Welcome to the Vancouver Island Psychiatry Postgraduate Program
The UBC Vancouver Island Postgraduate Psychiatry Program started just 4 years ago and has been steadily expanding to offer a full residency based in Victoria, with notable training sites throughout the Island Health Authority (VIHA). We have all of the benefits of a full program with the advantages of a smaller centre. Residents will have more individualized attention to their learning needs. Services, especially in Victoria, are centralized, which allows more efficient use of time and excellent opportunities for continuity of care. Because Vancouver Island is relatively self-sufficient and the population is geographically constrained, it is a great opportunity to see how all aspects of the mental health system work together.
Our residents have closer relationships with their supervisors, which are cultivated over the course of the residency. All of the inpatient supervisors also maintain outpatient practices at the Victoria Mental Health Centre. The supervisors are readily available for questions regarding patients, even post-rotation. In Year 2, inpatient rotations occur in the state-of-the-art Patient Care Centre (PCC) at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH). The psychiatry units are on the first 2 floors with medical and surgical units on the remaining floors. This has greatly reduced the stigma of mental illness and also allowed for better collaboration when psychiatric patients have concurrent medical illnesses. Consultation Liaison psychiatry rotations are also available at the PCC and also at the nearby Victoria General Hospital.
When new programs are developed by the Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) Program, we are able to take advantage of these opportunities for the residents. MHSU has implemented many innovative programs. For example, throughout Vancouver Island, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams have been established. In Victoria, the teams have a unique composition with close police and community service agency links. The downtown street and homeless population provides a challenging and stimulating learning opportunity for residents, especially for the complex interplay among socioeconomic factors, mental health and addictions, and other special populations such as off-reserve aboriginal people.
The Island Medical Program (IMP) also provides support to the residency program thanks to our Regional Associate Dean of Medicine, Dr. Bruce Wright, who is a strong advocate for distributed medical programs. We share many resources with IMP, and we appreciate the support Dr. Wright provides at various levels of the UBC postgraduate system. Residents are also involved in teaching the IMP medical students, which is much appreciated by both the students and the IMP faculty. IMP faculty also coordinate other events that are relevant to psychiatry residents. As well, an excellent medical leadership elective was recently developed is that is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate learners.
Currently, there is expansion of other postgraduate programs in Victoria. In 2013, Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine residencies were created. Because of this new development, there is a lot of support and interest in all of our postgraduate programs. With more postgraduate residents, there are further opportunities for shared learning and collegiality.
Psychiatry residents have a lounge and suite of offices located within the secure area at Victoria Mental Health Centre (VMHC). Residents will use the offices for their psychotherapy patients throughout the residency program. They also have the advantage of dedicated office space during their outpatient rotations. The VMHC is centrally located near the inpatient units, outpatient programs, and psychiatry emergency unit which helps with continuity of care and efficient use of time. In Victoria, all psychiatry emergencies go to the Psychiatry Emergency Service (PES) located at the Archie Courtnall Centre at Royal Jubilee Hospital. The VMHC offers a wide range of therapy programs to support individuals with complex mental health disorders, including group programs, CBT programs, an anxiety disorder clinic, and a wide range of case-management services. The USTAT program and addictions programs are located a few blocks away and offer a wide array of excellent learning opportunities. The USTAT program offers short term therapy and group CBT and DBT programs for patients presenting with acute and serious mental illnesses.
Geriatric psychiatry is based at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, with inpatient units in the PCC, next door to the general adult units, and the outpatient clinic in the Memorial Pavilion. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) inpatient and outpatient rotations are done at the Queen Alexandra Hospital near the University of Victoria. There are also some CAP experiences at Victoria General Hospital where the pediatric service is located.
Victoria-based psychiatry residents in PGY 2-3 and part of PGY 4 have a full academic day on Thursdays, mostly by video link. Once a month, residents will travel to Vancouver for their academic day. This gives residents a chance to socialize with their Lower Mainland-based colleagues, and also to attend resident business meetings. Most residents travel by float plane to Vancouver, which makes it quite an enjoyable and exciting trip! In the winter months, generally the residents will do all lectures by video link. In PGY 4-5, the scheduling is more flexible, depending on the learning needs of the residents.
