Member Spotlight: Gina and Kat

By Patrycja Vaid
Local 115 Communications, United Nurses of Alberta

#NewlyWeds, Gina and Kat could very well be the #winners of the next @AmazingRaceCDA. Get to know them in this month’s @UNALocal115 member spotlight.

Q: Where do you work now, and what has been your nursing work journey?

G: We both currently work in the CVICU at Foothills Medical Centre. I started my career on the cardiac surgery unit, which is the step down unit from CVICU. I’ve primarily been in CVICU for my career, but I’ve also worked in emergency and PICU at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

K: I started my ICU career at the Children’s Hospital, I really enjoyed it there and loved the friendly atmosphere. I’m not in the CVICU with Gina. I love intensive care, I can’t imagine working in a different capacity.

Q: What do you like most about where you work?

G/K: Our coworkers are phenomenal. It’s such a great team to work with. It also helps that we have an extremely supportive unit manager.

Q: Where did you meet?

G/K: We met working in the PICU at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Q: You recently got married, what was the most memorable part of your wedding?

G/K: Having all of our friends and family with us. It was wonderful to be able to share our home with so many people that we love. It turned out great! We couldn’t have asked for a more amazing day.

Gina & Kat

Q: Looking back, if you could give your new nurse self some advice what would it be?

G: Patrycja is right, you should go work in the CVICU

K: I graduated when there was a hiring freeze, I took whatever job I could find. I would tell myself to hang in there, it always comes back around.

Q: Why is the union important to you?

G: The union makes me feel protected every time I go to work. I’m thankful that they have fought for us to have the working standards we do, and the best work quality of life possible.

K: I agree with Gina. The union gives us a voice in determining what takes place within our employment field.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Calgary?

G/K: We’ve worked hard to create a home that we love. We have a brood of loving pets. We love growing vegetables in our greenhouse. We recently started bee keeping- it’s great to see them flying around the yard enjoying the plants, and drinking from our pond. We feel very lucky for the life we have. Our home is definitely the best place to be in Calgary.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant/place to shop/book/movie/TV show?

G/K: We love trying new restaurants. But, only after Gina has reviewed the menu. She’s a bit of a picky eater. One of our favorites though is probably Ox and Angela. I wouldn’t say we shop much to have a favorite place to go. We don’t watch too many movies, because Kat often finds the endings disappointing.

But, we’re almost always up for a horror movie! We love watching shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race- we still have dreams of one day applying to be on the Amazing Race Canada.

Q: You marched in UNA’s official first Pride Parade this year, why did you choose to participate?

Gina & Kat

G/K: One of our coworkers was kind enough to invite us to participate. Leading up to the parade, with all of the media coverage, we had recently been exposed to a number of negative and hateful comments on local news websites and social media. Not towards us specifically, but the LGBT community. It was very disheartening, and marching in the parade was even more meaningful because of the things we had been hearing. It was great to feel the love and support from the people that came out to see the parade as well as the other organizations participating in the parade.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for the public to know nurses support the LGBT community?

G/K: Our patients come from all walks of life and supporting the LGBTQ community is one of the ways that nurses show their support for our community and all of its members. As a nurse, you have to leave your judgments and feelings at the door. You don’t have the luxury of choosing who should or shouldn’t get your care. Everyone is treated equally and with the same respect despite your personal beliefs. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

Q: What kind of turn out would you like to see at the pride parade next year?

G/K: Of course, as it gets bigger, that only means more support for the LGBT community. So, it would be nice to see it just keep growing every year.

Gina & Kat

Q: What are you looking forward to in the next year?

G/K: We have a number of trips planned this year- we’re calling them all honeymoons. We will be travelling more than we ever have, so we have a very exciting year ahead of us.

Q: Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

G/K: Our long-term goal is to have land somewhere, so that when we retire, we can have a little hobby farm. We’re hoping in the next 5 years, we’ll have figured out where that is going to be, and perhaps will have purchased the land, and start working on another home that we will love as much as our home right now.