Stagiaires in distress… how can we help?

Stagiaires in distress

Learning to work in health care is about more than becoming acquainted with vital signs or developing the ability to diagnose an illness. It’s also about discovering how much pressure someone can tolerate in a stressful situation.

That’s why teaching supervisors need to be on the lookout for stagiaires who may be showing signs of distress. “This period in the professional development of students or interns is usually very exciting, because they are finally experiencing first-hand what they’ve learned about in their textbooks,” says Kevin Hayes, Associate Director of Medical and University Education. “That said, it can also be an intense time, and some stagiaires may suffer from the strain.”

Medical and University Education caravan
Medical and University Education caravan

CIUSSS West-Central Montreal welcomes over 5,000 stagiaires a year from universities and colleges affiliated with the network, as they acquire experience in fields such as social work, pharmacy or physiotherapy. The demanding pace or requirements of their stage may cause several among them to become withdrawn or regularly late. More rarely, stagiaires may even exhibit more extreme traits like aggression, or find themselves on the receiving end of hostile treatment or harassment by peers or users. In these instances, help is clearly needed.

A new guide that provides advice on how to identify and help a stagiaire in difficulty is designed to lead supervisors and support staff through the referral process. Developed by the CIUSSS’s Medical and University Education Directorate (MUE), the guide provides a regularly updated list of resources that are available to stagiaires in psychosocial distress.

Included are policies, procedures and information about services that are available in our CIUSSS and in each of the academic institutions that collaborates with the MUE. A handy, downloadable flyer also defines a course of action for different levels of distress, along with relevant contact information.

If you have concerns about a stagiaire who may be in distress, contact Mr. Hayes at 514-484-7878, extension 1457, or

For more information, visit Training and teaching > Support to supervision of stages on the intranet.