Inspiring Stories

‘The pulse of the family’: Longtime Methodist nurse and mother leads her family toward passion of caring for people

Published: May 30, 2024

For the past 41 years, Kathy Garvey, RN, has been a familiar face at Methodist Hospital. She worked as a nurse in the Critical Care Unit for 30 years, and she’s in her 11th year as a pre-op nurse. 

“I just really feel like this is what God has called me to do, to care for people. It’s my earthly assignment,” she said. “I love caring for people, from the extremely ill to those who have just really basic needs.”

Her passion has made an impression on her family. Two of her daughters are nurses at Methodist, another daughter was a pediatric nurse at Children’s Nebraska, her son is a CNA at Methodist Hospital and her husband – a retired mail carrier – volunteers as a cuddler in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Methodist Women’s Hospital.

“I just tickled their hearts enough that they’re all just really passionate about being in medicine,” said Garvey, a Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) graduate. “And they share the same love for people that I do. They’re all very compassionate, caring people.”

“It’s just the pulse of the family,” said Kim Tosic, BSN, RN, a staff development nurse in the Women’s Hospital NICU and one of Garvey’s daughters. “And it 100% came from the example that we saw growing up.”

Kathy Garvey family in Methodist gear
Back row from left: Reagan Garvey, Kathy Garvey, Tim Garvey. Front row from left: Ryan Garvey, Kim Tosic.


Mother’s model

When Tosic and her twin sister, Kylie Macnab, were young, dinner conversations often involved medicine. Their mother was always sharing about how much she enjoyed working as a nurse, and she’d often share stories of complex cases.

The conversations seemed so natural that Tosic, 35, didn’t realize until she had a family of her own that the topics heard around the Garvey dinner table weren’t normal.  

Macnab followed her mother’s lead by graduating from NMC and working at Children’s Nebraska before becoming a stay-at-home mom. 

Meanwhile, Tosic was “very adamant” that she didn’t want to become a nurse. But she still had the desire and drive to care for people that her mom modeled, so she earned degrees in psychology and family studies.

After a few years of working outside of health care, Tosic decided to take a job as a birth and postpartum doula. She realized that she loved working with mothers and infants but needed a little more education for the role, so she decided to start nursing school in 2016.

“Mom had the last laugh because she’d been telling me my whole life, ‘You’d be such a great nurse,’” Tosic said.

Following graduation from NMC, Tosic was hired as a nurse in the NICU at Women’s Hospital in April 2018. She’s never left.

“I love the patient population,” said Tosic, whose current role involves training new nurses. “And I love giving the same type of education that I did during my birth and postpartum doula role.” 


‘This is my journey’

Unlike her older sister Tosic, Reagan Garvey, BSN, RN, always wanted to be a nurse. Her interest started at a young age, when she’d stay up later than normal to talk with her mom after she completed a 12-hour shift at the hospital. 

People told her that she might change her mind or even change her major during college, but she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in nursing in May 2023, becoming the fourth member of the Garvey family to graduate from NMC.

Reagan Garvey graduation
Reagan Garvey shows off her diploma with her sisters Kylie Macnab (left) and Kim Tosic after graduating from NMC in May 2023.

“A lot of people would say ‘Oh, you’re following in your mom’s footsteps.’ And I would correct them by saying, ‘Yes, I am. However, this is my journey,’” she said. “Even though I’m going into the same career field, there’s so many different avenues and occupations within nursing.”

The youngest Garvey woman currently works on the oncology floor at Methodist Hospital, where she’s able to walk alongside patients as they fight different types of cancer. 

“Working in the medical field is super interesting and complex, but it’s also so rewarding,” said Reagan Garvey, 23. “I love it. I’m able to make a difference every day I work.”

And while she’s early in her professional career, she doesn’t see herself doing anything else.

“I want to be a nurse as long as the Lord wants me to be. As of right now, I do see myself being a nurse for my lifetime. It’s super sweet because that’s my ministry, and where I’m able to be the hands and feet of Jesus.” 

Kathy Garvey’s youngest child and only son, Ryan Garvey, is 20, but to Tosic, he’ll always be “the 5-year-old boy with a Jedi braid.” So it was “surreal” when he recently showed up to his niece’s dance recital wearing scrubs after his CNA shift on Methodist Hospital’s Short Stay Unit.

After spending a couple of years at Concordia University on a health sciences track, Ryan Garvey, 20, is now enrolled at NMC and will start classes in the fall to complete an advanced nursing degree.

“I’m so proud to say my siblings, and my mom, and even my dad being a volunteer at Methodist, we’re part of this mission,” Tosic said. “How cool is that?”

Garvey family children
From left: Kim Tosic, Kylie Macnab, Reagan Garvey, Ryan Garvey.
Photo by Emma Talamantes

‘Desire to make a difference’

Kathy Garvey has been persuaded by her husband to join him in retirement, but she isn’t ready to call it quits. She said she wants to keep working until her brain or body decides to slow down.

“I absolutely love what I do,” she said. “I can’t express that enough.” 

Her drive has also left a mark on her children.

“Her desire to make a difference in the lives of her patients and their family members … it was so influential to me, even when I was pursuing a career that wasn’t in health care,” Tosic said. “She showed me the power of what passion can do when it’s connected to your career.” 

Reagan Garvey credits her mother for helping her think critically and excel in nursing school. She also knows that she can ask anyone in her family for advice after a difficult day at work because they can relate to what she’s going through.

“Our family bond is something that’s truly special and something I’m so thankful for,” Reagan Garvey said. “And it makes it even more special that we love the same thing.” 

Tosic added: “The beautiful thing about nursing is that we can all do something so different. But it definitely all started from the same place.” 

Kathy Garvey nursing school photo
Kathy Garvey


About the Author

Anthony Robinson, a content strategist for Methodist Health System, joined the marketing team after spending over five years as a college athletics public relations professional. He enjoys being able to use his writing ability to tell compelling stories that embody The Meaning of Care

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