For Anna Aquino Surrey Memorial Hospital has been home base for much of her medical training, both as a medical student and as a resident. Now in her second year at UBC’s family medicine residency site in Surrey, Dr. Aquino is thrilled to see the UBC Resident Wellness Office open a second location at Surrey Memorial Hospital to support residents in the Fraser Valley.
“As a resident here, it’s nice to see the UBC Faculty of Medicine reaching out to expand services. For myself and for my colleagues in the Fraser Valley, it’s great to feel that someone really cares about us and our well-being,” she says.
The UBC Resident Wellness Office, which was first established in 2013 at Vancouver General Hospital, recently celebrated the launch of its new location at Surrey Memorial. During an open house at the new Surrey site, Rachel London, Resident Wellness Counsellor, greeted residents and faculty members and shared information about the services she is now providing for residents in the Fraser Valley.
“Residency can be a challenging time, but it doesn’t have to be something you go through alone. My door is always open, whether you want to talk, to ask any questions, or simply to have a cup of tea,” she said.
London offers in-person, telephone, and Skype counselling appointments for residents and their partners at Surrey Memorial and Vancouver General Hospital, in addition to facilitating group supports and wellness-related workshops for residents across the Lower Mainland.
London was joined at the open house by Dr. Ravi Sidhu, Associate Dean of Postgraduate Medical Education, and Rebecca Turnbull, Resident Wellness Counsellor and Program Lead.
Dr. Sidhu opened his address by acknowledging the important role of wellness in residency training.
“I can’t highlight enough the value in accessing these services available to you, no matter how you’re feeling about your current level of wellness. If you’re doing fine, that’s great. But we want to help you feel even better.”
Turnbull, who has been offering counselling support to UBC residents based across the province since 2013, reiterated the proactive focus that the Resident Wellness Office aims to provide.
“We are here to help you not just to survive, but to truly thrive during residency,” she said.
For Dr. Aquino, resident wellness is crucial.
“If you’re not well, how can you help your patients? We are told to leave everything at the door, but sometimes you’re not able to leave everything at the door and it can impact patient care. This is why it’s important to invest in personal wellness as a resident.”
Dr. Aquino is also a Wellness Champion for the Surrey family practice site, a volunteer role in which she serves as a wellness representative and point-person for her peers on wellness-related topics.
“The family practice Surrey site is a tight-knit group and we always check in with one another on how we’re doing. It’s important to me to see people coming together and I want to be that point person to support others and remind them of the resources available.”
The UBC Resident Wellness Office (RWO) – now with locations in Vancouver and Surrey – provides free and confidential counselling and mental health support to all UBC residents and their spouses/common-law partners. In addition to providing one-on-one counselling and wellness services, the RWO team delivers wellness workshops and group sessions to residents across the province. For more information, visit the UBC Resident Wellness site. If you are a resident and are interested in booking an appointment, please visit the online booking site.