A pioneer in geriatric care and research, Carol Brink is associate professor emeritus of clinical nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Her career as a clinician, educator, and researcher has been devoted to advancing the practice of gerontological nursing. Brink and her colleague, Dr. Thelma Wells, are internationally recognized for their groundbreaking research on urinary incontinence (U.I.) in older women. They cofounded the first continence clinic in the U.S., and their work sparked a national focus among practitioners and researchers on U.I. in older men and women.
Brink received her nursing diploma in 1956 and bachelor’s degree in 1962 from the School of Nursing. She earned a master’s degree in public health nursing administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969. Three years later, she was among the first in the nation to be certified as a medical nurse practitioner through an innovative program at Rochester.
She began her career as a staff and rehabilitation nurse for Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester, where she became keenly aware of the dilemmas involved in providing care to the chronically ill, homebound, and elderly. After joining the School of Nursing faculty in 1970, she worked as a practitioner and teacher in ambulatory care settings, including the University of Rochester Medical Center and Monroe Community Hospital. Brink collaborated with Wells to create a Master of Science degree program in gerontological nursing devoted to health issues in the older population. In 1980, she became an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, where she developed an expertise in U.I., returning to Rochester in 1987. After her retirement in 2001, she remained a consultant to the Center on Aging at the University of Rochester School of Nursing until 2004, when she received faculty emeritus status.
Brink was named Outstanding Scholarly Practitioner by the Schoolin 1995 and Outstanding Faculty Colleague in 1998. An endowed fund in her name was established in 2006 for the benefit of nursing education and research on aging. She has been an integral part of her class reunions and received the University Medallion in honor of her 50th reunion.
She was nominated as the American Nurse Association’s Gerontological Nurse of the Year in 1985 and received the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award in 2003 from the Gerontological Society of America. She is an active board member at St. John’s Senior Community in Rochester.