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Nurses model compassionate care for people who use drugs in relaunch of Bevel Up

Bevel Up, a groundbreaking 2007 professional learning resource for health-care providers, is now available for free online as a teaching resource.
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A professional learning resource on nursing care in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is being relaunched more than 12 years after its initial release as Canada continues to face an overdose crisis.

Bevel Up, a professional learning resource which includes a film, interview clips and a teacher’s guide, offers valuable lessons for health care providers on working with people who use drugs. With today’s relaunch, the National Film Board of Canada is making the film and resource available for free and online for students, instructors and health-care practitioners.

Bevel Up follows the work of a BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) outreach nursing team working with people who use drugs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The educational materials give students and instructors guidance on how to deliver nonjudgmental, compassionate and trauma-informed health care.

The relaunch of Bevel Up was made possible with support from the BCCDC, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, the National Film Board of Canada, the BC Nurses’ Union and with the participation of the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research and Vancouver Community College.

Bevel Up has the potential to change the experience of people who use drugs when they interact with the health-care system,” said Dr. Jane Buxton, harm reduction lead for the BCCDC. “The resource offers ways for health-care providers to deliver client-centred care and address stigma to reduce the barriers that prevent people from seeking help. These lessons are critical as every community in Canada grapples with the overdose crisis.”

People who use drugs often experience stigma in the health-care system and this creates barriers that prevent them from accessing care. Since the film was created, we’ve come to better understand that language matters when it comes to stigma. To deliver effective care, health-care professionals should use non-stigmatizing and people-first language such as “person who uses drugs” instead of “drug user,” a term in the title: Bevel Up – Drugs, Users & Outreach Nursing.

“Stigma around mental health and substance use is a major barrier to proper health care,” said Dr. Eric Cattoni, medical co-lead of FIR Square at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. “Establishing meaningful therapeutic rapport with our patients is only possible if judgement is left out. People who misuse substances have a medical illness that requires compassionate care and access to specialized treatment."

Bevel Up is designed to give students and instructors in the health-care field access to the knowledge and experience of pioneering practitioners. It features 10 educational playlists comprised of:

  • the original 45-minute documentary 
  • 40 additional clips illustrating key issues and interviews with the experts, people who use drugs and health-care practitioners
  • a 100-page Teacher’s Guide
  • a total of 4.5 hours of content  

Learn more:

The learning resource is available on the National Film Board’s website: .

Bevel Up is a co-production between the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), with financial support from Health Canada and the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU), and was created in collaboration with Canada Wild Productions Ltd. 
addiction; BC Centre for Disease Control; harm reduction; mental health; Substance use



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