I invite any interested medical students to come out and look at our program. We would be happy to show you around. Come and experience the fabulous lifestyle we enjoy year round on Vancouver Island!
– Dr. Alison Gregson
Vancouver Island Psychiatry Postgraduate Program Information
Click here for the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians of Canada mandated rotations.
During second year, residents complete six-month rotations in two of the three following areas:
- Mood Disorders
- General Psychiatry
- Schizophrenia Service and Short Term Psychotherapy
For Mood Disorders and General Psychiatry, residents spend their mornings on the inpatient unit in the Patient Care Centre at Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) and then work in the outpatient clinic at Victoria Mental Health (also located onsite at RJH) in the afternoons. This is different from the way rotations are structured at other sites where residents work full-time in an inpatient setting and then full-time in an outpatient setting. The split workday in Victoria is beneficial as it allows residents to continue to follow patients who have been discharged in the outpatient clinic, and if the need arises and outpatients are admitted, residents can continue to follow them on the ward.
The other available rotation is a blend of two contrasting experiences—residents work on the inpatient Schizophrenia service in the morning and then go to the Urgent Short Term Assessment and Treatment Clinic (USTAT) where they work in an outpatient setting to provide short term psychotherapy modalities such as CBT for both individual patients and in group therapy settings.
Residents spend three months with the inpatient Child Psychiatry team at Ledger House, located at Queen Alexandra Hospital for Children. Here they work as part of an interdisciplinary team that includes psychiatry, nursing, social work, psychology, occupational therapy, and clinical counselors.
The other three months of this rotation are spent as part of the Anscomb Outpatient team, also located at Queen Alexandra. Residents are involved in assessing and treating complex disorders of childhood, including mood disorders, psychotic disorders, OCD, tic disorders, and ADHD, among other issues. Residents will also receive training in family therapy during this rotation.
Residents have access to a variety of geriatric psychiatry experiences across many different acuity levels during this rotation. They work on the Geriatric Psychiatry inpatient unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital, provide consults for geriatric patients as part of the Consultation Liaison service, and work in the Senior’s outpatient clinic. Residents also gain experience working in the community at different Long Term Care facilities and work with the Senior’s Outreach Team to do assessments and home visits.
Consultation Liaison Psychiatry
Residents have the option of doing Consultation Liaison (CL) psychiatry at one of two sites—Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) or Victoria Gene
ral Hospital (VGH). There are unique experiences at both locations. At RJH, CL provides consultation to the Cardiac, Renal, Plastics, General Medical, and Surgical Units as well as the Multiple Sclerosis and Cardiac outpatient clinics. At VGH, CL provides consultation for Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Obstetrics. Residents at VGH also have the opportunity to gain experience in Geriatric and Child CL psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry.
Residents typically work 2 call shifts per month at the Archie Courtnall Centre at RJH. Here they work with their supervisor and a highly skilled team of psychiatric nurses as well as social work in a dedicated Emergency Psychiatry facility.
A weekly observed interview takes place on Mondays from 11:00 to 12:30. Junior residents (PGY 1-3) have the opportunity to interview a patient in front of a one-way mirror with a staff supervisor, residents, and medical students observing. Following the interview, teaching is provided around the interview and case formulation.
Elective/Selective Opportunities in Victoria
- Sexual Medicine
- Reproductive Psychiatry
- Outreach/Rural Psychiatry
- Pain Clinic
The academic program is designed to meet the standards of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Residents are excused from their clinical responsibilities for the day to attend an integrated series of seminars covering all aspects of psychiatry.
The PGY1 curriculum is designed to introduce residents to a variety of topics in psychiatry. The academic day for PGY1 Residents is provided monthly at UBC Vancouver.
Academic seminars are held for a full day each Thursday for PGY2, PGY3 and PGY4 Residents. Our Residents experience most seminars through high-speed videoconferencing links, however they have the opportunity to travel to UBC Vancouver for one academic day a month. The PGY2 curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to General Adult Psychiatry. It is preceded by a two month seminar series covering Emergency Psychiatry. The PGY3 curriculum is covers topics in Child Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry. The PGY4 curriculum is designed to provide residents with in depth knowledge of major clinical syndromes and special areas in psychiatry including Consultation-Liaison, Schizophrenia, Forensic Psychiatry, Reproductive Psychiatry, etc. A comprehensive psychotherapy curriculum covering all validated treatment modalities runs on Thursday afternoons; in the PGY2 year this covers basic psychotherapy skills and increases in complexity and diversity in the PGY3 and PGY4 years.
