5 Questions with Family Nurse Practitioner MerryLee Foster

MerryLee Foster

International Nurses Day celebrates nurses' contributions to society and is observed annually on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, honoring her as the founder of modern nursing. To celebrate International Nurses Day, this edition of 5 Questions features Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. South Carolina (AMISC) Family Nurse Practitioner MerryLee Foster. Read on to learn what’s it like to work in the Arthrex Medical Center and her joy of watching the AMISC operation grow over the span of a few short years.


What does a typical day at Arthrex look like for you?  

I am privileged to work in the Arthrex Medical Center in South Carolina as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I have 13 years of experience in this advanced role and was a registered nurse for years prior to that. At Arthrex, I have the pleasure of taking care of employees and their dependents ages two and up. I care for patients with acute and chronic health issues, as well as perform preventative health maintenance physicals. For the past two years, much of our clinic time was spent managing the COVID-19 pandemic for employees. Now, we are getting back to seeing more of a variety of health concerns. 

Though each day is unique, my work day typically begins by skimming over emails, lab results and patient portal messages to make sure urgent needs are addressed promptly. The phone rings most frequently early in the morning, so I help the staff with that as well. 

Next, it’s time to start seeing patients. Working in family medicine that also happens to be in an occupational setting brings all sorts of surprises. In a typical day, my appointments might include a wellness physical, a sick child, a broken toe, a mysterious rash and even a dog bite. Over the past month, I’ve been seeing lots of seasonal allergies with the local pollination. 

Before the day is done, I spend time reviewing charts and documenting my evaluation of the health concern and any treatments prescribed. Face-to-face time is my favorite task and charting is my least favorite.  When given the choice, I’d prefer to spend more time in the exam room and less time at my desk. I am fortunate to get to spend adequate time listening to, interacting with and treating patients at Arthrex.  


What do you enjoy most about your job?  

It is my pleasure to serve the health care needs of my coworkers and their families. It’s difficult to say what I like most because I enjoy all the various aspects of my job. I enjoy helping people feel better when they are ill.

If I really must choose just one part of what I do, I’d say preventing chronic disease gives me the greatest joy. My goal for every patient is to keep him or her feeling well and able to live a full and active life all the way through his or her retirement years. I appreciate the resources Arthrex offers to help accomplish this with onsite health care, amazing health, dental and vision insurance and other various wellness offerings.  


What has been a highlight during your time at Arthrex? 

Watching the growth in South Carolina has been a highlight for me. It’s amazing to be part of the initial AMISC foundation of employees. I was the 64th employee hired at AMISC. Now we have over 600 employees and that number is steadily rising. I smile watching the construction of the new buildings and roads from my office window because I know the continuous expansion means more people are going to join the Arthrex family and experience what it’s like to be part of such a great company.

I’m proud of the positive effects Arthrex’s presence is having on my hometown community. This company has not only provided hundreds of new jobs, but is also showing other employers in the area what it means to be an employer of choice. I attended Furman University, Clemson University and Tri-County Technical College, so I am extremely proud that Arthrex is developing relationships with my alma maters. It’s not rare to hear me bragging about my “job.”  It doesn’t seem like work when you’re doing what you love and are supported by your company.


Our core value is Making People Better. How has Arthrex made you better?  

Being in this role with a new office building in a new manufacturing setting has its benefits and its challenges. During my three-week orientation in Naples, I met fabulous new coworkers and learned all about Arthrex. I returned straight back to South Carolina at full speed where I began unboxing items to stock the Medical Center, learning new computer systems, helping set up our collaborative pharmacy and then back to nurse practitioner duties.

Just as I started to feel “settled in,” the COVID-19 crisis began. Through all of the challenges surrounding the pandemic, Arthrex has been extremely supportive. Whenever my colleagues or I had a need, Arthrex was there with a solution. Being part of this team with this company has made me better now than I was three years ago. I am more knowledgeable and compassionate, and I am stronger emotionally because of the experiences I’ve had during my time with Arthrex. I am confident this company will help me continue to grow in my profession as it has thus far.  


What do you do in your downtime?  

My husband and I live on Lake Hartwell with our two children, two geckos, two dogs and one cat.  We enjoy lake living, and from April through October can be found on the water boating, fishing, tubing and skiing. I love gardening and running. I enjoy going to the gym, but playing outside will always trump being inside when given the choice.  We are also active in our church and very social with our neighbors and friends.  


Category: Company Culture