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Two new employees share experiences gained during their student placements

Two individuals who were placed at the Red Fish Healing Centre program as students reflect on their diverse experiences, and the value of staff preceptors/mentors.
 
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​Today’s students are our future health care team members – B.C. has recognized the importance of student learning as part of its health human resource strategy. PHSA strives to be a leader in the resources and tools, planning, coordination and hosting of students across its sites and programs. 

There are approximately 2,600 students and 850 residents placed in health programs across PHSA each year for their practice experience. In recent years, several hundred new employees hired noted​ that they had a student experience at PHSA and that the experience was a factor in their employment decision. 

The role of staff in supporting student placements is an important part of PHSA’s academic mandate, and also an important part of PHSA’s recruitment efforts. ​

Hear from two PHSA employees who completed student practicums at the Red Fish Healing Centre​

Renay Deo, mental health and addictions support worker​

Renay_Deo_resized.jpgAt what point in your career path or academic program are you?

​I’m currently in my third year of the Psychiatric Nursing program at Douglas College and am a newly-hired Mental Health and Addictions Support Worker here at Red Fish Healing Centre.

What interested you about being at the Red Fish Healing Centre?

As a part of my nursing program, I completed a seven-week clinical rotation at Red Fish. In those seven weeks, I was led and supported by incredible staff and peers. Because of my positive experience, I was interested to seek an opportunity to return and become a part of the Red Fish team.​

What were the best parts of your experience? If you could change something about your placement, what would it be?

The best parts of my experience included the welcoming team and environment; a space where I could expand my learning and establish therapeutic relationships with clients. Being a student nurse, entering a new placement can feel overwhelming. However, at Red Fish, it was completely non-judgemental and I felt comfortable asking questions and seeking advice from the team on rotation.​

If I could change something about the placement, it would simply be that it was longer! My confidence grew each week and the overall experience was enjoyable. I am pleased to be back and a part of the team.

Did you learn something that you hadn’t expected about yourself, the team, the clients, or anything else?

Absolutely. I learnt that as a student nurse I am capable of so much more than I initially thought I could manage, and [staff at] Red Fish encouraged me to discover that potential. In turn, this reflected in my skills with working with a team and taking on different roles as support but as a leader as well.

​Additionally, the opportunity to work with vulnerable clients, hearing their individual journeys and helping support their recovery was a memorable experience.

Would you recommend that other students consider a placement at PHSA? Any advice for interested individuals?

I would completely recommend that other students consider a placement at PHSA. The team is incredibly supportive, transparent and will lead you step by step into entering a health authority. I’d advise individuals to be confident in their actions and reciprocate the same way in having open and clear communication no matter the inquiry they have.

Patricia Dellera, psychiatric nurse

Patricia_Dellera_resized.jpgAt what point in your career path or academic program are you?​

​I currently work as a full-time psychiatric nurse at Red Fish Healing Centre and have been a new grad here for eight months.

What interested you about being at the Red Fish Healing Centre?

Something that interested me about Red Fish is that it was a brand new facility dedicated to helping clients who struggle both with mental health challenges and substance use. 

The amount of overdoses that occur in the Lower Mainland and the Downtown Eastside are rising every year and I feel that having a facility that focuses both on trauma-informed care and harm reduction is crucial to decreasing these numbers while also getting rid of the misconceptions these individuals face every day.

​What were the best parts of your experience? If you could change something about your placement, what would it be? 

The best part of my experience as a student at Red Fish was the staff. Every nurse or health care worker that I encountered was always very welcoming and never made me feel like I was an outsider while on the unit. The staff never failed to answer the questions I had, despite being as busy as they were. Additionally, there were tremendous amounts of learning opportunities at this facility. I was always offered opportunities to watch or do skills I had not done at the time. 

Something I would have changed about my placement is the fact that I was only on one unit the entirety of my first placement at Red Fish. Despite this, I am happy that I was able to be on this unit as it is the same one I did my preceptorship on and am now working here!

Did you learn something that you hadn’t expected about yourself, the team, the clients, or anything else?​

The major thing that I had learned while being placed at Red Fish is the drastic impact childhood trauma and trauma, in general, has on people’s mental health. While I already knew this, it is highlighted drastically in the population that we work with here. Learning this helped me understand and realize the importance of trauma-informed care which is also a core value here at Red Fish. 

Another thing I learned is the importance of teamwork in a health-care setting. The staff at Red Fish truly support each other both in high acuity situations, such as Code Whites, and in simple everyday tasks. Everyone is always ready to give a helping hand when needed.

Would you recommend that other students consider a placement at PHSA? Any advice for interested individuals?​

Yes! I would definitely recommend other students to consider a placement at Red Fish Healing Centre and with PHSA. My biggest piece of advice for individuals looking to be placed here is to really take advantage of the learning environment that Red Fish has to offer. This facility is one of the most welcoming teaching environments I had ever encountered throughout nursing school. 

Another piece of advice I have is to not shy away from the experiences given while here. As a student, it is more acceptable to make mistakes and this is the perfect time to ask more questions because you have more guidance.

For more information 

​PHSA is actively looking for ways to increase capacity to host students and innovate practice experiences. 

If you know of any students who would like to be placed throughout PHSA, their school’s placement coordinator can request a placement directly through the Health Sciences Placement Network (HSPnet)

 
 
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