Frontline health care workers are in high demand in our region and Selkirk College’s Health Care Assistant Program is training to fill that gap.
Students develop knowledge, skills and confidence required to provide safe care and contribute to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of seniors in a variety of settings. It’s a profession that appeals to many eager to find a solid career in health care.
Shortly after arriving in the Kootenay in 1997, Saskatchewan native Kim Klashinsky attended Selkirk College with a very different career in mind. She received her diploma in Computer Information Systems and very soon after graduation she and her husband started a family. Klashinsky spent 17 years as a stay-at-home mom.
“As my children reached a more independent age, I started to think that it would be good for me to find a new career that involves helping others and makes me happy all at the same time. Being a care aide certainly covers that,” she says.
Her parents back home in Saskatchewan were aging as well and Klashinsky began researching seniors’ care. This included checking out what Selkirk College had to offer people interested in this field.
“The HCA course was offered right here in the Kootenays and it was a relatively short time frame to complete.”
The HCA program is six months in total. Students complete 16 weeks of theory and lab courses face-to-face on the Trail campus as well as online, followed by practice in residential and community care settings for the final ten weeks of the program.
“Our practice placements were perfect in preparing us for many different areas of health care,” says Klashinsky. “I always thought that I wanted to work in home care, however, once I did my practicum in residential care, I knew that I had found my niche.”
Klashinsky was placed at Talarico Place in Castlegar where she says she immediately felt like she belonged. She was hired immediately after she completed her practicum.
“I am so happy to work as a care aide. I think that I should have had this career years before now. There are certainly new challenges every day, but in the end, I know that I am doing good,” she says.
Ashlee Martini graduated from Stanley Humphries Secondary School in 2014 after growing up in Castlegar and volunteering at Talarico Place. Her great grandparents resided there and this winter, she is doing her own Health Care Assistant Program placement there.
“I’ve known my entire life that I wanted to find a career in health care,” says Martini. “I’ve always had a very caring nature and wanted nothing more than to make peoples’ lives better.
“I chose Selkirk College because Castlegar is where my life is. But I didn’t want to do the course just for the sake of doing it here if it wasn’t going to be good. My research proved that Selkirk College graduates are very sought after.”
Jane Power is the Kootenay Boundary Health Service Manager with Interior Health. She also sits on the Health Care Assistant Program Advisory Committee.
“Selkirk College graduates have a client-centred, kind and informed practice,” she says. “Aided by education that includes the Gentle Persuasive Approach and guided by mentors like instructor Sarah Lechthaler, the critically-thinking Selkirk graduate has always been my first choice.”
Power says that among the 10 to 12 employers in the Castlegar, Trail and Nelson areas the need for Health Care Assistants in both community and facility settings is great.
“We are always looking for people with this designation.”
Jalee Morton also graduated from Stanley Humphries Secondary School and she too became interested in becoming a Heath Care Assistant because she’s always enjoyed the company of seniors.
“They have so much life experience behind them that they share when they visit with you. And I like getting in there and playing carpet bowling and bingo with them.”
Morton will graduate from Selkirk College’s HCA program this spring and she is eager to start in her new profession, making connections with people while helping them with their daily lives. She is reassured that she’s chosen an in-demand profession that she enters well equipped.
“I see myself very prepared for full-time work after graduation,” she says.
Anyone interested in the HCA Program is encouraged to ensure they have the prerequisites for September 2018 start. Free Upgrading classes at Selkirk College is a great place to start. Learn more at selkirk.ca.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Eager to get into an in-demand profession in the medical field, Stanley Humphries graduates Ashlee Martini (left) and Jaylee Morton are currently taking the six-month Health Care Assistant Program through Selkirk College.
For more information, please contact:
Teresa Petrick Selkirk College School Chair Health & Human Services 250.354.3213