For Williams, returning to college, GTCC for RN degree was all about making life better for her ‘babies’

Published on: October 27, 2021
GTCC Nursing student graduate Rahchelle Williams holding her nephew.

Rahchelle Williams has an amazingly difficult job. She cares for medically fragile children in home settings, children who would probably be hospitalized if not for Williams and others like her.

“It takes a toll,” Williams says of the work she has done since first becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) more than a decade ago.

For the past five years or so, she has added college to her already full schedule, first at Guilford Technical Community College and then the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

She completed the LPN to associate degree nursing bridge program at GTCC, to become a registered nurse (RN) shortly after in 2019 and then recently received her bachelor’s in nursing science from UNCG.

Williams had long wanted to return to school to become an RN. In fact, she had made multiple attempts.

“This was my third attempt, so I guess the third time is the charm,” said Williams, who is originally from New Jersey. “I tried once to go for it when I was 17, and then I tried to get it the second time in Virginia after I had become an LPN.

“This time I wanted to push myself a little more, take a few classes and see how it went. The environment at GTCC was so welcoming and intimate, and one staff member (Frankie Lane) was so helpful … I witnessed her just helping anybody she could even if they weren’t assigned to her. Because of that, I said ‘I’m going to do it this time.’”

Williams took advantage of GTCC’s LPN to RN bridge program, which cut her school time in half, from four years to two. It was a challenging curriculum, she said, but one that she attacked.

“Because it was so welcoming, I dove right in. Once I got into the program it was very challenging. I wasn’t expecting that,” said Williams. “If I knew it was going to be that challenging, I may not have dove in. The new technology, that was a whole new field itself.

“But because GTCC is so small, so welcoming, it immediately made me feel like I could do it.”

Williams said faculty and staff “shepherded her” through difficult parts and made the experience much more manageable.

“There were a whole slew of professors and faculty that nurtured me every step of the way. There are so many people that I have to thank to get me through this program.”

The driving force behind Williams’ exerted effort in the RN program was the fragile, at-risk children she cares for, the ones she calls her “babies.”

“I’ve said this a million times: I was there to master my craft. Everything I knew as an LPN intensified,” she said. “My whole goal was to master my craft, to get better at what I was doing. I take care of medically fragile children, and this has helped me understand them so much better.

“They have chronic conditions. Without the work I do, they would be in hospitals.”

While all front-line workers and patients have been under duress during the pandemic, Williams’ situation was unusually stressful and challenging for all involved.

“It has been so difficult during COVID. A lot of my children look for that facial expression and coming in with all that gear on … that was tough on my babies. It was a big adjustment. I did the best I could do,” said Williams, who uses reading, walking and yoga to decompress from her job.

Williams, who hopes to soon start on a master’s degree in nursing, has become one of GTCC’s biggest, most passionate ambassadors.

“Whenever I run into another LPN I say, ‘you have to go back.’ I tell them the technology is the hardest part, but it is so rewarding at GTCC. I tell them GTCC is the place.”

For more about the GTCC nursing program, visit

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