Community heroes: 'You instantly see the rewards'

·3 min read

Aug. 28—It can be difficult to know where you will end up when choosing to go into nursing. But, as the Cold Springs' school nurse, Kaci Williams considers herself fortunate to be treating more than patients. She is able to treat her friends, family and neighbors.

Williams was born and raised in Cold Springs. She graduated from Cold Springs High School in 1998. She met her husband there. Her mother worked in the lunchroom and her father was the custodian, she says that she remembers occasions when he would suddenly appear from around corners to catch her and her friends talking when they should have been in class. Now, her three children are enrolled there. So when Williams was offered the position, it was an answered prayer.

"I started nursing in 2008, and so immediately I started subbing at the school as a nurse. and then I did get on at Cullman Regional, but while I was there I would still sub when I was available. Then, I got this job in the spring of 2016 and it was really neat how it worked out. I always prayed that — I have three kids — and I always prayed that I would get this job when my final kid started kindergarten and I got it the spring before she started," she said.

At first Williams said that it was intimidating transitioning from a hospital setting, where she could rely on the expertise of her fellow nurses and doctors, to suddenly shouldering the entire weight of her job's responsibility.

"Going from a place where if I needed help, there were people around you if something went wrong. There were doctors. You had that medical support system, and to come here and I'm everything medical. Any type of question, no matter what it is, you know ... I'm it. and then, of course, if anything goes bad ... I'm it," she said.

But Williams soon began to realize that she wasn't alone, and that the tight knit community she had belonged to her entire life were ready to provide her with any assistance they could offer. She said that many of the Cold Springs staff are CPR certified, and that the one other nurse on campus has always been more than willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Williams was even able to briefly walk the halls of her alma mater alongside her parents once again — this time as co-workers — before they both retired.

"It was nice being back and knowing everybody, and then on top of that, getting to use my profession with people that I know and love. You know, it was a nice thing," she said.

She began to enjoy developing relationships with her patients — who were now her children's friends and her former classmate's children. She was able to ask them about Friday night's football games and their band competitions because, while Williams is able to treat broken bones and administer stitches when needed, sometimes all children need is a little love and a band aid.

"Band aids make kids feel better. Your time, maybe they just needed some extra love today, or just some extra attention. Maybe their parents were busy and this little problem got ignored or they didn't bring it up. Maybe it's Monday and they got off on the wrong foot. So, just that little extra encouragement, you instantly see the rewards of that," Williams said.