Trevor sits on steps

Grief helped one grad find his true calling

By Sucheta Singh, Marketing and Communications
Photo by David Denofreo

Trevor Yee decided to turn to a brand new career as a psychiatric nurse later in life.

“It was a little daunting. I thought, hey, it’s been a little while since I’ve been in the classroom and you know, maybe there’s going to be a difficult learning curve and feeling self-conscious that I’ve got 10 years on other people in the classroom,” he says.

Before choosing a career in psych nursing, Trevor taught English as a second language (ESL). The journey to finding this new career took over a decade.

“In my late teens, I had two friends who were brothers who had developed schizophrenia and I remember just not really understanding what was going on with them.”

When Trevor was in his early 20s, the younger brother took his own life.

“I took a bit of a tailspin there. I didn’t know how to process it and I felt like I’d let them down somehow,” he says.

While he was teaching ESL, Trevor was unhappy because he wasn’t feeling fulfilled. He wanted something different.

Trevor took a careers workshop to see what job might suit his personality and skillset. Psychiatric nursing was one of his top choices. So, in his early 30s, Trevor decided to go back to school. He enrolled in the Psychiatric Nursing program at Douglas.

“Once I started my program, I was surprised that I wasn’t the only mature student in the class. There’s actually quite a few of us. It seems like these days everyone’s pursuing further education no matter their age group or what walk of life they’re from,” he points out.

Trevor says he found a real sense of community at Douglas, where the cohort and instructors supported one another.

“We celebrated each other’s triumphs and victories and we commiserated when one of us was going through something difficult.”

In his final semester, he took a practicum position in Gibsons, B.C., which has now turned into a permanent full-time position since he graduated earlier this year. He has a bit of advice for anyone starting school.

“Make sure while you’re in a program to lift your head up from time to time and think about where you’re going and where you’re headed.”

For anyone considering psych nursing, Trevor says caring about other people and being patient are the most important attributes because they will help make this into a rewarding career.

“A career spent caring for people living with mental illness is a worthwhile way to live my life.”



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