A Conversation with Stanford Children’s Health Nurse Leader Kim Williams

Her commitment to nursing excellence, leading by example, and having a mindset of humble inquiry.

Kim Williams has worked nearly 30 years in the health care industry—two decades of which she has devoted to the nursing profession. “It’s my calling, it truly is my gift,” she says.

Nurse Kim Williams shares her perspective on being a leader.
Williams says her greatest quality as a nurse leader is the ability to inspire and empower her teams to collaborate, communicate, and work together to provide the highest quality care patients need and deserve. 

Over the course of her career, Williams has had the unique experience of working in every position, starting as the front desk secretary at a children’s health system in Texas, transitioning into nursing after attending Texas Christian University, and then climbing the ranks into her present role in nurse leadership at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. The journey influenced her servant-leader approach to management, and today she is a self-described partner to the 180 nurses she leads in the Bass Childhood Cancer Center.

“I see myself in a role that allows me to grow leaders and facilitate all the wonderful work that they’re doing,” Williams says.

Williams offers those she mentors a transparent and inclusive work environment, where nurses can voice their perspectives. She encourages collaboration across the organization. Above all else, Williams encourages nurses to be their authentic selves.

Championing diversity, equity, and inclusion

Williams is committed to promoting and developing a diverse workforce that “goes beyond the color of our skin,” and embraces the unique qualities that everyone brings to the table.

“One of my biggest regrets is that more times than not, there is no one with a seat at the table who looks like me,” Williams says. “One of the key roles of a leader is to foster an environment that that is diverse, inclusive, equal, and where individuals are always valued, admired and appreciated. 

Last year Williams was asked to join the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Governance Council and Committee at Stanford Children’s Health—a group that works in alignment with the Stanford Medicine Commission on Justice and Equity. Formation of the Committee was motivated in part by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, and while DE&I work at the organization did not start because of these events, it renewed a sense of urgency to have more meaningful discussions.

As Williams reflects upon the events of the last year, and the contributions of leaders honored during Black History Month, she is inspired by civil rights leader John Lewis. “His saying was ‘Let’s get into good trouble,’” Williams says. Good trouble is interrupting the pattern of unfavorable actions that often lead to unconscious bias.  Rosa Parks inspired the adage when she refused to give up her seat. A disciple of non-violence, Lewis taught that when a person has transformative ideas, they should not allow those ideas to go unnoticed. Instead, they should push those ideas until others get on board.

Serving the needs of patients

Williams’ dedication to DE&I extends beyond her commitment to support underrepresented voices within the organization, and includes advocating for the needs of children in her charge. Before joining Packard Children’s, Williams played a crucial role in the development of a diversity council at a children’s health system in Fort Worth, Texas, to address health disparities and access to world class care for Hispanic, Black, and Latinx communities. Williams continues this work today, and is committed to understanding the needs of the children and families she serves.

“When caring for high touch families we all should be able to deliver quality care,” Williams says of those in her nursing organization. “Each member of the team should be well versed in how to communicate and care for those with backgrounds different from our own,” she adds. These efforts go beyond calling for a translator when addressing a language barrier, or relying on one member of the team to broker cultural understanding and communication.

Her proudest moment

Williams says supporting and inspiring her team is what continues to motivate her. And she couldn’t be more proud of their work.

“A few months ago I was able to step away for a bit of a vacation–and no one knew I was gone,” Williams says. “My team continued the work, continued their leadership. That for me is just one example of what inspires me to lead teams and continue contributing to the nursing profession.”

At Stanford Children’s Health we need caring, committed people on our team – like you. Join our Magnet-recognized nursing organization at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Explore open positions: careers.stanfordchildrens.org.

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One Response to “A Conversation with Stanford Children’s Health Nurse Leader Kim Williams”

  1. vincent pena

    Kim is a true leader in our organization and profession. I am excited to celebrate her success and passion in our community.

    Reply

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