Carers Australia is proud to introduce Ms Karen Cook, who succeeds Dr Tim Moore as President of Carers Australia.
Karen served as Vice President during Dr Moore’s tenure and comes to the Presidency of Carers Australia having also served as CEO of national peak body, The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council. Karen has been a registered nurse for over 30 years and also previously served as CEO of the Nurses Board of the ACT.
“I’ve been a registered nurse since 1979,” said Ms Cook. “I have a specialist advisor role at Health Workforce Australia, which is based around workforce planning, with a primarily nursing perspective.
“I spent many years in nursing regulation and accreditation, so I’m very involved in the whole issue of professional practice standards, codes of conduct and codes of ethics, and what the expectations are of the professions.”
Using her experience of professional healthcare, Karen is keen to address relationships between health care professionals and unpaid carers during her term as President.
“One of the things that I’m particularly interested in is the interface between carers and health professionals, because my observations during my years in the paid caring profession is that the health professional workforce actually marginalises the caring workforce, and I would like to see some strides forward there.
“I would like to see us make a really big difference, so that health professionals acknowledge carers as a critical part of the picture, to be considered and worked with in the care of the consumer.”
Outside of her professional life, one of Karen’s great passions is singing, and one of her favourite songs a traditional hymn from the Torres Strait.
“It says ‘Lord, bring your spirits down to stay with me and be with me through the night’, it’s just a beautiful, beautiful song.”
“Every year for years now, I’ve gone to the annual conference for the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses – it’s a fantastic conference – and at the dinner, the entertainment is provided by the participants, so everyone at the conference, every table, has to put on an act. When I go I usually get involved in most of the acts at most of the tables, because I can’t help myself!