Necessity inspires innovation during Canada Career Month

Originally posted: November 24, 2021

November is Canada Career Month and health care is at the forefront of high demand career paths as Manitoba continues its pandemic recovery response. There are currently 25,500 health care aides (HCA) employed by Shared Health Services and affiliated employers in Manitoba. Employment demand is great, which COVID-19 has significantly amplified.

The latest employment report from the Government of Canada Job Bank predicts steady growth in this field. Additional health care aides will be needed to provide personal support services for people living with disabilities or acute or chronic illnesses especially our most vulnerable loved ones such as seniors. HCA’s also work in a variety of settings including long-term care, acute care, home support and assisted living environments.

Hospitals and health care facilities around the province are counting on students enrolled in Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) to help fill demand. Alongside industry partners like St. Boniface Hospital (SBH), MITT identifies skill gaps, then responsively develops programming to meet constantly evolving healthcare needs. The end result leads to practical certifications like their eight-month Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker certificate program.

Students learn emerging skills like the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system, which allows for timely documentation of patient health status. St. Boniface Hospital was an early adopter of the EPR system and will help break the ground to wider deployment in the Region.

Keyirra Payjack, of Objibwe descent from Hollow Water First Nations, is currently training to become a Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker at MITT’s program. She is beginning simulated EPR training in preparation for her acute care practicum placement at St. Boniface Hospital. Identifying high demand training (such as EPR) as key program takeaways, she emphasized, "I’m excited to apply my classroom training to real-world patient care and try to make a difference during this critical period of history within our health care system."

Keirra Payjack, Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker student at MITT in Winnipeg
Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker, Keyirra Payjacks, looks forward to applying her in-class training
through an acute care practicum placement in the new year.

The collaborative nature of student placement paired with the longstanding partnership with St. Boniface Hospital offers students a diverse and robust experience preparing them for entry into healthcare. St. Boniface Hospital is ready to hire up to 100 per cent of the MITT Health Care Aide graduates completing placement with their organization.

To ensure a seamless transition from students to employee, St. Boniface Hospital dedicates significant energy to student mentorship during the work practicum placements and front-loads this experience with high demand training components such as EPR.

Monica Whiteway, St. Boniface Hospital Coordinator in Education Services commented, "Being a health care aide is extremely rewarding work. We know that our partnership with MITT ensures we receive the most qualified professionals who bring commitment and compassion to their jobs."

Phil Laquindanum completed the program in 2020 and landed a permanent job at St. Boniface Hospital as a Health Care Aide—a position he described as a stepping stone toward an eventual return to nursing, which was what he did in the Phillipines prior to moving to Canada.

He credits his in-class training, which mirrors real-world conditions, with helping him excel in his practicum. Laquindanum commented, "I really liked that we had a huge simulation lab. Before we were posted in the field, in hospitals and care homes, we are already trained in our simulation lab. We practiced on mannequins and each other, we learned the best way to use Hoyer lifts . . . any simulation you could think of is done, right there in our lab."

Given the need and opportunities available in the field, as well as the quality of training students receive at MITT, career options abound for motivated graduates.

Not long after he began at St. Boniface, MITT recognized Laquindanum’s strong teaching skills and practice expertise and approached him about becoming a clinical lab assistant for the program, a role he now does on a full-time basis in addition to his work at St. Boniface. Laquindanum credits the experience with piquing his interest in teaching, something he says he is pursuing with great interest now.

Phil Laquindanum, MITT Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker Graduate, 2020.
Since graduating in 2020, Phil Laquindanum's career in health care has been on the fast track; today,
he is a Health Care Aide at St. Boniface Hospital, as well as a member of the MITT faculty.

Karen Dyck, The Instructor of the Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker program at MITT emphasized, "Ask anyone in need of care and you will hear countless stories on the value of the work of health care aides and personal support workers. Training up the next generation of health care aides with on-demand skills is so rewarding and ensures people in our province get the quality of care they need and deserve."

Karen Dyck, Instructor at MITT's Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker program
Program instructor, Karen Dyck, takes great pride in training health care aides with on-demand skills
so they can deliver the quality of care Manitobans need and deserve.

The next intake for MITT’s Health Care Aide and Personal Support Worker program is Winter 2022. click here to visit the program page and learn more.

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