Ollie began her nursing career as a clinical instructor in the school of psychiatric nursing at the provincial mental hospital, Essondale, (later renamed Riverview) in Coquitlam, BC. Apart from brief stints in other fields of nursing, including private duty in Vancouver and working in a dermatologist’s office in New York City, she continued in psychiatric nursing for the next 15 years.
From general duty psychiatric nursing at the psychiatric unit at Saskatchewan University Hospital in Saskatoon during the early 1960s, she went on to become head nurse at the psychiatric unit at Ottawa Civic Hospital, and then, while awaiting a green card to work in the US, went back to clinical instructing at Ontario Psychiatric Hospital, Toronto. In the US, she returned to general duty psychiatric nursing at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in Manhattan.
In 1969, Ollie entered the Masters in Psychiatric Nursing degree program at New York University. Graduating in 1971, she returned to Canada to take on the role of nurse practitioner in psychiatric nursing at the then-new McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, followed by a return to teaching at McMaster University’s School of Nursing.
Turning 40 in 1976, Ollie sought a career change. She enrolled in a one-year journalism program at Sheridan Community College in Oakville, Ontario. The rest of her working life she spent as a reporter, initially for a community newspaper in Ontario and then for a trade publication in Vancouver, where she retired in 2001.