By: Kirsten Millar
Robin Whooten is a Community Mental Health Nurse at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre working in Outpatient Mental Health and Addiction Services. Whooten has been working in healthcare for 34 years.
“I had a great aunt who was a nurse who always encouraged me to think about nursing as a career. I grew up living next door to her,” says Whooten. “She was thrilled when I graduated from nursing school and went to work on the unit where she worked, 3 North at the Colchester Regional Hospital and I orientated with a nurse who was always my aunt’s favourite, Shauna Allen.”
Whooten worked at the Colchester Regional Hospital for a short period before working in the surgical unit at the old Halifax Infirmary for two years. She then began a three-month position in Lake Charles, Louisiana, as a travel nurse in the medical oncology and hematology unit.
“[Lake Charles] was an experience I am now glad I had but I was very happy to return to Colchester to work a couple more years on surgical units before going to work as a casual nurse on the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit,” says Whooten.
Whooten returned to the Colchester Regional Hospital in 1991. She began working on the hospital’s the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit in 1997, after her previous surgical unit closed. “I recall a male nurse who I worked with who was a very strong advocate for our patients questioning my motives for wanting to work on the inpatient psychiatric unit – was it just because the surgical unit was downsizing or did I really like psychiatry? I assured him I had always had an interest in psychiatric nursing from the time I was in nursing school and did a one-month work term at the Nova Scotia Hospital,” says Whooten.
In 2004, Whooten went on to work with the Colchester East Hants Health Centre’s psychiatric Crisis Team and then with the Intake Team in 2009 where she remained until 2020, when she joined the Compass Team.
“I picture myself spending my final years of nursing working with our Compass Team, where I have the pleasure of seeing many of our patients who have been diagnosed with chronic and persistent mental illness living their best life. It is so rewarding to play a role in helping them achieve their recovery goals,” says Whooten.
May 8-14 is National Nurses Week, and we are taking the opportunity to learn more about the many nurses who work for Nova Scotia Health and showcase the important roles that they play in a patient’s health-care journey. Thank you for all you do.