Foster became a registered
nurse but eventually discovered that the satisfaction of
caring for patients did not satisfy her curiosity about how
decisions were made at the highest levels about how that
care reached the patients.
“I’ve always been very
inquisitive,” she says. “I would ask ‘what made them do
that?’” She made the decision to attain head nursing status
so that she could be a part of that decision-making process
only to discover that head nurses “weren’t involved in
She had to set her sights
Now, some years later
after earning a master of science in nursing administration
from Georgetown University, a master of public health from
Bowling Green State University and a doctor of education
from BGSU and then becoming an administrative fellow at the
Humility Mary Health System in Youngstown; the director of
Women’s Services at Sparrow Health System in Lansing; the VP
of Patient Care Cervices/Chief Nursing Officer at Childrens
Hospital of Lansing; the CNO at St. Joseph Health in Sonoma
County, CA; the CNO at City of Hope National Medical Center
in Duarte, CA, Foster became the VP for Patient Care and CNO
at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles this summer.
In her current CNO
position, Foster oversees 4,000 employees and a budget of
almost $400 million in a hospital that is ranked number five
in US News and World Reports for its comprehensive inpatient
and outpatient services, its research and medical staff as
well as its designation as a magnet hospital.
Foster’s reach, however,
extends far beyond the boundaries of Los Angeles County. She
is a widely published and highly-sought-after hospital
consultant, mentor and leader with a goal of advocating for
change, quality and organizational improvement.
As a consultant, her
practice has led her to provide services to hospitals in the
United States and in various places of the world. She has
been a presenter at numerous national and international
conferences around the globe addressing issues related to
health care delivery, hospital administration and
Foster’s ability to put
theory into practice and build relationships has earned her
widespread praise within her field. Understanding the
benefits of technological advances in health care
administration, Foster led the implementation of an
electronic medical record system that provided computerized
physician order entry and ease in nursing documentation and
medication administration at the Detroit Medical Center and
City of Hope National Medical Center.
In addition, prior to it
becoming a widely accepted practice, she implemented a nurse
residency program for new graduate nurses that resulted in a
40 percent reduction in turnover.
Foster’s work can be found
in the Journal of Nursing Management, Nursing Management,
Oncology Nursing Society publications, and other reputable
print and online resources.
On Friday, October 4, UT
will recognize 15 outstanding graduates, Foster among them,
at the Homecoming Gala in the Lancelot Thompson Student
Union. The university’s 12 degree-awarding colleges will
toast the achievements of their graduates, along with the
recipients of the Gold T, Blue T and Edward H. Schmidt
Outstanding Young Alum Awards.