After growing up in the midst of a multi-generational family anchored in neighborhoods filled with history and diversity, Carol Etherington earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Catherine Spalding College in Louisville before going on to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt University. While in graduate school, Ms. Etherington did her practicum placement with the police department and saw many things she hoped to impact. Upon graduation, she launched her career in one of the reportedly poorest counties in North America—an opportunity she says resulted in some of the richest experiences of her life.
As a young professional, Ms. Etherington established the Victim Intervention Program and worked alongside detectives assigned to sexual assault and domestic violence cases. Still in existence today, the program provides crisis counseling to victims of violent crimes. Further noticing the needs of emergency professionals, Ms. Etherington went on to plan and direct the Police Advocacy Support Service, a program that supported police officers during their service to the city. Throughout her 20+ year career with the Davidson County Police Department, Carol Etherington impacted the lives of countless victims and their families thanks to her dedicated belief that some things, including human rights and dignity, cannot be compromised.
But her work with the community didn’t end in Nashville, or even in Tennessee. Ms. Etherington went on to continue her work abroad. After realizing the prevalence of rape throughout the war-ravaged country of Bosnia, Ms. Etherington dedicated her time to working with thousands traumatized by war. She went on to travel throughout 10 other countries with Doctors Without Borders and became President of the organization, the only nurse to ever earn the title in the United States.
Reflecting on her full career, Ms. Etherington takes special notice of the lessons she’s been afforded from sitting on the “front row of life” as she worked with survivors of crime, disaster, war and conflict across counties, countries and continents. She is especially grateful for her husband Stan and the “team approach” they have adopted which continues to support her global efforts.
A passionate advocate, dedicated change agent and professional role model, Carol Etherington is a 2018 inductee of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame.