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Health Care Assistant (HCA/RCA) Certificate

Program Design

The program was designed with the idea that Health Care Assistants (HCAs) require basic theoretical knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, disease processes pertaining to the elderly, hospital procedures and a large dose of practical application, supervised site experience.

 

A Unique Structure

Based on the above premise, the program is designed a little differently from other training programs. During this 31-week program, students acquire basic knowledge, including CPR, which will be required for them to start their on-site experiences. In other words, they learn the appropriate tasks and then they go out immediately and practice those tasks under the direction of a registered nurse, in small groups of eight students or less.

 

All students rotate through three site experiences, hospital or long-term care facility, group home and childcare. These site experiences, along with weekly classroom instruction, support their preparation to work in a multitude of environments with all age groups.

 

By the time students complete the practicum experience at the end of the program, they are fully functioning members of the work team.

 

A Blend of Studies, Work, and Life

Besides being involved with the program approximately three-four days per week, students are expected to spend time at home reading the text and completing workbook assignments. The program was designed this way, because many HCA students have other responsibilities. We also believe that this level of weekly commitment gives our students time to absorb the information, to enhance the learning process.

 

Program Content

Content

  • Health Care Assistant: Introduction to Practice
  • Health and Healing: Foundational Concepts
  • Health and Healing: Interpersonal Communication and Relationships
  • Health and Healing: Personal Care (Self and Clients)
  • Specialized Healing: Health Promotion and Monitoring
  • Specialized Healing: Care for Diverse Groups
  • Specialized Healing: Treatments
  • Instructor led clinical practice
  • Job Search

Additional Certificate Courses

  • CPR Level C & First Aid
  • WHMIS
  • FoodSafe
  • Safe Administration of Medication
  • Foot Care
  • Care of Clients with Diabetes
  • Palliative Care
  • Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI)

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the HCA Program, graduates will be able to:

  • Provide person-centred care and assistance that recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each individual resident or client.
  • Use an informed problem-solving approach to provide care and assistance that promotes the physical, psychological, social, cognitive and spiritual well-being of clients/residents and families.
  • Provide care and assistance for clients/residents experiencing complex health challenges.
  • Provide care and assistance for clients/residents experiencing cognitive and/or mental health challenges.
  • Interact with other members of the healthcare team in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.
  • Communicate clearly, accurately and in sensitive ways with clients/residents and families within a variety of community and facility contexts.
  • Provide personal care and assistance in a safe, competent and organized manner.
  • Recognize and respond to own self-development, learning and health enhancement needs.
  • Perform the care provider role in a reflective, responsible, accountable and professional manner.

Employment Requirements

Pacific Community College requires that students are prepared to study, but also to begin their careers upon graduation.

 

We begin the process by seeing students through the series of steps that employers will require. This includes ensuring the student has the vaccinations and immunizations to allow for placement and employment within health care facilities in BC and Canada.  *These immunization requirements are based on Canadian Immunization Guidelines and have been approved by VCHA Employee & Workplace Health & Safety.

 

Practical Experiences

1. Group Clinical (165 Hours)

This clinical experience provides the student with real-life exposure to workplace settings and ample opportunity for practice and mastering of provision of care, assisting clients, and communication with clients, families, and other health care team members. An instructor to student ratio of no greater than 1:8 allows for personal instruction and supervision when required. Over the course of the 165 hours, the student gradually assumes more responsibility in the real-life setting, as skills are mastered and comfort and confidence increases.

 

Learning Outcomes

  • To provide proficient and efficient care and assistance to 4 clients, as per their individual care plan
  • To communicate proficiently with clients, their involved families, and other health care team members
  • To provide individualized person-centred care while maintaining dignity and privacy, and encouraging independence.
  • To fully recognize clients as unique individuals, and to approach all clients without judgment.
  • Appropriate observation of the client and reporting of exceptional or unusual findings to the most suitable team member.
  • Accurate and complete documentation, as required.

2. Community-based Clinical (60 hours)

This clinical experience provides the student with real-life exposure to workplace settings and ample opportunity for practice and mastering of provision of care, assisting clients, and communication with clients, families, and other health care team members.

 

The student will work alongside a fellow team member to provide care to residents of group homes, or clients receiving home care services. A Pacific Coast instructor would be accessible, but the student would be directly supervised by their preceptor and supervisor of the setting.