PGY5 Residents have a flexible self-study program. The PGY5 curriculum focuses on preparation for first years of practice and is held over two days.
Explore Island Life
About Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is a paradise for travelers seeking authentic adventures both outdoors and in. It was voted the #1 island in Canada and #6 in the World by the Conde Nast Traveller’s Magazine in 2012, and voted #1 island in Canada & the Continental United States by the Travel + Leisure Magazine that same year. As one of Canada’s top places to live, work, and play, Vancouver Island offers a balanced life in a community where you make a difference.
Nearly 450 km long and 100 km wide, Vancouver Island is the largest island on the West Coast of North America. It hosts a rich and diverse environment, from sandy beaches to towering snow-capped mountains to dense coniferous rainforests; it provides a safe and sustainable home to thousands of plant and animal species. The possibilities for adventure are endless: fish for delicious coastal salmon, wander though the old-growth forests, paddle alongside a pod of Orcas, admire the art of the Coast Salish, ski the world-class runs of Mt. Washington, golf on any one of the many courses available, or relax and enjoy the Oceanside. This truly is a paradise.
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, with a population of approximately 345,000. It is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and boasts some of the finest opportunities for urban or outdoor activities. Victoria is the driest city on the West Coast of BC, featuring only a fraction of the precipitation that Vancouver sees. It is also the second sunniest city on the West Coast, where the winters are mild with temperatures rarely freezing, and summers are dry and warm.
Surrounded by water on three sides; Victoria has spectacular ocean and mountain views only a short distance away from virtually every residential location. Known as the “City of Gardens”, Victoria has blooming flowers from February to November. Heading outside the city, Strathcona Provincial Park is located mid-island and boasts a maze of hiking trails in the summer, and cross-country skiing trails in the winter. Long Beach is perfect for surfing in Tofino, Mount Washington hosts the best downhill skiing/snowboarding runs, and the Gulf Islands have fantastic marine campgrounds.
Vancouver Island offers a wide range of opportunities to explore arts and cultural events in the community. Wherever your interests lie, whether it be music, art, sight-seeing, or food, there is something for everyone. Currently, there is a revival in the music scene, with festivals gathering incredible talent. There are three main arts and music festivals located in Victoria: Rifflandia Music Festival, Victoria Fringe Festival, and Victoria International Jazz Festival.
Victoria provides many places to visit and explore, as well as venues and events throughout the year. Craigdarroch Castle is located near downtown and was the former location of Victoria College before becoming the University of Victoria, and Hatley Castle is the current home of Royal Roads University in Colwood, as well as a location from the popular film franchise, X-Men. In Downtown Victoria, there are sightseeing tours available, as well as whale watching tours, and in the summer months, horse-drawn carriages provide tours of downtown and James Bay. Downtown also hosts the Legislature building and grounds, touted as one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture. The Legislature provides tours year-round, and in the evening, the building is lit up with over 3,000 lights to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The Empress Hotel overlooks Victoria’s Inner Harbour, and is host to two restaurants, a Tea room, many shops, Miniature World, and beautiful gardens.
Victoria is a haven for food-lovers. The number of restaurants per capita is second highest in North America! The local culture actively embraces the use of fresh, local ingredients; made possible by the proximity of the ocean and small-scale farms nearby. For those who love variety, there is a diverse selection of unique restaurants and markets available in Victoria area. Our residents have mentioned Brasserie L’ecole, Stage Wine Bar, Rebar (an all vegetarian restaurant), Ferris’ Oyster Bar, Tacofino Food Truck, Shizen Sushi, and Jam Café as some of their favourite places to go. Other local favourites include West Coast Waffles, Azuma Sushi, Fifth Street Bar & Grill, The Reef (a Jamaican restaurant), Pizzeria Prima Strada, and Pagliacci’s.
Victoria is an ideal place for residents with families, or for those who are thinking of starting a family. The combination of low crime, wide variety of family-friendly activities and facilities, the climate, and cultural opportunities make Victoria and it’s surrounding areas a wonderful community for children.
