Ontario’s Chief Nursing Officer Vanessa Burkoski presented the first group of post graduate mental health nursing residents with their certificates of completion during a special ceremony in December at Whitby Mental Health Centre (WMHC). “This first cohort of nurses with specialized education in mental health and addictions will serve as an inspiration to other nurses desiring to practice in this important field of nursing,” Burkoski says.
Twenty nursing students have graduated from this inaugural residency program which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, three academic partners, and five mental health sites – including Whitby Mental Health Centre. The other mental health sites are the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene, Providence Care, Mental Health Services, Kingston and Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. The academic partners are Algonquin College, University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the University of Ottawa.
“I want to congratulate the twenty nursing students who have committed to helping improve the care of people living with mental health issues and addictions,” said David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “This unique, innovative program will also help to recruit and retain nurses while helping to increase access to mental health services.”
This specialized three month post graduate residency program, developed by an expert team of mental health nursing professionals, has enabled these nurses to build on their knowledge and understanding of mental health. The residency program has provided the foundation for a network of nurses dedicated to excellence in mental health care.
“It has been a pleasure working with our mental health partners and the Ministry to create a program that will attract new mental health nurses to this rewarding and challenging field,” says WMHC’s Janice Dusek, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice-President, Professional Practice and Strategic Development. “The success of the program and the enthusiasm from our first group of nursing residents certainly bodes well for the mental health sector.”
Nurses interested in participating in the next residency program should contact one of the five participating mental health sites or visit the program’s website at www.beamentalhealthnurse.ca for further information.