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Career profile: Gary Rutherford

Gary Rutherford, a mental health nurse from Derry, and the RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year 2022

Why did you become a nurse?

I actually struggled with drug and alcohol use for a long time before I entered residential treatment for that in 2009. I started that process and when I got to the point where I was sober, I wanted to use my experience to help people, so I went back to university and did my nursing degree at the University of Ulster.

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How did your career develop?

Addiction has always been my area of interest due to my lived experience, but when I qualified my first post was in an inpatient crisis service in the Northern Trust, the Ross Thomson unit. I spent a year there until a permanent place became available in the Western Trust where I live here in Derry. I worked at Grangewood Hospital, a male admission ward in crisis care, and I was there for three years.

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