Kecia Greene is not only a mother herself, but her whole career—37 years—has been dedicated to helping other women become mothers, too.
As a nurse for Dr. Peter Godfrey—a longtime OB-GYN doctor in Culpeper—over the years Greene has met and grown close to hundreds of local women as she’s helped them through fertility consultations, nine months of prenatal and after-birth visits, and the gamut of reproductive-system cancers and other conditions women deal with every day.
“It’s been wonderful for me, being able to help so many people,” Greene said in an interview last week. “There’s nothing like the joy of seeing someone who’s been trying to conceive find out that they’re pregnant, and helping them through that pregnancy.”
After Godfrey retired a couple years ago, Greene joined the Novant UVA Culpeper Medical Center obstectrical practice in the new Women’s Services building beside the hospital at 633 Sunset Lane.
“Just the other day, I had a patient come in who is in her late 20s and is pregnant,” Greene said. “Turns out, I took care of her mother, who was a patient of Dr. Godfrey. I’ve watched this young lady grow up through the years.”
Greene’s daughter Terese, a senior at Eastern View High School, and son Lance, a student at Germanna Community College, nominated their mother to be recognized by the Star-Exponent for her work as a nurse in the Culpeper community.
“When I saw this contest, I knew that my brother and I had to nominate our mom because of all her hard work, dedication and compassion,” Terese Greene wrote in her nomination. “Her unselfish personality to help and take care of not only her patients but to be there for their families—as well as our family too—is who my mom is. My mom is my HERO!”
Kecia Greene’s mother, Theresa Glascow Washburn, grew up in Culpeper. Although Greene was born in Washington, D.C., she has lived in Culpeper since she was 7 years old. Her husband, Dewayne Greene, has worked for 31 years at Continental, an auto-parts manufacturing company in Culpeper.
Greene said her mom’s younger sister, Marlene Ware, was a nurse, and inspired Greene’s career choice.
“At first, I wanted to be a vet, but when I learned how long it would take to go to vet school, I switched to helping people instead,” Greene said.
The 1983 graduate of Culpeper County High School attended the Piedmont Technical Education Center, in The Carver Center on Orange Road between Rapidan and Culpeper. Earlier, the center was home to George Washington Carver Regional High School, where African Americans from four counties were educated during segregation. Greene’s mother and aunt were students there.
Greene’s mother and grandmother both died in 1987, her mother at age 45 from a rare form of kidney cancer.
“That was a hard year,” Greene said. But it was thanks to her mother that at the time, Greene was already a nurse in Dr. Godfrey’s office. “Thank God for that,” she said.
Godfrey had been Greene’s obstetrician. When she went in for a medical appointment, both Godfrey and the office manager urged Greene to apply to be a nurse there, handing her an application.
“I threw it in the trash,” she laughed. “But my mother found it and told me: ‘You need to fill this out!’ ”
It is a career Greene has enjoyed, despite the challenges.
She said it’s always hard to give someone bad news, such as a diagnosis of cancer or an early miscarriage. “I just cry right along with them,” Greene said.
Over the past COVID-19 year, it has been difficult not to be able to hug people as she was accustomed to do.
“I like being up close and personal; I care about people,” Greene said. “It’s been a big effort showing people I care by giving them space instead.”
There are side effects to a nursing career that some might not expect.
“My kids don’t like going with me to the grocery store—so many people stop to talk to me that it takes too long,” Greene said with a smile.
Once, while eating at a fast-food restaurant with her two children, a woman walked up to their table and said, “I’m so glad I ran into you! I’ve been having a vaginal discharge …,” going on to tell Greene in great detail about a medical issue.
“I told her nicely to call the office, that I wasn’t working,” Greene said. “My son was horrified, my daughter just laughed. They’re pretty good sports.”
Terese, Greene’s daughter, said in an interview this week that she loves having a nurse in the house.
“When me and my brother, playing basketball or something, when we’d get hurt, we never needed to go to the hospital—she always knew what to do,” Terese said.
“But also, she would always make us be careful—it took ‘till we were a little older to give us some space,” she laughed.
Mainly, Terese said, she wants people to know her mom is “the most loving person on earth.”
“No matter how mad you are at her, you can’t stay mad,” she said. “I hope people know that as a nurse, she really cares.”