Serving from the Heart
Dr. Beverly Williams-Coleman is going one step further in her efforts to create healthy and thriving communities.
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Beverly spends her professional hours as a family nurse practitioner and an assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Nursing. While she has always volunteered outside the work day, the COVID-19 pandemic provided her a unique opportunity to step up her volunteering role with the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA).
She began first by administering vaccines in a partnership between KNA and the Louisville Metro Health Department. She was then asked to help train injectors and coordinate the various moving parts of the drive-thru vaccination program. As drive-thru vaccinations waned, Beverly was part of a group of leaders who began figuring out how to reach out to the community and promote vaccinations among those who were uncertain or had barriers that kept them from easily accessing vaccines. “[We started] with those communities that had lower vaccine rates. We hit the community hard with our presence,” she says.
“Historically, a nurse is a trusted professional. Getting in the community you represent is critical because you’re building that trust. When you go into these black and brown communities, they want to see people that look like them,” Beverly says. She and her colleagues have had to acknowledge people’s concerns and explain the science of vaccines in a way that the lay person can understand.
“Nursing is not just in a facility or hospital. We have to be available throughout the community,” Beverly says. The COVID pandemic has reminded her why she became involved in nursing to begin with. “I like to serve the community; I like to help others. You can’t look for a pat on the back. You do it because that’s what in your heart to do,” she says.
With that being said, the bright spots of her volunteering in the past year have been when individuals return to a community vaccine event and let her know they have been vaccinated. “They’re like, ‘I’m so glad I got this. Thank you so much for being here.’ That is priceless,” she says.
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