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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH welcomes nursing graduates

Brain science has always been a passion for University of Toronto nursing graduate Allyson Graham, but it’s the “art of mental health care” that attracted her to CAMH.

“I was inspired to work in mental health as an RN because in this field, so much of the work is done in an artful way -- a way that integrates technical skill with emotional understanding. Every action is thoughtful and intentional, so everything little thing can be considered therapeutic. The way you put on a blood pressure cuff or set up a meal tray can show a client you care, that you’re there to listen when they’re ready to talk.“

Allyson is among the 20 new nursing graduates who arrived at CAMH this fall under the Nursing Graduate Guarantee (NGG) initiative. Funded by the province, the initiative is designed to ensure every new nursing graduate – RN and RPN who wishes to work full time in Ontario will have that opportunity.

“The intent of the program is to provide an opportunity for new nursing graduates to participate in intensive training with a goal of full time permanent employment,” says Margaret Gehrs, Director, Interprofessional Practice. “NGG nurses are eligible to apply for full time jobs after three months of training.”

CAMH has been taking part in the NGG initiative for the past 10 years.

“An estimated 50 nurses have gone through this program,” says John Vespa, Director, HR Clinical Programs. “This is the first year we have welcomed three internationally educated nurses referred through our partnership with the CARE centre for internationally educated nurses.”

“CAMH’s participation in the NGG initiative has helped boost confidence in new nursing graduates who go on to become skilled clinicians and future nursing leaders,” says Margaret Gehrs. “In fact 50 per cent of our Barford Scholars have entered CAMH through this initiative.”


Professional Development


Allyson Graham says she is looking forward to the mentorship opportunities that lie ahead and “being further exposed to different clinical styles and ways to balance evidenced-based biomedicine with the intangible aspects of healing—those things that make the difference between receiving treatment and receiving care.”

She is also looking forward to getting to know more senior leaders like CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn and Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice, Rani Srivastava, who were both on hand to welcome Allyson and her fellow nursing grads at a meet and greet in December

“Everyday I step onto this campus and learn something new every day,” Catherine told the group. “This is an organization filled with optimism and opportunity. Many hospitals provide mental health care but few have the role we have to advocate for our patients.”

“Fifteen years ago CAMH was not a place senior nursing students and new graduates wanted to be. But a lot has changed,” added Rani. “Today we are seen as a place where a lot is happening for nurses, for patients, for health care. We are proud that new nurses want to come here and see mental health and CAMH as a place for a growing career!

Published on December 21, 2017

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