It was definitely a process and certainly unplanned, but a freak accident led Arthur Williams to a new profession.
In 2017, he was playing basketball in Atlanta, Ga. When the normal sounds of the game were interrupted by a pop loud enough for all the players to hear, Arthur knew something was wrong. Sure enough, his Achilles tendon had ruptured. As the immobility began to take its toll, he left his position as the general manager of a fitness club and headed back to Elmira, N.Y. – his home – for surgery.
“When they were prepping me for surgery, the nurse, who I assumed was an anesthesiologist, was really comforting,” Arthur recalled. “I was surprised to hear that he was actually a registered nurse anesthetist. I’d never heard of this position before. He prayed over me, holding hands with members of my family before I went under the knife. It left a lasting impression on me.”
During recovery, Arthur researched the profession.
According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice registered nurses with graduate level education who enjoy a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. CRNAs provide anesthetics to patients in every practice setting, and for every type of surgery or procedure. They are the sole anesthesia providers in nearly all rural hospitals, and the main provider of anesthesia to the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Although he already held a liberal arts degree from SUNY CCC, the idea of helping someone through a difficult time – the opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face who is sick and dealing with a stressful time -- intrigued Arthur. And, he knew where he could get started.
“Corning’s professors are very personable,” Arthur said, explaining his decision to begin his journey to become a nurse anesthetist at SUNY CCC. “I’ve had a lot of instructors, and I still consider them friends. Corning has a culture that helps people succeed. They build relationships with students that help. They make themselves accessible.”
After graduating in May, Arthur expects to pursue his master’s degree or maybe a doctorate. He has developed a list of options, many of which are in Florida.
“The programs are highly competitive,” said Arthur. “We’ll see which one makes the most sense.”
“Arthur is an amazing and hard-working student,” said Krystal Jubilee, Director of the Nurse Education program at SUNY CCC. “I expect great things from him. Watching him dream and seeing him realize those dreams, is one of the reasons I do what I do. I am proud to have been part of his journey through our nursing program.”