A mother and her daughters a dream fulfilled
Celebrating the proud tradition of registered nursing
Alberta RN continues to feature stories and photos that members chose to share to honour their relatives and the proud tradition of the nursing profession.
In 1972, my mother Zenovia Keryluk, age 41 and mother offline, packed up her three youngest and moved to Edmonton to pursue her life-long dream of obtaining a post-secondary education. She began studying nursing at Grant MacEwan College (GMC) in their two-year nursing diploma program.
My sister Arlene had attended the University of Alberta for one year, enrolled in home economics. Discouraged by the poor job outlook in that field, she decided to join our mother in nursing.
The next two years were very tough for all of us. My mother left me, at 14 years old, in charge of caring for my grandfather, father and younger brother. I was also in charge of milking 25 dairy cows morning and night. Every weekend during the two years of her nursing program, my mother drove 1 1/2 hours each way to return to the farm and relieve me of my duties. How she managed to get her studying and assignments done is almost a miracle. Sadly, halfway through the course, her mother passed away. The devastation was great but she continued on.
In 1974, Zenovia and Arlene were members of the first class to graduate from GMC’s two-year nursing diploma program. It was a very remarkable and memorable occasion with both mother and daughter graduating together.
Both Zenovia and Arlene were not satisfied with diplomas. My mother completed her bachelor of science in nursing in 1985 and Arlene her BN in 1989. After working 25 years as a staff nurse/unit manager, Zenovia retired in 1995. For the past two years, Arlene has been employed in Fort Saskatchewan as an in-service coordinator.
Not wanting the difficult life of the farm or minimum wage, I enrolled in nursing at GMC in 1976 and graduated in 1978.
Most of my career has been spent at the Royal Alexandra Hospital at the Women’s Health Centre. After my children complete their post-secondary education, I will begin working toward my degree. Although none of Zenovia’s 17 grandchildren have stepped into the health-care arena so far, the chances are very good that one will follow our paths and carry on the torch.
BY LANA BOIDA, RN
Copyright Alberta Association of Registered Nurses Sep 2003
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