A FORMER England rugby star is now helping try to save lives in the Emergency Department at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Having won almost everything there is to win in the women’s game during a trophy-laden career, Dr Karen Jones, 43 is now working as an emergency medicine consultant helping tackle emergency health problems in A&E.
Despite swapping her scrum cap for her stethoscope, Karen hasn’t cut her ties with the sport as she continues to work part-time as club doctor for Premiership side Gloucester, a role she has held since 2019.
The former back-row joined Worcestershire Royal Hospital in July to be closer to home and ahead of a brand-new, expanded Emergency Department at the hospital, which is expected to open by the end of this year.
“I feel lucky to be part of the team at Worcestershire Royal. It’s a challenging time to start somewhere new but I feel very fortunate to work alongside such a lovely, caring medical and nursing team who work so hard and really care about their patients,” said Karen.
With a history of sporting excellence, Karen is no regular NHS consultant. Alongside studying for her degree at the University of Oxford, Karen twice competed in the Boat Race for Oxford against Cambridge.
After finding rugby later in her studies, Karen fell in love with the game and quickly rose through the ranks of her university teams before eventually playing in the prestigious Varsity Match against Cambridge three consecutive times, including captaining the winning side in 2001.
Karen went on to feature for England 32 times, including a number of games as captain of the national side. Her international caps took her all around the world to games in New Zealand, Canada and Italy among many others, including winning the Women’s Nations Cup trophy in 2008 and three consecutive Six Nations Championship triumphs from 2008 to 2010.
While working as an emergency medicine registrar, Karen joined Premiership outfit Worcester Ladies in 2009. During her time at the club, she even became player/doctor for the side, using her medical training to help patch up her injured teammates.
“I’ve stitched up lots of my teammates in many different places and there were lots of dislocations I’ve put back in,” explained Karen.
In 2013 Karen was named club captain and went on to lift the Women’s Premiership title for Worcester – becoming the first club outside of London to achieve the feat.
After her retirement in 2014 Karen continued her medical involvement with Worcester rugby, taking on the role of club doctor for the men’s Premiership team.
“I run an injury clinic and deal with everything from coughs and colds through to major injuries, mental health or anything that comes up with the club really. I’ve built up a good relationship with the players which is part of what I enjoy,” said Karen.
“I’ve lived in Worcester for a long time so it’s great to be working at my local hospital, and it’s an exciting time to join with the plans for the new, expanded department in the near future.”