Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) Ayanna Williams truly cares about her co-workers.
“There’s a joy in helping people, and my career has been rewarding,” she said. “Every day, you know you’ve made someone feel better.”
While she initially desired to be a hairstylist, William’s aunt, Corliss Geter, and her stories about nursing inspired her studies at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 2000.
Williams was hired by St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, Illinois, shortly thereafter and went on to earn her master’s degree in 2012 from Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri.
During her nearly 23-year career, Williams has worked in inpatient rehabilitation and as a well baby nurse, along with being an OHN for Alton & Southern Railway. She believes the latter responsibility allows her to have a positive influence on an institutional level.
“I get to help a lot of people,” she said.
As she’s the Belt’s first OHN, Williams said she will perform many duties in-house that were previously done elsewhere, such as regulatory exams. She’ll also provide injury management relating to both on- and off-duty injuries; manage leave and oversee the new light-duty program, which allows employees to work until they’re able to return to normal duties. Williams called the program a “win-win.”
Additionally, she will teach CPR and lead health initiatives, which may include fun exercise and weight loss competitions.
She points to the tightknit nature of the Belt as one of its best features.
“It’s family-oriented,” Williams said. “I’m excited to get the program up and going. I᾿m happy to be here and start being a benefit to employees.”
Away from work, Williams enjoys spending time with family and friends, along with reading and traveling.