Daughter’s rare disorder solidified UACCB alum’s decision to enter health care field

A photo of Josh Bryant

Josh Bryant considered nursing as a career after high school but it wasn’t until his daughter was born with a rare disorder that he began to pursue his nursing degree. Bryant graduated from the registered nursing program at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville in December 2016.

“My daughter’s diagnosis with Angelman Syndrome really solidified my decision to become a nurse. We decided we were going to be very proactive in her treatment and get her all the opportunities that a normal child would have,” Bryant said.

According to the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, Angelman Syndrome is a severe neurological disorder characterized by profound developmental delays, problems with motor coordination and balance, seizures and delayed development of functional speech. It is caused by the absence or mutation of Chromosome 15. Bryant said the third annual Macy’s Stroll and Roll was held in April at Riverside Park. The event is an annual fundraiser named after his daughter used to raise awareness of Angelman Syndrome. All proceeds go to the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics. The event raised $11,000 this year. Along with 4-year-old Macy, Bryant and his wife Ronda also have a son, Miller and a daughter, Emma.

Originally from Springdale, Bryant moved to Batesville with his family about four years ago. Before moving to the area, Bryant had worked in sports marketing management for New Line Media. “I realized what I liked about working in marketing was helping people. I decided I wanted a career that would have more of an impact in people’s lives,” he said.

Bryant said with a community college right in town, it was a “no brainer” to check out the nursing program at UACCB. “It was a good spot for me. It made sense financially and geographically. I decided over Christmas break that I was going to enroll in January, and I completed the program in less than two years,” he said.

Bryant now serves as the Health Coach Coordinator at White River Medical Center. He coordinates the health coaches and health navigators, pairing them with patients with chronic conditions who need in-home assistance or a follow up visit after they are discharged from the hospital. While at UACCB, he made it a goal to be actively involved in campus life. He served as a student ambassador and was a member of the Student Government Association.

“One thing that I didn’t expect were the connections that I made through my involvement in campus activities and programs. I even met the person who is now my boss,” Bryant said.

Bryant said he had a great college experience even with the struggles students face. Like many students, College Algebra was a challenge for him, but he said the support he received from his instructors and tutors in the student success center helped him succeed.

“You’re teachers really care about you and want you to succeed. Take your pre-requisites and co-requisites early on. Don’t wait until you’re in the nursing program to tackle those, and take advantage of the summer classes,” he said.

Bryant plans to continue to pursue his education and is considering a bachelor’s of nursing, hospital administration or public health.