The road to purpose: How self-discovery and learning lead Omeed to Psychiatric Nursing

For most, finding your purpose in life is a journey that has barely begun by the time you’re handed your high school diploma. When Omeed Khoshnevis started a prestigious university business program, he wasn’t following his passion, but he was setting off on a path that would lead him to his calling as a Psychiatric Nurse… eventually.


Taking care of his grandmother helped lead Omeed to a career in nursing.

Omeed’s parents left Iran at the beginning of the revolution, ending up in North Vancouver where Omeed was born. The Khoshnevis’ built a stable life, despite starting over in a new country. Growing up, Omeed’s parents instilled a strong work ethic in him. By the time he finished high school, he sported an impressive academic record, but Omeed still had no idea what to do.

“I never knew what I wanted to be. I wasn’t one of those kids who dreamed of being a doctor,” Omeed says. “It’s been a lifelong struggle to find something that I’m passionate about.”

Often, when a certain standard has been set, there’s pressure for a high-achieving kid to hit the ground running. Taking a gap year was not an option for Omeed. Immediately after high school, Omeed began business school at UBC.

“I rushed into a business program I had no interest in.” Omeed eventually transferred programs and received a Bachelor of Psychology from SFU. He ended up working at a liquor store. “I was caught in a cycle of trying different programs and careers without having time to reflect on what I truly wanted to do.”

Working at the liquor store had its perks, but Omeed wanted to do more. “Not to diminish any profession or career route, there’s value in everyone’s position, but for me, I felt unfulfilled.”


Even though I still have so much to learn, I feel very prepared. You always have more to learn as a nurse. For the first time in my life, I feel very confident in where I’m going.

Omeed Khoshnevis

Sometimes, you have to embrace who you are before you can figure out where you’re going in life. As a shy kid from a conservative background, coming out as gay can be challenging. Coming out in high school, even more so. Omeed saw first-hand the bullying experienced by his openly gay friends and chose to keep his sexuality to himself. When he finally decided to come out, Omeed was fortunate enough to be greeted with love and support. He wanted to provide that support to others.

Omeed’s parents are proud of him and his achievements.

After the sudden passing of his grandfather, his grandmother, in the early stages of dementia, relied more than ever on the family. “I really tried to help,” Omeed says. “I had no medical background, but I was so involved in her care that when I decided to become a Psychiatric Nurse, she was at the forefront of my mind. There’s so many people like my grandmother who need quality care and don’t receive it.”


With a newfound clarity, Omeed enrolled in Stenberg’s Psychiatric Nursing program. It was an intense 120 weeks that demanded emotional and mental strength. He immediately sensed that Stenberg would be different from other academic programs. There was a closeness in Omeed’s cohort as they supported each other through the rigor and their own personal growth.

“That intensity bonds you. The hard work brought us together,” Omeed says. “It is a dynamic that I’ve never seen at any other school.”

Throughout the program and especially in the face of COVID-19, Omeed learned that he is adaptable. “I thrived in that environment and realized how adaptable I am. It’s such an important skill to have as a Psychiatric Nurse, because no two shifts look the same, and no two patients present the same way.”

Psychiatric Nursing gave Omeed’s empathy and compassion an outlet. He learned to actively listen to patients and understand what they’re going through. Taking a person-centred approach, Omeed is now able to identify the individual needs of a patient and provide support that makes a difference.

Soon after completing the program, Omeed was hired as a Mental Health and Substance Use Nurse at Powell River General Hospital. He is now heading into his next chapter more sure of himself and his path than ever.

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Program: Psychiatric Nursing

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