 

Learning Outcomes

  • To provide proficient and efficient care and assistance, as per the clients’ individual care plans
  • To communicate proficiently with clients, their involved families, and other health care team members.
  • To provide individualized person-centred care while maintaining dignity and privacy, and encouraging independence.
  • To fully recognize clients as unique individuals, and to approach all clients without judgment.
  • Appropriate observation of the client and reporting of exceptional or unusual findings to the most suitable team member.
  • Accurate and complete documentation, as required.

3. Preceptored Practicum (75 hours)

This clinical experience provides the student with real-life exposure to workplace settings and ample opportunity for practice and mastering of provision of care, assisting clients, and communication with clients, families, and other health care team members.

 

The student will work alongside a preceptor to provide care to residents in one setting, which will be determined by Pacific Coast while considering the students’ preferences. A Pacific Coast instructor would be accessible, but the student would be directly supervised by their preceptor and supervisor of the setting.

 

Learning Outcomes

  • To provide proficient and efficient care and assistance, as per the clients’ individual care plans
  • To communicate proficiently with clients, their involved families, and other health care team members.
  • To provide individualized person-centred care while maintaining dignity and privacy, and encouraging independence.
  • To fully recognize clients as unique individuals, and to approach all clients without judgment.
  • Appropriate observation of the client and reporting of exceptional or unusual findings to the most suitable team member.
  • Accurate and complete documentation, as required.
  • Function independently, and be managing an actual workload in the setting.

Employment

Care aides and community health workers are the front-line care providers in a variety of institutional and community settings, including both home support agencies and residential care facilities. They are an integral part of our health care system. Health Care Assistants help health care professionals to care for patients. They may work in a hospital environment alongside doctors and nurses or in the home of a patient.

 

Health Care Assistants are responsible for assisting qualified health care professionals in caring for patients, who may be being treated in hospital or at home. The job can be extremely varied, since the health care professionals who require the services of a Health Care Assistant range from nurses to doctors, and from radiologists to midwives. The job of a Health Care Assistant overlaps with that of a nurse. However, Health Care Assistants are not allowed to administer medication or perform complex nursing procedures.

 

They are responsible for performing simple health/medical support tasks. They also take regular observations and ensure that patients are constantly kept as comfortable as possible. Health Care Assistants are also able to help out during emergency situations, for instance during emergency resuscitations. If a patient dies, Health Care Assistants are responsible for washing and preparing the body prior to the visit of relatives and transportation to the morgue.

 

While Health Care Assistants are responsible for recording the observations of patients throughout the day, they do not usually have much paperwork to do. Paperwork is usually the responsibility of the nurse. For this reason, Health Care Assistants will have relatively more contact with patients and the relatives of patients.

 

Salary

Newly qualified Health Care Assistants can expect to earn between $26,000 and $32,000 per year. The precise salary provided to an individual will depend upon the nature of their position. After a few years’ worth of experience, the salary of a Health Care Assistant is likely to increase to approximately $36,000 or higher.

 

Responsibilities

The precise tasks carried out by Health Care Assistants will obviously vary depending upon which healthcare professional requires help. However, typical tasks include:

  • Helping patients to undertake personal tasks, including washing, showering, and using the toilet
  • Serving food to patients and helping them to eat if they are physically weak
  • Changing dirty sheets and bedding
  • Making the beds
  • Talking to patients to ease loneliness and feelings of isolation
  • Listening to the particular needs of patients and acting on these needs as appropriate
  • Turning patients who are required to spend a lot of time in bed, in order to avoid bed sores
  • Helping patients to move around their environment and to feel comfortable in their own homes or in hospital. This involves keeping their living area extremely clean and tidy
  • Improving the mobility of patients
  • Giving out bedpans
  • Collecting used bedpans
  • Ensuring that supplies of medical equipment are replenished
  • Taking the temperature of the patient
  • Recording the temperature of the patient
  • Taking the pulse rate of the patient
  • Recording the pulse rate of the patient
  • Taking the respiration rate of the patient
  • Recording the respiration rate of the patient
  • Notifying health care professionals if temperatures, pulse rates, or respiration rates seem abnormal or worrying
  • Measuring the weight of the patient
  • Preparing patients for therapy or medical treatment
  • Setting up equipment needed by health care professionals
  • Assisting the healthcare professional while they administer therapy or treatment
  • Ensuring that the patient is comfortable while the therapy or treatment is being administered
  • Recording the patient’s progress following each session of therapy or treatment.

