Dear EFAP: Inquiring nurse seeks supportive resources

Thank you to those who have written to “dear efap” for input on your dilemmas. As you are aware, we read every inquiry that comes in but we are only able to print a small selection of responses.  Our “pithy” answers are modeled after the lighter hearted Dear Abby style and are grounded in common sense.  If your issues require a more personalized level of support please call EFAP (1-800-505-4929) and we can confidentially book you a counselling appointment with a senior level therapist.

We welcome all inquiries – please submit these to All printed responses use the anonymous descriptor that you sign your inquiry with and do not reveal any identifying information.  Our goal is to support you through insight and common sense.

Below is our response to the next selection – enjoy!



Dear EFAP,

I’m a nurse and my unit is crazy busy – it seems like we have critical incidents happening all the time. I’m completely exhausted and, to be frank, at times I feel kind of numb.  I feel like it would be helpful if we could come together and talk about what we’re all going through, do you know if there is anything like this available for us

~ Inquiring Nurse Requesting Supportive Resources

Dear Inquiring Nurse Requesting Supportive Resources,

Well yes, indeed, there are lots of resources available to you and your group, and EFAP provides it!  We always have one-to-one counselling available for you, and we also have a senior level clinician available to talk to anyone in urgent distress 24/7/365.  Additionally, through our Taking Care of Me Series, we offer Frontline Support Groups which provide an opportunity for a team to sit together and debrief, share their stories, and receive support after experiencing an incident or a series of incidents that have impacted their group.  Our Taking Care of Me Series also offers workshops on managing compassion fatigue, learning and practicing mindfulness techniques, and additional workshops aimed at stress reduction.  Finally, following any critical incident that occurs across Vancouver Coastal Health, EFAP also offers all groups and teams the chance to confidentially debrief that experience with a trained debriefer. All of these resources are aimed at supporting VCH employees in dealing with the challenges of working in health care, so yes, there are lots of resources available to you and your team.  To get more information, feel free to check out our website at or call us at 604-872-4929. Rest assured there is a lot we can offer your group – we are here to take care of all of you who give care!

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The advice offered in this column is meant to be used as general guidance based on the facts provided. The opinions or views expressed should not be relied on as treatment or counselling services. If you are a VCH staff member and find yourself in need of counselling or support, please contact EFAP toll free at 1-800-505-4929 or 604-872-4929, your family doctor, or another appropriately trained and qualified specialist.

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