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Host: Mark Aitken | Guest: Heather Pickard | Duration: 34:24 | Published: 30 May 2020

Tags: Alcohol and/or Other Drugs, Addiction, Recovery, Nurse impairment, Midwife impairment

One of the main reason’s nurses, midwives and students contact NMHPV is for support to address an alcohol or other drug issue. This may be through a phone call, a counselling consultation with one of our qualified and experienced nurses or midwife, or our website resources. We are pleased to add to these resources with our first podcast.

In this first podcast, Mark Aitken talks to Heather Pickard, a registered nurse and Chair of the NMHPV Board, who provides her personal story of a nurse in recovery from addiction.

Twenty-six years into recovery, Heather shares her addiction journey, thoughts on the risks for nurses and midwives in relation to developing addiction, the reasons people may not seek support, the importance of self-care and how to access support. She discusses the importance of maintaining a healthy work and life balance and self-reflection.

Heather tells us that nurses and midwives are often loaded with shame and stigma when  experiencing addiction and this may be an impediment to accessing support. However, key to Heather’s recovery, was another nurse who recognised her problem and provided support and care. It is the nursing and midwifery community that can be our greatest support.

Throughout this podcast, Heather provides hope that support and recovery is possible, and she reminds us that to live our best life we need to be ‘humans being’ not just ‘humans doing’!

If you are concerned about your alcohol or other drug use or for the welfare of another nurse, midwife or student, please call NMHPV from 8.30am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday on 9415 7551 or email: admin@nmhp.org.au

Correction to the podcast: Yvonne Chaperon worked for the ANMF not as stated with the old Victorian Nurses' Board. The ANMF were pivotal in the formation of NMHPV.

About Our Guest: Heather Pickard

Following a personal experience of recovery from addiction, Heather directed her career as a registered nurse toward the alcohol and other drug (AOD) and mental health sectors.

She established the Hospital Liaison Team (now known as Addiction Medicine), advising hospitals in building capacity for acute AOD presentations, and later was integral in the development of the Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria (NMHPV), which addresses the sensitive health needs of nurses and midwifes.

Since 2008, Heather has been CEO of the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC), a sector leader in lived experience AOD work, with varied programs covering service user advocacy, family therapy and support, supported residential recovery and peer workforce development.

Related Resources

» View Transcript

» NMHPV Substance Use

» NMHPV Health and Wellbeing Toolkit

» NMHP Champion Program

Nurse & Midwife Support

» Nurse & Midwife Support

» Addiction in Nursing And Midwifery

Self Help Addiction Resource Centre

» Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC)

» Family Drug and Gambling Help

» Recovery for Young People

Keys to a nurse or midwife thriving in recovery from their alcohol or other drug (AOD) addiction (a personal story)

Podcast Episode 1: Conversations that Connect