Cathy began her BSN in 1970 when it was a five-year program. “We were idealistic “A” students when we began our education, we thought to ourselves that we were not going to ‘burn out’ like the RNs (“D” students) who came back to school. We liked having classes with the “D” students because they were so real and they tolerated us because we were so idealistic”. One person who stood out for Cathy when she was a student was Beth McCann, Acting Director at the time. She had an enthusiasm for life and nursing that Cathy found infectious, “she was a role model for me, a bit crazy, leading the bunny hopping through the pit the year we graduated; however, she also had a grace, sophistication and a calmness that was intriguing”.
After she graduated, the first position that came up was in maternity at St Paul’s Hospital where the Director of Nursing, Bernie Ratsoy, interviewed and hired her. This began her 30 year career with childbearing families. She began her master’s degree in 1993 and wrote her thesis on the relation of high risk pregnancies to postpartum concerns. It was interesting to find that after coming through a high risk pregnancy successfully and having a healthy baby any postpartum issues “paled in comparison”.
Cathy began teaching in the SoN in 1991 with the collaboration of the UBC and VGH programs. Once at UBC, Cathy began to really enjoy working here. It was an exciting time of growth, and furthermore she states, “you can never have as great mentors as Elaine Carty, followed by Marion Clauson, and then Wendy Hall. It was a great team that offered me so many opportunities to grow; I knew then that I wanted to stay at UBC and teach”.
Cathy enjoys teaching and continues to learn. She finds that students are truly wonderful, thoughtful and engaging. “It’s important to find ways to foster and support their learning” she says, “because giventhe support, students excel!”
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Cathy sees herself as a Social Convener for the School. She feels it is very important to build connections among the members of the School community, to acknowledge everyone’s contributions and to have fun. So, she is often the catalyst for collective birthday celebrations, social gatherings and Random Acts of Kindness days. Cathy also has taken an active role in Alumni affairs and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal nursing group. As the new Admissions Advisor, she is also fortunate to be able to support the next generation of nurses.
All of her work keeps Cathy very busy but there is “no part I would give up” she says.
Outside of work, Cathy loves to get together with friends and family and she visits her mother regularly. She is married and has two grown children, belongs to a women’s group and quilts. She likes walking on the beach.