- Photo by Danny Meyer
The California native initially attended Ball State University in Indiana to become an English teacher.
“I just loved the challenge of education,” Artnak said. “I believe that the opportunity to teach is everywhere. For me, there was something invigorating and renewing about working with students.”
But a tough job market for teachers and the military’s desperate need for nurses in the 1970s prompted Artnak to change her major and to join the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She met her husband, former Navy gastroenterologist Dr. Joe Artnak, in San Diego, and when they had both completed their service obligations, they settled in San Angelo in 1984 to work at Shannon Medical Center.
Still yearning to teach, Artnak also joined the ASU nursing faculty in 1995. In her 19 years at ASU, she taught courses in the online Master of Science in Nursing program and conducted research on end-of-life care and chronic illness for ASU’s CareGiver Research Institute. She also led a group of nursing students on ASU’s first-ever study abroad trip to Africa in 2013. Although she retired from ASU in 2014, she served as president of the ASU Nursing Honor Society until July 1 and remains on the board of directors.
In recognition of her previous and ongoing contributions to ASU, Artnak has been named the ASU Alumni Association’s 2015 Outstanding Retired Faculty Member.
Artnak still works at Shannon as a clinical ethics consultant and chair of the Hospital Ethics Committee. She and Joe have four grown children and two grandchildren.