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UBC nursing students call Forensic Psychiatric Hospital “a great environment to learn”

This year marked the first time that University of British Columbia (UBC) nursing students undertook placements at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.
Forensic Psychiatric Hospital grounds
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“Working here is a unique, different, rich experience,” said Trevor Aarbo, senior director, patient care services. “Not many students know what to expect, but it is certainly a place where you will learn a lot and be exposed to a complex and vulnerable patient population.”

And learn they did. The latest group of UBC students had glowing accounts of their experiences at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, shared via evaluation forms after their placements concluded. Below are some of their comments:

  • “The staff here are so welcoming and really help you to learn a lot. The work can be challenging but there are great team dynamics and I never felt unsafe. It’s a very supportive environment.”
  • “I would love to work here. I found it challenging and interesting. I can see myself working in the A building in the future.”
  • “The most important thing I learned about the patients was that no matter how heinous the crimes are, they are still human beings and need to be treated with respect.”
  • “The people who work here are of very high calibre, helpful to new staff, willing to share their experiences and aware of safety.”
  • “This has been my favourite placement so far. I did not expect to like mental health so much as an RN student. I would recommend this to everyone.”
Learning experiences differ depending on the station at which a student is stationed, but most leave with a better, more thorough perception of patients who have mental health difficulties and are in conflict with the law. 

It’s a glimpse into a world not many are privy to. Offering placements at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital also helps to reduce the stigma often associated with this population and increase understanding of the mental health patient journey at the hospital.

“I would like to express thanks to our staff for providing such a full, supportive learning experience for this group of students on their first foray into forensic psychiatry,” said Aarbo. 
BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services; Forensic Psychiatric Hospital; Correctional Health Services; correctional health; mental health; students
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