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Special intake of Health Care Assistant program starts in January

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Health Care Assistants are in demand in northeastern B.C.  Angela DeSmit  Chris Morey
Health Care Assistants are in demand in northeastern B.C.

Health Care Assistants are in demand in northeastern B.C.

FORT ST. JOHN – Are you a compassionate individual with a sincere interest in helping others? Are you looking to train for a career that is in high demand in the health services field?

Northern Lights College (NLC) is offering a special intake of the Health Care Assistant (HCA) program available to students in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, thanks to a one-time funding contribution from the Ministry of Advanced Education.

But the 31-week program starts January 6, so interested students need to start the admissions process as soon as possible.

“One-time health education funding focuses on putting the right training in the right place to meet regional demand,” said Minister of Advanced Education, Amrik Virk. “It’s great to see Northern Lights College offer a program that will give aspiring health-care professionals the skills and training they need to care for their communities effectively.”

The in-class portion of the program will be delivered face-to-face at NLC’s Fort Nelson Campus and via videoconference to a classroom at the new Fort St. John Hospital. Labs and clinical shifts associated with the program will also be held at the hospital, with on-site instructors.

Angela DeSmit

Angela DeSmit

“There is an ongoing need for health care assistants in our communities. These vacancies directly impact our community and health services due to reduced care providers to deliver the necessary care either in community, residential care or in the hospital to primarily the frail, elderly and vulnerable population,” said Angela DeSmit, Health Services Administrator for Northern Health in Fort St. John.

According to a report compiled by Northern Health Human Resources department, between August 2011 and September 2013 there was a 36 per cent vacancy rate in the residential care field in the area that includes Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd.

HCA students gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively as front-line caregivers in community and facility settings. Graduates are prepared to work in continuing care roles, such as home support, adult day care, assisted living, and complex care, including special care units.

Chris Morey

Chris Morey

“We were delighted when NLC approached us with the opportunity to implement this program. (NLC has been) quite creative in how the clinical experience for the HCA students could be achieved. We are very excited to see the students gain their practical experience in our facilities in Fort Nelson and Fort St. John,” said Chris Morey, Health Services Administrator for Northern Health in Fort Nelson.

Students entering the program are eligible to apply for an NLC Entrance award, which could cover up to 75 per cent of tuition costs. For more information about the program or to start the application process, contact NLC Admissions Officer Junko Leclair at 250-785-6981 ext. 2088 or toll free at 1-866-463-6652.