Edna Foshee, R.N.
Can you tell us about your typical day as a UAB nurse at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center?“When patients are referred here, their doctor’s office calls me to set the appointment, and I get their records, pathology slides and X rays are sent here, so essentially I know more about them than anyone else at UAB. I call the patients and talk to them and make them feel welcome and loved—like they’re special, because they are.”
What is one way you make each individual patient feel comfortable at such a big hospital?“I’m a face to the person so that they can actually learn about and not be overwhelmed by UAB and to feel that somebody cares.”
How has working with cancer patients been rewarding?“I’ve learned a lot in my 27 years as a nurse, but I’ve learned more in the past four years about what causes cells to become cancerous and what causes cancer cells to make people sick. It’s really neat to be able to look under a microscope and to be able to tell what kind of a cell that person has. Giving chemotherapy, I knew all about the side effects and how to help patients with those issues, but now I can help with the diagnosis as well and tell them what to look for and prepare them for the journey ahead.”
How do you deal with the reality of cancer every day?“There are days you want to go in your office and cry because you’ve had to tell somebody there’s nothing else you can do. But you look at it from the perspective of all the people you do help, where you’re able to tell them that they don’t have any more disease. Those are things you live for. That’s what keeps me doing what I do.”
So, helping people is what you enjoy?“I’m a very religious person, and I believe God puts people in your life for a specific reason. I believe He’s put me here to be able to help these people who need extra special attention and love. If I didn’t think I was helping people every day, I couldn’t do what I do.”
Mrs. Foshee's story was featured in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Centers Magazine.