At Vancouver Community College (VCC), we’re always proud of our Health Sciences students and grads, but this year, our pride has reached a whole new level.
One of these COVID-19 Health Care Heroes is Kayla Plett. Kayla started in VCC’s Health Care Assistant program, then laddered into VCC’s Access to Practical Nursing program, graduating as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2016. In honour of this year's Health Care Assistant Day (Oct. 18), we caught up with Kayla who now works as Care Coordinator at Rosewood Manor, a not-for-profit long-term care home in Richmond, B.C.
Can you describe the job you do right now?
I work with the management team to oversee and supervise the care department. Some of my responsibilities include reviewing clinical care plans, investigating and reporting incidents, liasing with external health care providers, coordinating admissions, communicating with families, meeting and providing direction for staff, participating on the leadership team, reviewing and revising policies and procedures, recruiting and orienting new staff, and conducting performance appraisals.
What motivated you to pursue health care in the first place?
Growing up, I always had a heart for serving others and aspired to find a job where I could help people. Nursing was always something I considered as a career option as I thought about my future.
As a child, my twin sister experienced many health problems and was hospitalized numerous times. While she went through these health challenges, I developed a passion for the health care field as I stood alongside her in the hospital and observed many amazing nurses and other healthcare workers making a positive impact during difficult times. When I graduated from high school, I decided to go into nursing because I knew that it would be a career where I could help people. I was very interested in human anatomy and physiology as well.
How would you describe the importance of your work during the COVID-19 pandemic?
So important! I am a part of BC’s Health Heroes team and can be someone who makes a difference in these uncertain times. The people that we work with in health care are vulnerable as-is, and COVID-19 has added to people's stress and anxiety. I think it's important to have a positive attitude and remember that we all are in this together!
Why did you choose to study at VCC?
I first attended the Health Care Assistant program at VCC as an entry job to work in health care. After my positive experience at VCC, I decided to continue my studies in health care and pursued practical nursing.
How would you describe your experience at VCC?
Awesome! I really felt the instructors were supportive and provided a safe learning environment. I enjoyed class time in the lab where we learned new skills and were able to apply the theory that we learned. The instructors gave us a lot of time to practice and provided feedback so we could be proficient in the skills.
Both programs that I completed at VCC were organized and equipped me well to work in the health care field. The skills and procedures we learned were very detailed and instructors were particular, however it really paid off in the long run and gave me the confidence to perform those skills and procedures competently in a clinical setting.
What are the most important things you learned at VCC?
Providing person-centered care and making sure the patient/client/resident is always the priority, communicating among the interdisciplinary team, and the importance of following certain procedures or techniques without taking any shortcuts.
What are your career goals?
To become a Registered Nurse. I am actually currently completing my BScN and will graduate next year.
What motivates you?
The people that I care for! I am passionate to provide the best care possible to every person that I look after and strive to make a positive impact on their health care experience.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in health care?
If you have a passion for caring for others, then pursue a job in health care! Every day is a different experience, there is always so much to learn and it's so rewarding! There are many diverse opportunities when working in health care as well.
My advice to anyone in health care is never forget the reason you decided to pursue your career – helping others! Keep being compassionate and remember to put the patients/clients/residents first.