Carol Atkinson is a Registered Nurse who has always felt drawn towards people suffering from addiction, as they are a group of patients, in her experience, that are all too often written off by the healthcare system. She has dedicated over 30 years of her career to helping this group of patients.
Her first post as a Staff Nurse was in the Recovery Unit of a busy multi-specialty theatre suite. Following this position, Carol moved to the Cardio-Thoracic unit where she was fortunate enough to work with some of the earliest heart and lung transplant patients. Finding an affinity for work in critical care, Carol’s decided to begin a post in the Intensive Care Unit of a teaching hospital. There she studied for and gained her specialty in Intensive Care Nursing as well as qualifying in the teaching and assessing of students.
With a few years of ITU nursing experience under her belt, Carol began her post-graduate studies, gaining her post-graduate diploma in Health and Social Research. As part of her studies, Carol developed a new form of organizing the way her team worked on the ITU (Primary Team Nursing) which was implemented in the unit. Her work was published in the nursing press and she contributed a chapter to a government publication in relation to this project.
Carol then began working at a rapid detox treatment center for opiate addiction. She realized addiction care was something that had been present right from her student nurse days. She trained in the latter part of the 1980s, when AIDS was making life more difficult for IV drug users and most resources were being put into trying to reduce risks. Throughout her years in critical care, Carol had often seen the tragic consequences of addiction and even during her training, she had come into contact with outreach programs and programs of care for people suffering from addiction, and their families.
Carol was given the opportunity came to work full-time in a clinic dedicated to caring for patients suffering from addictions of all types by using a fully holistic approach. Her years at the clinic taught her a great deal about building integrated care into addiction recovery and helped her train as a family interventionist.
Carol currently works as a private nurse-therapist in a smaller, less commercial, clinic.