Massachusetts Association of Occupational Health Nurses

Lisa A. Foster, MS, ANP-BC: My Occ Health Story

Posted 3 months ago by Nancy Clover

How you got into occ health, where you worked, what you did?

I learned about Occupational Health Nursing while caring for a patient working in the cardiothoracic ICU at New England Medical Center.  The patient was having dialysis and I got to talking to the nurse who came to do the dialysis on the patient.  At the time she was a student at the Harvard School of Public Health Occupational Health Nursing program.   I was intrigued!  I had wanted to make a change but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  I knew that I wanted to pursue a program in Public Health.  I had been taking classes at the BU School of Public Health and went ahead and applied to the program at HSPH.  I was accepted and left my job to go back to school full time.   As I was in the program, learning about and experiencing occupational health nursing, I decided that i wanted to focus on occupational health issues in health care.  When I graduated I worked at Lowell General Hospital for a short time and then worked at Honeywell in Brighton, MA.  I could see the role of the nurse practitioner in occupational health as well and went back to school again to become an Adult NP.  I then worked again in Industry at GE in Lynn and at Dr. Bill Patterson's practice in Wilmington.  I learned so much from Dr. Patterson and gained tremendous experience in an industrial setting like GE.  I still wanted to focus on occupational health in the hospital setting.  I then took a position at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and was there for 9 years.  I then went across the street to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to be the Director of their Employee/Occupational Health program.  I was there for 5 years and am now at Lahey Health in Burlington, MA as Director of the Employee Health program for the Lahey Health System.  

Any mentors?  PatriciaTravers - she was the program director at HSPH when I attended. Dr. Bill Patterson who I worked with as a new Nurse Practitioner.  Dr. Tom Winters who has been my Medical Director at DFCI and BIDMC.  He has been a great mentor and friend to me!

Awards?  the Medique Award, FAME award for MAAOHN

Involvement in AOHN?  I have been the President of North of Boston AOHN, I have also served as Treasurer for MAAOHN and NEAOHN.

Anything inspiring words for future occ health nurses and anything you want to add & share.

Occupational Health is a tremendously important and rewarding specialty area for nurses. In my experience Occupational Health Nursing has provided autonomy, clinical expertise, client interaction, opportunities to provide your expert knowledge and guidance. Occupational Health is always changing as our world becomes more complex.  


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