When it comes to their love of babies, sisters Jean Colliver, Janet Colliver and Jacqueline Polletta share the same memory from their childhood — gushing over adorable newborns while visiting Sharp to see their mother, a nurse in Sharp Memorial Hospital’s former neonatal unit.
All three sisters followed in their mother’s footsteps and now work together in postpartum care on the same floor at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns. Jean and Jacqueline are nurses, and Janet performs newborn hearing screenings.
“Some of the new staff are shocked when they find out we all work here together,” says Jacqueline, the youngest sister, who’s also a lactation consultant. “I am blessed to be able to work with my two beautiful sisters.”
Jean was the first to join Sharp more than 30 years ago. Jacqueline and Janet joined their sister soon thereafter. In total, they’ve been with Sharp for a combined 83 years.
Due to the nature of their jobs, the sisters say they’ve even cared for the same patient in the same room at the same time.
“Jeannie may come in as a postpartum nurse, and Jackie would help the same patient with breastfeeding. Meanwhile, I could just be finishing a hearing screening for the baby,” says Janet.
Jacqueline credits her mother, Lou Colliver, who passed away in 2015 at age 90, for instilling in her daughters a compassionate spirit and an adoration for babies.
“My sisters and I all have that nursing trait in us — wanting to care for others. We love working with babies, just like our mother,” says Jacqueline.
Janet agrees. “Working with babies, the newness of life, is so exciting and joyful. Mom always loved babies, and she shaped me to be a caring person,” she says.
Jacqueline recalls a precious memory from when she started working at Sharp more than 30 years ago.
“When I first started nursing, I worked in the same nursery at Sharp as my mom did. I felt privileged and honored to work and walk in my mother’s footsteps,” she says.
Outside of work, the sisters relish family gatherings with their two other siblings, John and Carol. They also enjoy practicing yoga and going out to lunch together. When Jean, Janet and Jacqueline are unable to see each other during the weekends, they are thankful for their coinciding schedules at work as they care for babies and their mothers.
Patients are delighted when they realize the three employees are sisters. Dana Cohen, manager of Maternal Infant Services and Lactation at Sharp Mary Birch, says the nursing team enjoys working with the sisters, who are kind and talented.
“We are so fortunate to have these three sisters working with us,” says Dana. “It’s a testament to an organization when family members work together and share not only their personal lives but their work lives as well.”