Karen O’Brien qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1991 at Leeds General Infirmary.
Deciding to specialise in paediatric nursing, Karen worked for a year as a staff nurse on the General Paediatric Medical Ward at Leeds Infirmary before going on to complete her Registered Sick Children’s Training before subsequently returning to LGI where she worked on the general surgical / neurology/ neurosurgical both as a staff nurse and then a sister.
Karen joined the multi disciplinary neurology / neurodisability Team at the Ryegate Children’s Centre initially as a Neurology Specialist Nurse. Over the years as the neuroscience unit at the hospital has developed Karen’s role has changed and Karen is now lead nurse for the Neurology Team / Intrathecal Baclofen Nurse Specialist.
In 2002 Karen was part of a small team who were successful in securing new opportunity funding for three years to develop a neurology community nursing team (now named the Helena Specialist Nursing team). This team has gone from strength to strength and now provides continuing care packages for children and young people with complex health needs as well as providing an excellent community nursing service.
Karen is part of the multidisciplinary ITB team and co-ordinates the Intrathecal Baclofen Service. Karen has been part of this service since the beginning in 1999 when the unit only had 2 patients. The ITB service has now assessed over 100 children and gone on to implant over 60 ITB pumps. Karen holds weekly nurse/ physiotherapy led ITB clinics
Karen is the lead professional for transition for young people with complex neurological health needs and has developed strong links with adult services for both health and social care.