Entry-Level Experience Leads to Career Opportunities for Former Hospital Transporters

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Are you looking to make a difference in people’s lives through a healthcare career? An entry-level position can be the first step toward discovering a wide range of career opportunities in healthcare.

Beginning as Hospital Transporters

Two Parkwest employees, Bri Williams and Abby Bullock, began their careers as hospital transporters. Transporters use wheelchairs and gurneys to move patients from one area of the hospital to another, making sure patients and their loved ones are safe and comfortable along the way.

Headshot of Brianna Williams
Bri Williams started working at Parkwest Medical Center as a hospital transporter in 2018. She continued her education with tuition assistance from Covenant Health, and she now works as a nurse in the Interventional Radiology department at Parkwest.

Bri Williams started working at Parkwest in 2018. “I applied to Parkwest at the same time I was accepted into nursing school, so I figured it was a great introduction,” she says. “As a transporter, you see the entire hospital. You visit inpatient floors and escort the patients to radiology, GI lab, dialysis, and to discharge. The biggest benefit is getting to know the inner workings of a hospital system.”

“I worked as a transporter for a year before transferring to the floor as a student nurse associate,” Williams says. “That exposed me to what it was like to be working at the bedside.”

Moving into a Nursing Career

Williams received her associate degree from Roane State Community College in 2020 and is finishing her bachelor’s degree in nursing this spring. Covenant Health offers tuition assistance for many clinical degree programs and provided financial support for Williams’ education.

After earning her associate degree, she worked in the critical care unit at Parkwest for one year, then transferred to interventional radiology.

“In interventional radiology, we perform minimally invasive procedures using fluoroscopy,” she says. Fluoroscopy is a type of X-ray that shows images moving in real time. “My role is to give patients moderate sedation and take care of them during and after procedures like port placements, thrombectomies or biopsies.”

“I hope my patients feel comfortable, taken care of, and informed of what’s going on with them,” Williams says. “Even as a transporter, I wanted everyone I interacted with to feel they were treated with respect and dignity.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, as long as I can remember,” says Williams. “And at Parkwest, everyone gets along and coordinates well together, like a big family.”

Other Career Opportunities in Healthcare

Abigail Bullock is an Oak Ridge native living in West Knoxville who enjoys going on hikes with her golden retriever, Sadie. She also started her healthcare career as a transporter at Parkwest and was promoted to a manager position in the surgery department.

Headshot of Abigail in black suit, wearing glasses.
Abby Bullock began working at Parkwest as a transporter, and when she discovered a passion for business management, earned her way up the ranks to becoming the business operations manager of surgical services at Parkwest, where she helps the surgery department run smoothly.

“When I was a transporter, I became keenly aware of each department and its needs. I made key relationships and got a ton of exposure to the different parts of the hospital,” she recalls.

“I started briefly in the nursing program but switched to business administration,” says Bullock, who earned an associate degree at Roane State Community College, and then went to King university to get a bachelor’s degree.

“I was approached about a unit administrative coordinator position,” says Bullock, “but it required a bachelor’s degree. That helped push me to go ahead and finish so I could jump into that role.” After working as a unit administrative coordinator for two years, she received another career opportunity.

Managing Surgical Services

“After two years as a unit administrative coordinator I knew my path might require a better understanding of business and management, so I began pursuing my master’s degree in business administration,” Bullock says. It was a good choice, because a business manager position became available, and a bachelor’s degree was required ­– but a master’s degree was preferred.

In 2022, Bullock began her current role as the business operations manager of surgical services at Parkwest. She is responsible for the surgical scheduling team that book patient cases for the operating room as well as maintaining operations including capital and minor expenses and vendor contracts. She is responsible for the various analytical reporting needed to run and maintain the overall efficiency of the operating room. She works closely with supply chain and materials management to make sure everything is “ready to go” in each surgical department and procedure. 

“I got so much encouragement from my leaders and fellow UACs to continue my education,” Bullock says. “Covenant Health has always been good to me, and I’ve been so lucky to have been surrounded by mentors and leaders who have encouraged me to push myself beyond what I thought I could do.”

Her advice? “If someone is considering healthcare, being a transporter is a great way to get a feel for things in a hospital,” she says. “You get to help patients and make good relationships with the clinical staff. I started at 19, so I know how scary it can be, but my advice is to jump in and do it.”

The team at Parkwest is excited to roll out a new LPN program this spring in conjunction with TCAT-Knoxville, offering scholarships to LPN students enrolled in the program at Parkwest. More information about that, and scholarship opportunites for CST students is available here.

For a complete list of career opportunities available at Parkwest visit CovenantCareers.com.

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About the Author

Covenant Health

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Covenant Health is a community-owned, healthcare enterprise committed to providing the right care at the right time and place. Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has more than 11,000 compassionate caregivers, expert clinicians, and dedicated employees and volunteers.

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