Centenary Medal – Raj Johal

My name is Raj Johal. I am a practicing registered nurse, specializing in perinatal substance use. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. As a four-year-old I used to say, “I want to care for babies.” Here I am, 25 years later, working full-time at BC Women’s Hospital. I love that I get to work on Fir Square, a clinical unit that specializes in perinatal substance use stabilization. I am also a mom—I have two grown children. My son who is a UBC Science graduate and my daughter who is in her 2nd year of her nursing degree at BCIT.

I have been preceptoring students for over 20 years. I love teaching and learning from my students. I work with some of the greatest nurses who are dedicated to and compassionate about working with women struggling with substance use.  Our nursing team nurtures the patients back to health by offering them the best perinatal care from pregnancy to postpartum. Every time I have a new student, I try to teach them to be the type of nurse that, one day, I would want to practice alongside with. And I can proudly say, many of my students are now my colleagues and are strong and thriving nurses.

I am looking forward to many more nursing students preceptoring at our unit. Fir Square is a great clinical placement for consolidating their practice and skills. Further, Fir Square allows the students to experience the privilege of caring for a vulnerable patient population, both the mothers and infants, that are at a critical time of their lives. Currently, as a nurse educator, along with my nursing colleagues, we are actively participating in a provincial initiative to champion the best care for perinatal substance us. As well, we will be moving to an entirely new clinical space this summer.