Nov. 5, 2019

Retired nurse and therapist applies knowledge on aging to her own life in retirement

50 Faces of Nursing: Maureen Osis, MN’85

As a gerontological nurse with a background in women’s health and aging, Maureen Osis became a specialized RN whose research sometimes delved into life satisfaction and longevity. She was immersed in books on these topics, many of them concluding that a sense of purpose — doing something that made a difference — was the key to happiness later in life.
In a later career as a marriage and family therapist for middle-aged and older adults, Osis would apply those findings, as she pursued work that fulfilled a desire to make a difference in the lives of others.
As a nurse in retirement she’s been an eager volunteer, first with the board of Carya Calgary, now on the board of the Calgary Society for Healthy Child Development, and for several years as a volunteer with Calgary Reads — taking her back to the very basics of helping young people in need.
“It has been so rewarding to help a child — dealing with low self-perception of his or her reading ability — begin to read with confidence!”

Maureen Osis, MN’85, is one of the 50 Faces of Nursing at the University of Calgary

Maureen Osis is a retired gerontological nurse and marriage and family therapist.

What’s an unforgettable experience from your time at UCalgary Nursing?

“My clinical practicum at a community clinic allowed me to experience the full scope of nursing practice in collaboration with a team — a physician and a social worker. [It] gave me the courage, after completing my degree, to open a private nursing practice in a seniors’ independent living development, one that I based on a holistic approach to health, wellness and chronic disease management.

“A very rewarding experience was with a woman who was living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). After attending our weekly group meetings for education and support she announced that, for the first time in several years, she did not go to the emergency room. In the past, she made several trips a year. Her family physician was impressed by her level of awareness and knowledge that led to better day-to-day self-care.”

What most excites you about the future of nursing or changes coming in the profession?

"As my family and I receive more health care, I am always grateful for those nurses who are both competent and caring. I am so impressed by their confidence and their competence and I attribute this to the advancement in nursing education. For this, the U of C Faculty of Nursing can take some credit.”

Is there a nursing issue you are especially passionate about or would like to change?

“I was involved in teaching in a Nurse Practitioner program, and am excited when I meet a NP in action. We must stop the ‘rubber band’ thinking of expanding the nursing role only in remote or under-served areas. The public needs to benefit from nurses working their full scope of practice, everywhere. Of course, the politics of the day influence how well and how wisely these NPs are utilized.” 

What advice would you like to share with aspiring nurses?

“If you are thinking of this as a profession, it is a very rewarding path to take. There is a unique privilege being present with patients and families of all ages and diversity, in the stages of the beginning, the middle and the ending of their lives."

"Perhaps surprisingly, I will quote [the actor] John Cleese: Be calm and be kind. Our demeanor and our words matter!

Is there one luxury in life you would rather not live without?

"Transportation. Either by personal vehicle or public transit. It connects me to my world: friends, family, volunteering, and learning opportunities."

All through 2019, we have highlighted 50 Faces of Nursing and profiled nursing members in celebration of our 50th anniversary. For more, visit