Never-Give-Up Attitude Powers Foggie Through Difficult Times Toward Phlebotomy Certification From GTCC

Published on: August 31, 2021
GTCC Phlebotomy Training program graduate Willie Foggie.

Four months ago, Willie Foggie was down. He refused to be counted out though.

His employer was behind in his salary. He knew it was time for a job change. His mother, who suffers from debilitating sarcoidosis, had fallen and broken several bones. Foggie and his brother were around-the-clock caregivers, helping her overcome her injuries.

After several attempts over the past few semesters, Foggie had finally gained a seat in Guilford Technical Community College’s Phlebotomy Training Program. When the first week of class rolled around, Foggie’s outlook remained bleak.

“It had been a week or two and I hadn’t been paid by my employers and I didn’t have the money to register. I went on to class and talked to the teachers and thought maybe they would let me wait to the end of the week and maybe I’d get paid by then,” recalled Foggie, who received a SECU scholarship and later received assistance from Titan Link. “Fortunately, Mr. Crow (Warren Crow, program director for health careers and CNA training program at GTCC) came in and he helped me with a scholarship to take the class.

“I can say it was the first time as an adult I can say I got help. It was definitely a surreal feeling. If you get help as a child or a teenager, you expect it. It’s normal. As an adult normally whatever help you get is what you give yourself. This has allowed me to see the world in a different light for the first time in a long time. It gave me a different perspective on how people are not as selfish as I thought they were.”

Foggie still couldn’t afford textbooks, but that was never a factor. With copious class notes and supportive classmates, he not only managed, but exceled.

“Our class was more of an ecosystem. We became a community. Our instructor said we communicated the most of any class she ever had,” said Foggie.

Four months later, not only has Foggie finished the program, earned his certificate, and become a licensed phlebotomist, he’s under contract for a job which will begin soon.

Foggie worked as a CNA the past dozen years or so and was actually a travelling CNA during much of the pandemic. Three years ago, when his son was born, he decided he had to make a change to provide a better life for he and his family.

He left his job as when he was accepted into GTCC’s phlebotomy program. “I chose to focus on my phlebotomy classes.”

“It was hard. A lot of my responsibilities with my mom fell on my brother. I helped around the house, but my job was to go to school and graduate.”

Foggie made a conscious decision to put himself at the forefront of the three-month class. He figured if he was front and center, he stood a better chance of learning and absorbing everything the class had to offer. He was going to do whatever it took to make the endeavor successful.

Phlebotomy basically is the process of making a puncture in a vein, usually in the arm for the purpose of drawing blood. Foggie had no problem becoming the class guinea pig.

“I personally volunteered to get stuck by the instructor. I said ‘I need to see how this works. Here I am and let’s go,’” he said. “I knew it was going to be hard. I had only been taking care of people on the exterior. I knew this would take me to a different level as a person.”

For more information on the GTCC Phlebotomy program visit,

There was lots of classroom work in the four month-long course and lots and lots of time in the lab, basically learning how to make a painless, confident, and successful blood draw. Foggie figures he and his classmates spent about six weeks developing their “sticking” skills.

He remembers his first stick vividly.

“I was dripping all kinds of nervous sweat the first time. I was really nervous. You don’t want to hurt anyone. I know that all the responsibility of taking your blood is on me.”

The class instructor, Jeannine Griffin, was exceptional, Foggie said. The most valuable life lesson she offered was the value of confidence when dealing with patients.

“She said ‘confidence is key’. That’s the biggest rule she gave us over and over. Stay calm and confident. Nobody likes to get stuck. Don’t lie. Tell them it’s going to hurt, but that it’ll be over quick,” said Foggie. “It’s really about confidence and making the patient have confidence in you. They will feel like this person knows what they are doing, they will feel confident and safe. It will be a better experience and a better draw.”

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