Paula, Registered Nurse, Substance Use Services | Staff Feature


Registered Nurse, Substance Use Services

Mental Health & Substance Use Services - Urgent Care Response Centre
Nurses> Mental Health and Substance Use
this story

I love that nursing has provided me so many different opportunities and areas to work in, from emergency nursing, to home health, public health, corrections, acute care, transition coordination, and most recently community mental health. My career has never been boring, and I continue to find new ways to challenge my personal and professional growth. I love that it is a career that keeps on giving.

My colleagues are incredibly special individuals. They have all chosen to work with clients who are marginalized and experience barriers accessing traditional health services. Our collective goal is to make the site as welcoming and inclusive as possible. Every day I see my colleagues use their unique experiences and personalities to connect with clients and build relationships with them, so they [feel comfortable in continuing to access] harm reduction services, other health care supports, and education.

My colleagues make me very happy and fulfilled at work. They are the most thoughtful, kind, and genuinely caring people to work with. They go out of their way for clients and staff when someone expresses a need. It might mean walking a client in the rain to catch a taxi, or bringing a treat to work for a colleague to try. SafePoint is truly a special environment thanks to the managers and staff that work there.

I have learned more about myself and my own capacity to manage stress, and how important it is to treat everyone with kindness, to have a sense of humour, and good personal support networks, especially when working in the field of community mental health and community care services. It is very important to be aware of my triggers and to develop skills and techniques to prevent those triggers from influencing my interactions with clients. Ultimately, I need to apply the principles of trauma-informed practice in my work at all times so that I can build healthy professional relationships with my clients, based on trust.

I would suggest that if you’re thinking of working at a supervised consumption site, consider doing a shadow shift. That way, you’ll get a better feel of what to expect.

I love that [living and working] in the Fraser Health region, we are so close to my favorite activities, like horseback riding, hiking, and shopping.

Outside of work and to take care of my own mental health, I connect with my sons whenever possible – we check in with each other to see how each of us are doing. With them being busy with school, we try to see each other in person at least a few times a year. I also like to go on hikes, and spend time with family. I really value time with my family and quiet solitude with my two beautiful cats.

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