As National Nurses Week comes to a close, the matriarch of an Edmonton family full of nurses reflects on how they’ve taken to the career through generations.
Victoria Gartner started nursing in 1961, working for about 25 years at Alberta Hospital, where she became a head nurse.
During that time she had also started a family, having two daughters, Claudette and Christie.
Gartner, who is now retired, remembers when they were graduating high school she had asked them, “What are you going to do?” And the reply was, “Well, I don’t know.”
“ ‘Well, I do. You can go into nursing, and you can try it for a month and if you don’t like it that’s fair.’ Well, they all stayed,” said Gartner.
And stayed they did. Her oldest, Claudette, would go on to become a nurse educator at the Glenrose Hospital and just recently retired.
Claudette has a daughter who also became a nurse — Stephanie, who is an LPN at the Glenrose, in the rehab center.
Gartner’s youngest, Christie, worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in the emergency department and would also go on to become a nurse educator, with Smiths Medical Canada.
Christie also has two daughters in the profession: Danica, who works at the University of Alberta Hospital in the emergency department, and Kaylie, who also works at the U of A Hospital, in hematology.
“I always wanted the girls to have a good education — you know, something they could fall back on, and I knew that nursing is a good profession and it can get you work almost anywhere,” Gartner said.
Gartner talks about what it’s like, having a family of nurses. “We all talk nurse stuff around the table so much so that our husbands say, ‘Oh please, not at the dinner table,’ ” Gartner said, laughing.
Gartner said Nurses Week, which runs May 10-16, is a special week for her family and she is very proud of her daughters and granddaughters.
“I’m so happy, I really am. I’m so proud they chose this field because it is very rewarding and a very good field.”