The Greater Victoria School District has developed groupings, or families of schools in an effort to create smoother transitions for students between schools within the community. French Immersion is a flourishing program with multiple starting points. For students entering high school, there are programs available for flexible and gifted learning. There are also active sports ‘Programs of Choice’ in certain schools, including soccer, hockey, lacrosse, curling, baseball and softball. The GVSD has also headed up initiatives such as the 1000 by 5, encouraging children to read 1000 books before they enter kindergarten, a variety of other community literacy projects, and programs to develop safe, caring school communities as well as social responsibility. For more information on the GVSD and their commitment to learning, please check out http://www.sd61.bc.ca/.
There is a wide range of community activities for children, youth, and families available in Victoria and the surrounding areas. Panorama Recreation in Saanich currently offers a $59 ‘Active Pass’ for children and youth, which provides unlimited access to drop-in programs and discounts on registered programs and equipment rentals. Saanich Commonwealth Place is a popular swimming pool for families, providing waterslides, Olympic diving boards & pools, and a wavepool. Many yoga, martial arts, and fitness studios provide programs to children, youth, and families. There are also many art, music, dance, and theatre programs available for children and youth in Victoria and surrounding areas. The District of Saanich is committed to building up youth into leaders, and they provide a variety of opportunities to engage the youth in their community. There are also active youth programs such as Duke of Edinburgh’s Young Canadian’s Challenge, Model Government, St. John’s Ambulance, Cadets Canada, the Youth.
Top Ten Reasons You Should Choose Victoria for Your Residency
The “20 minutes or less” commute.
Living in the Greater Victoria area means that you’ll never be stuck in 2 hour commutes from home to work. Some of our residents live so close by, that they walk home from the hospital for lunch! Short commutes mean more accessibility, more transportation options, and more time doing what’s really important to you.
Live in “The City of Gardens”.
Up to 8.5 million colourful blossoms have been counted in the annual flower count that Victoria holds each spring. The world-famous Butchart Gardens, along with the Butterfly Gardens, Glendale Gardens, Government House, Finnerty Gardens, Hatley Castle, Abkhazi Garden, Beacon Hill Park and Playfair Park all provide a charming escape from the bustle of city life.
The Great Outdoors is just next door.
From serene beaches to temperate rainforests, Victoria has it all for the outdoor enthusiast. Kayak between the Gulf Islands or ski Mount Washington; surf in Tofino or swim next to a waterfall, the opportunities are endless! Even Mount Douglas and Mount Tolmie are just a few minutes away from the main hospital site.
50% less precipitation than Vancouver.
Victoria’s sub-Mediterranean climate means an average of approximately 2,000 hours of sunshine, and only 4 months of frost yearly. The offshore breezes prevent the summer from becoming too hot, and the winters are mild, rarely including snow. Who could say no to the mildest climate in Canada? 50% less precipitation than Vancouver.
Wildlife right at your doorstep.
Victoria is surrounded by ecological reserves that provide a safe haven for all sorts of wildlife. There are whale watching tours out of the Inner Harbour, and Marine Naturalists can provide guided tours of Victoria’s protected waters. Deer roam freely in Victoria, hardly a day will go by without seeing at least one!
Enjoy and active lifestyle
Because Victoria’s climate is so mild, the opportunities for outdoor activities and exercise are endless. Most Victoria dwellers participate in a variety of activities, from running, to swimming, to yoga. There are also plenty of community sports leagues and group activities for everyone to participate in.
Experience the architecture of a different world.
With carefully preserved reminders of its colonial past, Victoria is home to several castles, cathedrals, hotels and a wide variety of 19th and early 20th century historical buildings. Our Provincial Legislature is steeped in tradition and sets the atmosphere of downtown Victoria, lighting up the night with over 3,000 lights commemorating the birthday of Queen Victoria.
Explore a diverse array of multiculturalism.
Between Canada’s oldest Chinatown and rich First Nations heritage,
Victoria is a welcoming and inclusive city that showcases diversity
through its community. BC is the most ethnically diverse province in
Canada, with many organizations and community groups promoting the
integration of traditions into the social fabric of our province.
Victorians know how to eat.