Skills

Health Care Assistants will need to possess the following personal and professional traits:

  • A caring nature
  • An approachable nature
  • An open mind
  • The desire to work with people of all ages and from all backgrounds
  • Sensitivity
  • Good communication skills
  • Good listening skills
  • A tactful nature
  • The ability to keep sensitive information confidential at all times
  • A respectful approach to patients and colleagues
  • The ability and desire to take own initiative whilst recognising their limitations
  • Flexibility
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to remain patient and calm in tough situations
  • A good sense of humour
  • Reliability
  • Good organisational skills

Working conditions

Health Care Assistants usually work in either hospitals or the homes of patients. They may have to spend a lot of time travelling between locations if work is performed primarily in a community setting. Most Health Care Assistants work on a shift basis, which may include nights and weekend work. However, hours are often flexible and part-time work is available for those who desire it.

 

Employers

Health Care Assistants are usually employed by the following employers:

  • Local Health Care Associations, Boards, or Authorities
  • Private hospitals
  • Residential homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospices
  • Private agencies

Career progression

Many Health Care Assistants choose to stay in their position throughout their career. This is usually because they find it personally rewarding as well as financially stable. At the same time, experience as a Health Care Assistant will provide individuals with a solid foundation for becoming a nurse, a midwife, a social worker, or a support worker.

 

Admission Requirements - Health Care Assistant (HCA/RCA) Certificate Program

 

  • Grade 12 or mature student Status (19 years of age or older).

 

  • Acceptable criminal records check as required by the Criminal Records Review Act less than 6 months old at program acceptance.

 

  • TB Screening that is less than 3 months old + updated immunizations required before commencing practicum.

 

  • English Language Proficiency Requirements
  1. Applicants who have been educated in an English-speaking environment for a minimum of seven years or have been educated in an English-speaking environment for four consecutive years at the secondary or post-secondary level, are to submit evidence of one of the following:
  • Successful completion of Grade 10 English;
  • OR Language Proficiency Index (LPI) with a total score of at least 20 and an essay level of 4 with a score of 24/40.
  1. Applicants who have not been educated in an English-speaking environment for a minimum of seven (7) years or four years at the secondary or post-secondary level, are to submit evidence of one of the following:
  • Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLB PT) -- test must be within the last six months: Listening 7, Speaking 7, Reading 6 and Writing 6.
  • OR Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) -- test must be within the last two years. IBT only: Overall score of 76 with no score lower than 20 in Speaking and Listening and no score lower than 18 in Reading and Writing.
  • OR International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic or General -- test must be within the last two years: Overall score of 6 with a minimum of 6 in Speaking and Listening and no score lower than 5.5 in Reading and Writing.
  • OR Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) Academic or General --  Aggregate score of 4L or better, with 4L or better in Speaking and Listening and 3H or better in Reading and Writing.
  • OR Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) -- Overall Score of 60, with no section less than 50.

Accepted Countries List

Countries with English language systems / institutions[1]

(Where English is a primary, official language and the language used for education)

American Samoa

Dominica

Mauritius

Uganda

Anguilla

Antigua

Falkland Islands

Fiji

Montserrat

New Zealand

United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)

Australia

Ghana

Seychelles

United States of America (USA)

Bahamas

Grenada

Singapore

US Virgin Islands

Barbados

Guam

South Africa

 

Belize

Guyana

St. Kitts and Nevis

 

Bermuda

British Virgin Islands

Irish Republic

Jamaica

St. Lucia

St. Vincent

 

Cayman Island

Kenya

Trinidad and Tobago

 

Canada*

Malta

Turks and Caico Islands

 

*Applicants educated in Quebec at an institution where the language of instruction was not English, must meet the current English language proficiency requirements.

 

[1] Weighted criteria to determine inclusion of a country on this list were:  use of English as by more than 50% of the population, country literacy rate as compared to world literacy rate, School Life Expectancy (SLE) rate as compared to the world SLE rate, schooling in languages other than English in primary grades, consistency of listing by Canadian post-secondary institutions and country recognition on the BC College of Physician & Surgeons List.

 

(Program admission requirements may not be waived by the student or the institution)



 

 
 

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