Impact Stories – Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation Chelsea Slobodan, Manager of the Inpatient Psychiatry and Psychiatric Assessment Nurse Team

December 1, 2022

Chelsea Slobodan is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and the Manager of the Inpatient Psychiatry and Psychiatric Assessment Nurse (PAN) team at Chinook Regional Hospital (CRH).

As a passionate frontline worker, she never envisioned a management role in her career path, but when the opportunity to lead the Inpatient Psychiatry and PAN team came along, she knew it was a chance to utilize her nursing skills in a new way.

“I am able to take my years of experience into a variety of mental health settings and apply them to my unit,” explains Chelsea, “and that enhances patient care and supports my incredible teams.”

As a multi-disciplinary group of professionals passionate about mental health and addiction care, PAN works to provide assessments and consultations to individuals of all ages who are presenting to the Emergency Department with mental health and/or substance use concerns.

With Inpatient Psychiatry, patients have access to a range of healthcare professionals, including Nurses, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Recreation Therapists, Addiction Counsellors, Pharmacists, Mental Health Therapists, Indigenous Wellness Liaisons, Protective Services, volunteers and Interpreter Services. The Inpatient Psychiatric Unit offers essential programs like culturally appropriate individual and group therapy, wellness programs and mental health referrals.

For Chelsea and both teams, Inpatient Psychiatry and the PAN team, bringing a trauma-informed approach is essential to the care they provide patients. This means weaving an understanding of how trauma impacts individuals into every aspect of care and working to assess and modify services to create supportive environments that avoid re-traumatization.

“Often, our physical and mental health is talked about in two separate categories. However, they work intrinsically together,” she explains. “For example, when we are in a state of mental wellness, our sleep is improved, we have reduced anxieties, and we are more able to adapt and face challenges. When we are physically ill and have chronic pain, our anxiety increases, and we are at a higher risk for a decline in our mental health. We must be looking at the whole person and whole body to properly care for and treat all illnesses, both mental and physical.”

The teams also work closely with other AHS teams to collaborate across the healthcare system, continually improving patient care and bringing new ideas to the table. She credits the environment at CRH as integral to this process.

“The hospital is a community within a community. It’s an incredible site to work at, and there is always collaboration and a spirit of working together for the betterment of our patients,” she explains.

This constant striving toward improving patient care is also made possible through the support of donors to the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation.

Funds raised have gone towards improving facilities, including new safety features in patient rooms, more welcoming floor plans for common areas and group therapy sessions, and new nursing stations for cross-team collaboration.

However, one of the most anticipated improvements made possible by donors to the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation is a new outdoor courtyard space that inpatient psychiatric patients can access from the unit.

“Fresh air and nature are so important to healing,” Chelsea explains, “and now our patients have access to the outdoors while in hospital and can enjoy gardening activities with our Recreation Therapists and nursing staff. Bringing the outdoors into our inpatient program adds holistic care. It means that we can provide a larger variety of programs to benefit our diverse and wonderful patient population to best support them on their journeys."

“Without the services of Inpatient Psychiatry and the PAN team at CRH, we would not be able to provide acute mental health care for people in need in our community and the surrounding areas,” Chelsea notes. “Our hospital is an extension of our community, and we always need to keep in mind that we need to be setting our patients and their loved ones up for success in the community upon discharge.”

Your support makes a difference.

Individuals in our community facing mental health and addiction challenges deserve support. When you donate to the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation, you’re helping healthcare workers like Chelsea and the PAN team deliver the best possible care in our communities.

We celebrate the collaborative, multi-disciplinary spirit of the PAN team at Chinook Regional Hospital. With your support, we can continue to provide healthcare programs like PAN in our community.


View the beautiful courtyard below:

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