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The Department of Psychiatry is staffed with dedicated and highly qualified professionals. They include seventy-two permanent staff psychiatrists who have academic appointments through the University of British Columbia and forty consultant psychiatrists who have their primary appointments with another hospital, (for example, St. Paul's Hospital). Many of the permanent staff psychiatrists also have cross appointments with other mental health services, (such as Vancouver Community Mental Health Services, BC Women's & Children's Hospital, and Riverview Hospital).
Staff of the Department of Psychiatry includes clinical Fellows in some of the sub-specialty areas, for example, Geriatric Psychiatry, Cross Cultural Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry and Group Therapy. A Clinical Fellow is a post-M.D. trainee who is pursuing further clinical or research training in their own specialty and has successfully completed all of the time and examination requirements which would allow them to be registered as a specialist, in Psychiatry or in another specialty.
Psychiatry accepts Residents in doing three, six months or one year rotations at various clinical programs. Psychiatric Residents are physicians who have completed medical training and are doing further training specializing in Psychiatry.
This is also a training site for medical students, family practice residents and residents of other specialty training programs doing elective rotations.
Care of patients with acute mental health disorders is provided by an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, nursing staff, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, psychiatric workers in collaboration with research associates, quality improvement personnel and the support of a large network of clerical and administrative staff. Consultation with medical specialties within Vancouver General and the University of BC Hospitals is also available.
In the Psychiatric Assessment Unit and the Brief Intervention Unit, which is staffed by a team of eight psychiatrists, patients' care is reviewed in daily rounds and each patient is examined daily or more often as required. On all other units, patients' care is reviewed in weekly team rounds and each patient will experience one psychiatrist providing their care consistently throughout their stay. These inpatient units are staffed with two or three permanent staff Psychiatrists, one of whom is the Medical Manager of the unit.
In the outpatient programs, the patients are seen by Psychiatrists during their assessments. Recommendations of treatment are made collaboratively with the patient from a biopsychosocial model.
Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses
Except in the short stay units, nursing care is delivered via the primary care model. This means that a primary nurse and two or three associates work closely with an individual patient throughout their hospitalization. In addition to performing specialized psychiatric care, they help both the patient and family learn about their illness, treatment and ways to cope with hospitalization and recovery. Nurses in the outpatient programs are involved in providing assessments and group therapy.
Psychiatric Workers have a background in psychology and assist in delivering care in the Psychiatric Assessment Unit and the Brief Intervention Unit, and in other specialty units. They will often act with a Registered Nurse or Registered Psychiatric Nurse and other staff in a team approach to help patients and families learn about how to cope with their present crisis, mobilize personal resources and formulate a plan to cope more effectively. In addition, this team approach ensures safety and provides the intensity of care often required to assist patients in psychiatric crises.
There are registered Clinical Psychologists in the Department of Psychiatry. Clinical Psychologists are part of the interdisciplinary health care teams enhancing the psychological care patients may receive during their stay. Clinical Psychologists provide psychological treatments to individual patients and in a group setting, psychological consultations to physicians, other health care providers, and other professionals outside the institution.
We are also the central training site for an accredited Psychology Internship Program. Psychology Interns are Ph.D. students who have completed all requirements for a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology except for their last year of supervised clinical training.
Social Workers collaborate with other members of the interdisciplinary care team and assist family members by interpreting psychiatric treatment and helping to reduce their fear and other attitudes that might interfere with acceptance of psychiatric care and continuation of treatment. Social workers often help the patient to reconnect with their community and provide the link for patients between the hospital and community. They also provide group psychotherapy in outpatient programs.
Occupational Therapists (OT) focus on enabling patients to do the things that are important to them in their daily living. Occupational therapy aims to meet the universal human need to be occupied, to exercise body and mind, to be useful and creative and as far as possible to care for oneself. The OT collaborates with other members of the healthcare team to promote the rehabilitation and recovery of patients or to facilitate their ability to make a living.