You’ll never have to fear food-boredom in Victoria! The Empress’ Bengal
Lounge, The Irish Times, and The Bard & Banker are landmarks that
feature décor reminiscent of Victorian & Edwardian era opulence.
Shine Café, The Blue Fox, and Floyd’s Diner are all popular brunch
locations. And these are just a few of the over 500 different food
joints in Victoria alone.
So much room for festivities!
Being the province’s capital has its perks! Victoria is host to a variety of music festivals, the Symphony Splash, and a variety of holiday celebrations. The Legislature lawns and the Inner Harbour are used for free shows and events for young and old alike, providing a community atmosphere unique to the city.
Travelling to Vancouver Island
Via Air Travel
The award-winning Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is located in Sidney, BC, approximately 30 minutes away from our main site via car, or 90 minutes via BC Transit. A shuttle service also runs from the airport into Downtown Victoria for your convenience. YYJ is one of the top ten busiest airports in Canada, servicing approximately 1.5 million passengers a year. They provide approximately 120 flights throughout North America. CNNGo, now known as CNN Travel, recently rated YYJ as being one of the top tem most loved airports in the world, stating: “[Victoria International Airport] has earned its stripes on a reputation for ease, efficiency and friendliness, along with some value added quirks that no other airport in the world would ever bother to think about…for example, hosting a special ‘chocolatier’ exhibit and unveiling a 2.5 kilometer bike path around the perimeter.”
For air travel directly into Downtown Victoria, Harbour Air provides float-plane service into Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Harbour Air has the largest all-seaplane fleet in the world! Over 50 seaplanes regularly service Victoria, Vancouver Harbour, Vancouver South Terminal, Nanaimo, Comox, Whistler, Sechelt, and the Gulf Islands, as well as provide private charters. Their flights are fast and affordable, and our Residents use Harbour Air to travel to their Academic Day in Vancouver, with the freedom to return home before the evening, or stay to enjoy what Vancouver has to offer.
BC Ferries provides the primary ferry service from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands to Vancouver & the Lower Mainland. Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal is closest to Victoria, at approximately 32 minutes away our main site via car, or 70 minutes via BC Transit. It is located in Sidney, at the furthest most point of the Saanich Peninsula. On the mainland, Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is located in Tsawwassen, located approximately 45 minutes away from Vancouver General Hospital or 80 minutes via Translink. The ferries travelling between Vancouver Island and the Mainland have a wide variety of passenger amenities, including the Coastal Buffet, Sitka Coffee Place, White Spot Restaurant, a Gift Shop featuring Coastal art and clothing, SeaWest Lounge, and children’s play areas. With the breathtaking views on the upper decks, travelling by ferry is not only convenient, but also a wonderful experience.
Via Commercial Bus Lines
Greyhound and Pacific Coach Lines provide commercial bus transportation, centralized in their main terminal on Douglas Street behind the Fairmont Empress Hotel. They are the primary source of commercial transportation up and down Vancouver Island, providing economical and frequent departures throughout the day. They also provide service to Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station, the western terminus for VIA Rail, northern terminus for Amtrak’s Cascades and hub for commercial buses headed towards the Sunshine Coast, Interior BC, and the rest of Canada.
Victoria is well known for it’s efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the community. Our site is centrally-located to schools, affordable housing, amenities, and Downtown, making it simple and easy to select green options in commuting to and from our main site. Royal Jubilee has many bike compounds on site, and there are 4 major bus routes that stop directly alongside the perimeter. Although our residents find having a vehicle is convenient and required at times, taking alternative methods of transportation is still an available option. Island Health also provides alternatives to driving, with a Bike-To-Work Week, and a ProPass Monthly transit pass available for the mere payroll deduction of $18.67 per pay period. The ProPass also allows the user to take up to 4 children under the age of 12 on the bus for free!
We would be happy to provide a tour of the program, facilities, and life here in Victoria for our Prospective Students. This experience would include meeting with the Associate Program Director, Dr. Gregson, the opportunity to meet with some current residents, touring the Royal Jubilee Hospital main facility, and visiting some of the sights and sounds of Victoria.
Please note: Due to COVID-19, all tours are currently suspended until further notice.
Should you have any questions about the Vancouver Island Psychiatry Postgraduate Program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Senior Program Assistant, Monika Spence, at firstname.lastname@example.org.