Shorter University Nursing Graduate Establishes ‘Take Care of Rome’
Shorter University graduate Loretta Williams “jumped in feet first” and was dependent on God on her quest to make a difference in the Rome community. As a nurse, she wanted to draw her passion for people and their health, which led her to create Take Care of Rome.
Take Care of Rome is a nonprofit organization that works to help the homeless and underprivileged with secondary and tertiary care provided through mobile services. The organization feeds the patients and educates them about health. Take Care of Rome nurses check the patients’ blood pressure, glucose, A1C and cholesterol levels, watching for signs of health conditions of which the patients may be unaware.
Williams, who is assistant director of nursing at Etowah Landing, was inspired to start Take Care of Rome when she volunteered at the Rome Community Kitchen and was told that the meal recipients needed a nurse. Williams wanted to wait until she obtained her Doctorate of Nursing Practice to create an organization for the community, but her dream became a reality sooner than she thought.
On Nov. 5, 2016, Williams held a health fair for the homeless and underprivileged at the Rome Community Kitchen and planned for it to be a one-time event with her friends and family as volunteers. Afterwards, Williams knew that there was more work to be done in the community and, from there, Take Care of Rome was born.
“The one common factor is that everybody knew me, and everybody knew my dream,” she said.
Williams has loved seeing the organization grow and helping new and returning clients; response has been positive with the February clinic attracting 15 clients in the first 15 minutes.
“I love being a nurse,” Williams said. “Being able to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves is rewarding.”
Williams said that the clients keep coming back and enjoy having someone to help them. She also added that the Rome community has been a great help with supporting, praying and donating. Churches and other organizations have partnered with Take Care of Rome to volunteer and plan events and Shorter’s nursing school wants to use Take Care of Rome as a clinical site.
“The crazy part is that I’m not even from here,” Williams said. “I’m from Louisiana. I’ve lived in Rome since 2011.”
Dr. Earl Kellett, chair of Shorter’s Department of Christian Studies, has volunteered with Take Care of Rome with his wife. The Kelletts provide support for other volunteers, serve food to patrons and offer spiritual counseling as opportunities arise.
“It is encouraging to see people come together to serve the Rome community, and it is equally encouraging to see the community respond to Loretta and the volunteer staff,” Kellett said. “We are privileged to be a part of Take Care of Rome.”
Williams believes she gained a great experience during her studies in Shorter’s Brady School of Nursing, which continues as nursing school faculty have helped her with Take Care of Rome. The nursing faculty was personable and supportive, she said, adding that she never gave up as she endured tough times while she was in the nursing school and had a powerful support system to help her.
Williams describes her life as “structured chaos” as she balances motherhood, work and Take Care of Rome. A single mother of six children, she aims to instill a servant’s attitude into her children and wants her children to bless others as much as possible.
“I don’t have to go overseas to serve,” Williams said. “We’re needed here. This is our backyard.”
Williams said she tries to encourage her peers and her children with her story. She said that her children had front row seats while seeing her successes and failures, hopefully learning as she glorified God through her struggles and never gave up.
“We can endure anything for a short period of time knowing that God is with us,” she said.
Williams is optimistic about Take Care of Rome’s future. She wants to transform Take Care of Rome into a free clinic for those who need it the most. She would also like to add more medical professionals as the organization grows.
“My vision is that we’re going to be a busy clinic one day,” Williams said. “That’s what God has put upon me.”
Williams said that she hopes to make Take Care of Rome a household name in Rome. She also hopes to continue to provide the clients with health education.
“God is going to make something great out of this place,” Williams said.
Williams is currently working on a dual master’s degree in nursing and business health administration. After she obtains her master’s degree, she plans on obtaining a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.
“I’m just a nurse trying to make a difference,” Williams said.
Written by Public Relations Student Writer Caleb Britt
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter University on its list of Best Southeastern Colleges. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and master’s programs. Learn more about Shorter at www.shorter.edu.