My job

60 seconds with Dementia UK head of research Karen Harrison Dening

Actively seek a mentor to support your career development, don't wait to be asked, says Dementia UK head of research Karen Harrison Dening. 
Karen Harrison Dening-tile.jpg

Actively seek a mentor to support your career development, don't wait to be asked, says Dementia UK head of research Karen Harrison Dening

Karen Harrison Dening has more than 40 years' nursing experience, more than 30 of which are in dementia care. She has worked with charity Dementia UK for the last ten years, initially as a consultant Admiral Nurse specialist and more recently as head of research and evaluation. She gained a PhD at University College London, focusing on advance care planning and end of life care in dementia, and holds honourary academic positions at the Universities of Liverpool and Nottingham, where she lectures and is involved in research.

What are your main work responsibilities? I lead on all issues related to Admiral Nursing and research, including collaborating with academic institutions

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Actively seek a mentor to support your career development, don't wait to be asked, says Dementia UK head of research Karen Harrison Dening 


 Karen Harrison Dening works with dementia
patients, their families and carers.

Karen Harrison Dening has more than 40 years' nursing experience, more than 30 of which are in dementia care. She has worked with charity Dementia UK for the last ten years, initially as a consultant Admiral Nurse specialist and more recently as head of research and evaluation. She gained a PhD at University College London, focusing on advance care planning and end of life care in dementia, and holds honourary academic positions at the Universities of Liverpool and Nottingham, where she lectures and is involved in research. 

What are your main work responsibilities?  
I lead on all issues related to Admiral Nursing and research, including collaborating with academic institutions on their research projects and developing our own research studies.

Who are your clients/patients?
People with dementia and their families and carers. I also work with GPs and clinicians who provide care and support for families affected by dementia.

What do you love about your job? 
The variety and constant change my role provides, but mostly the people I have met, and am yet to meet, along the way.

What do you find most difficult? 
I am interested in so much and see things that come my way as a gift, so I find it hard to say no to anything.

What is your top priority at work?
To develop and increase the evidence base for the Admiral Nursing model. 

What has been your most formative career experience? 
In the early 1980s I worked in a psychiatric department where they developed new services to meet the needs of older people with mental health problems. It was a real leap of faith and I have specialised in dementia care ever since. 

If you hadn’t become a nurse, what would you have done instead? 
I would have gone to art college to become a graphic designer.

What is the best lesson nursing has taught you? 
As humans we have so much to give to each other, none more so than in a nursing career.

What career advice would you give your younger self? 
Actively seek a mentor to support personal direction and career development, rather than waiting to be asked. 

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