Nurses We Admire: Karen Lucas

May 16, 2024

Profile: Karen Lucas, RN, Mental Health and Substance Use Liaison, Mills Memorial Hospital, Terrace, BC

As a Mental Health and Substance Use Liaison (MHSUL) at Mills Memorial Hospital, Karen Lucas is an RN who provides direct support to clients in all acute care wards who are facing mental health or substance use-related challenges. Because of the fast pace of busy hospital units, the complex needs of these clients may not adequately be able to be addressed through routine care. She finds it rewarding to be part of a team that delivers a health service that exceeds expectations of clients and their families, and she often receives feedback that her clients not only were provided quality medical care, but that they felt more hopeful, less alone, validated, and became engaged in positive change, due to the therapeutic alliances she forges. In this role, without the competing priorities floor nurses constantly face, she is afforded the time to provide clients that which is so often needed to mitigate their suffering – connection.

Karen values building intimate therapeutic rapport, understanding client priorities, and facilitating positive change. Collaborating closely with local and regional psychiatrists and nursing teams inspires and enhances her fascination with acute care psychiatry. Her ties with community organizations improve continuity of care and client outcomes, preventing individuals from feeling abandoned post-discharge. Transitioning from critical care nursing, Karen appreciates the continuity with familiar places and people in this role.