Two third-year nursing students of Red Deer College are dipping their feet in the world of mental health care at Ponoka’s Rising Sun Clubhouse.
Chelsey Kool and Nichelle Palfi both requested to take their community placement clinical rotation in Ponoka because of the Centennial Centre. “Just because Ponoka is centered around mental health,” Kool explained.
Palfi added the girls wanted to experience what care is available out of the centre for the community.
This is Kool and Palfi’s fourth and last clinical rotation of the year. Each year includes four rotations and this is the only one relating to the mental health field.
A rotation lasts six weeks but the girls will only spend four in Ponoka and will finish their time in the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
“Basically in our mental health rotation, we have a community aspect . . . Basically we’re just assessing clients,” said Palfi.
“We’re seeing how they’re integrated in the community,” Kool added.
Along with building relationships, the girls involve the clubhouse members in health promotion activities such as stretch groups, but with a mental health perspective based on mental health psychology.
“We’re trying to apply nursing models while we’re here as well,” said Palfi.
Palfi comes from a family of psychiatric nurses and says she sees herself carrying on into the field of mental health, professionally. “I’m just very interested in the brain.”
She added it’s the ability to build therapeutic relationships with those with mental illness, as well as talking about coping strategies and integration, that draws her. “There’s a stigma, again with mental illness . . . They’re just like everybody else.”
While Kool is also enjoying her rotation, her heart has been in a different area of health care for a few years, emergency or labour and delivery. “I’ve kind of had my heart set on labour and delivery since year one.”
While both girls are in their third year at Red Deer College, they’ll graduate in December of this year rather than 2015 as both girls are fast trackers. Year three ends at the end of April and the girls will start up their education again at the beginning of May, schooling through the summer. The competitive and limited-spaced program is Grade Point Average (GPA) based.