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How to start your health care career in 28 weeks

Posted on February 6, 2019

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Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

Over the next 10 years, WorkBC predicts more than 18,000 health care assistant jobs will be created. At Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) health care assistant program, students are prepared for this field in just 28 weeks. 

“In addition to the demand being caused by our aging population, the field isn’t subject to seasonality or economic booms and busts, and there isn’t a lot of room for automation to affect it,” says Lisa Beveridge, the acting leader of VCC’s continuing care department. “That creates a lot of job security.” 

Delivered through a combination of classroom and lab components, clinical experience in a complex care facility, as well as a community practicum that consolidates the application of learning into care-giving practice, the program places a heavy emphasis on experiential learning. 

“The program includes lots of engagement, discussions, and creative problem solving so students gain the ability to think critically and work in teams, which is important in health care,” says Beveridge. “There are two floors at VCC devoted to a lab environment with real equipment and we also use simulation technology, which is a good transition between classroom and helping real people.”  

Practice makes perfect 

VCC is currently in the early stages of exploring whether there is an opportunity to use virtual reality to offer students more occasions to practice communication or organizational skills prior to their clinical components.

“We’re excited to start looking at what is possible,” says Beveridge. “This is an example of the high standards we have in terms of the quality of care we seek to teach students to provide.”

According to the B.C. Student Outcomes Survey Results 2013-2017, more than seven out of 10 VCC health care assistant students find employment within two months. Additionally, 96 per cent of students said the program helped them develop skills in speaking effectively, analyzing and thinking critically, and working effectively with others.

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Nurses and doctors are part of a much larger health care team. Explore the wide variety of health sciences career options at VCC.