring but at the same time it’s not something that I look at negatively because I know there are people who have lost jobs or who can’t go to work. I have to be optimistic because I’m just happy that I’m in a career field in which my job is needed and I actually feel like I’m making a difference.”
As someone going into the hospital every day, dealing with patients, can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve seen and how this virus is impacting people’s lives?
“I’ve had good and bad experiences with patients who were COVID-positive. We’ve had patients who turn out okay and they are able to go on their way back to their families. Then there are the patients who are not so fortunate, and they end up on their deathbeds, basically. We have policies in place in which visitors are very limited. At the start of this we weren’t allowing visitors at all.
“So, we’ve had patients who were on their deathbed, dying around strangers, nurses or doctors, but they didn’t know us. Their wife couldn’t be there; their husband, children and friends can’t be there. So that part of it has been very unfortunate to experience. It was shocking to me when I first saw it happen. You feel helpless, you want to comfort them, and you can give them words but it’s not the same. The patient feels alone; family members feel like they couldn’t say good bye. It’s definitely the biggest negative out of this whole coronavirus thing that I can say I’ve experienced. It’s not a good feeling to have to sit there and watch. I am very grateful for the patients that pull through and make a full recovery.
“We’ve also had a couple of nurses who got a virus. We’ve had some of my old co-workers come into the emergency department via ambulance with the virus, and thankfully they have recovered and they’re back to work in the ER doing their thing and helping other people. Personally, I’ve been great. I’ve been healthy so far as well and hopefully it stays that way. I’m staying safe and using the protective equipment the way it’s supposed to be used.”
What have you been doing to cope during this pandemic?
“I have been coping with COVID-19 by venting when I need to my co-workers when necessary. We have all become close friends and we do that with each other every now and again just so things aren’t piling up inside of us. When I go home, I try to leave everything that happened at work, at work. I listen to some music, go for a run and get some fresh air. I make sure I call my family and my friends. Staying in contact with other people has really been helpful especially because of the social distancing and everything with everything being shut down for a while.”
Are there any lessons you learned from being a part of a college sports team that come into play during your day-to-day work?
“Being a member of a sports team has impacted my life in so many positive ways. It’s built my people skills, taught me how to work well together with people who have so many different personalities, communication, time management, and tolerance level. All of those qualities are there because of my time that I spent on a sports team. So, I’m forever grateful for that experience and that time in my life.”
What are some of your fondest memories of being a part of the Florida Tech women’s basketball team?
“I will say the bus rides and the post-game lunches and dinners with the team. Also, during the preseason we had conditioning at the beach, the beach runs, then we would go and even run stairs. Sometimes Coach Reynolds would invite us to his house afterwards and he would make us breakfast and then during the season he would invite us over for dinner.
“Those times at Coach’s house were some of the best times because we all got a chance to hang out and become a family. When you’re not on the court and you get to talk about personal stuff. Connect with each other on a deeper level and laugh with each other. Yeah, those were definitely times I’m always going to cherish.”
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