From Cleaning Floors to Open Heart Surgeries

Many people who see him in the operating room monitoring patients and equipment during surgery don’t know about Anthony Williams’ previous career.

His powerful story of self-reliance and doing right by himself, his family and those around him unfolded in the hospital hallways of CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital.

Fresh out of high school, Williams was one of the youngest members of the hospital housekeeping team. He was a new dad and needed a job with insurance. While he kept the halls meticulous and patient rooms tidy, Williams began to witness his friends get advanced degrees. He couldn’t help but be a bit envious.

“I had always been mechanically inclined, so when I watched an acquaintance go through the surgical technologist program at the hospital, I set my sights on a new goal,” explained Williams. “I switched to the evening housekeeping shift so I could attend the program.”

Williams also switched his shift location. He would be responsible for cleaning the operating room suites, so he could watch through the window on how to properly hand instruments to the surgeon.  He would also come in early for shifts to watch sterile processing set up trays, so he could learn the instruments.

Williams’ attention to detail, working well under pressure and efficiency plus his completion of an accredited surgical first assistant program launched Williams right to the place he wanted to be and to get him a job title he couldn’t be prouder to hold. Williams is now  a highly requested surgical first assistant at CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital.

“There was one particular person who didn’t think I could do it, but I had a few nurses who believed in me. More importantly, I believed in myself and wasn’t going to let any negativity or hateful rhetoric stop me,” said Williams.

“I mean, from cleaning floors to open heart surgeries is crazy, but I’ve built a rapport with the surgeons here where they actually request me now. In this field, it has to be a calling. I didn’t choose this destiny; God chose it for me. I’m giving it 110 percent every time. Every morning, I pray for the hands of a surgeon. I’m not a surgeon, of course, but I pray for the hands of a surgeon. We are all here for a specific reason, and that reason is to help the patient. You can’t teach that, but maybe that just comes from my prayer in the morning.”