When Karen Crouch took over the reins of Feros Care CEO in September 2021, she knew she’d have to be ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’. As an organisation that challenges stereotypes, questions the system and finds better ways of delivering care, Feros Care is a great fit for Karen. “Disruption is something I’m comfortable with,” says the Registered Nurse with decades of clinical and leadership experience who has been in disruptor roles throughout her career. “You don’t disrupt things for the sake of it. You do it because it can be better.
“Yes it’s uncomfortable, but if you’re doing it for the right reasons, you can’t go wrong.” Karen was a trailblazing nurse practitioner – one of the first in Queensland to be accredited to diagnose, prescribe and treat patients in an emergency and primary health setting. Armed with a Masters in Nursing Science, Karen pushed the boundaries and blurred traditional roles to provide affordable access and comprehensive health care to people in need. In Karen’s role, she treated the person as a whole – instead of a disease profile – a model of care that aligns with Feros Care’s modus operandi.
The opportunity to ‘disrupt for a purpose’ was the major drawcard for Karen to take the helm at Feros Care – an organisation she says everyone in the sector is curious about. “Feros Care is edgy, ambitious and prepared to innovate and like me, they believe that the status quo is never good enough,” says Karen. “Feros Care starts with the belief that everything is possible and works back from there.
“This belief flows through the organisation and onto the clients who are buoyed by this confidence and motivated to regain or remain independent.”
With six siblings, two children and a nursing career, Karen has dedicated her life to caring for others – be it family, patients, clients or her team. It’s a trait that dictates her leadership style, which takes a ‘people first’ approach.
From managing emergency departments to Director of Nursing at a 250-bed Queensland Health aged care unit, Karen’s formative years taught her the ‘art and science’ of nursing – a lesson that still rings true in her role today as CEO. “There’s the science behind care giving and then there’s the art to delivering it,” says Karen. “Cutting my teeth in intensive care units and emergency departments taught me good systems, processes and team work. It taught me how to rely on others and be reliable. “Nursing provided a real snapshot of life and showed me that with some help and encouragement, most people will flourish – you just need to put the right supports around them.”
Karen believes no one should have to ‘go it alone’ and that Feros Care’s programs and projects, like In Great Company and Be Someone For Someone, are strengthening the social fabric and bringing back community. “As humans we’re social creatures and we’re connected. If someone has fallen out of the fabric, we need to bring them back in,” she says.
“Through this work, we are not only looking after the seniors and participants of today, but holding hope for a brighter future for everyone.”