Acute Care for Health Care Assistants

This part-time program is intended for individuals who have a Health Care Assistant certificate and are working in the continuing care field. This program will provide students with the knowledge and skills to be able to function effectively in the role of a Health Care Assistant in an acute care setting, under the direct supervision of a health care professional. Students learn how to assist in care of acutely-ill clients and work as a member of a nursing team.

Program Hours: The Acute Care for Health Care Assistant Short Certificate classes and labs are on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons/evenings. The Clinical experience at the end of the program will run for 2 weeks, Monday to Friday from 0700 to 1400.

Program Status:
Accepting applications

Program one-pager
Start Length Credentials Campus Part- or Full-time
Apr, Oct 20 Weeks Short Certificate Broadway Part-time

Apply Now

Apply Now

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If you're ready and know the program you want, apply now. Download and complete the (PDF) application/registration form and mail it to VCC Registrar's Office Visit us at one of our campus locations.

After you apply, you can check application status to see if all of the requirements have been met or to update contact information. Please use the temporary login ID and Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you used to complete your original online application.

Program Description

Program Description

Graduates of the program will have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to:

  • Practice within acute care settings in a professional, ethical, and legal manner
  • Utilize a problem solving approach to provide safe client care under the supervision of a nurse
  • Demonstrate basic observation and reporting skills while providing care for a client
  • Communicate effectively with members of the health team regarding client status
  • Provide appropriate nutrition for surgical and/or acute care clients who are on special diets
  • Respond appropriately and within the aide scope of practice, to common medical emergencies
  • Effectively manage client pain
  • Establish appropriate relationships with clients and members of the health care team

Instructional Activities, Design and Delivery Mode

This program is divided into three courses. The first course consists of theory related to the care of acutely ill patients. The theory component is delivered through discussion groups, student presentations, demonstrations, and lectures. Students apply the theory component in the second course which features care skills being taught and practiced in the nursing skills laboratory. During the lab sessions students will practice on each other. The third course is a clinical experience in an acute care setting, where students have the opportunity to apply knowledge or skills from the first and second course.

Program Duration

The Acute Care Skills for Health Care Assistants Program is six weeks in length, or the equivalent in part-time. Maximum allowable time for students to complete the program is one year.

Evaluation of Student Learning

The theory course is evaluated by written exams, quizzes and assignments. The lab course is evaluated by observation of performance of acute care skills in accordance with established criteria. Clinical experience is assessed by instructor observations of students in work experience situations. All courses are evaluated consistent with the College Grading System. Learners must achieve a minimum C+ in the theory course and satisfactory in the lab and clinical course in order to graduate.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements


This program welcomes applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Program options for international students can be found at VCC International.

As Vancouver Community College is a post-secondary institution committed to educating adult learners, applicants should be 16 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school.

Please note that you must submit official transcripts and educational documents to support your application; unfortunately, we cannot accept photocopies or fax versions.

Program Specific

Missing prerequisites? VCC offers courses in Adult Upgrading and English as an Additional Language to help you meet your goals.
  • Health Care Assistant Certificate, or equivalent, from a BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry recognized educational institution:
    • Educational institutions accepted as per the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry.
    • An equivalent Health Care Assistant certificate may be submitted to be reviewed by the Continuing Care Department Leader.
  • Minimum of 800 hours experience as a Health Care Assistant in a complex care facility within the last three years, or its equivalent, as confirmed by the employer on this form.
    • Standard First Aid (Red Cross or St. John Ambulance)
    • Current CPR level C or HCP certificate
    • Current BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry number

    Upon Acceptance:

  • A Criminal Record Check (CRC) is required in accordance with the Criminal Records Review Act. All individuals who work with vulnerable adults and/or children must complete a Criminal Records Check through the Ministry of Justice. Applicants to this program should be aware that some practicum placement in hospitals and schools may require completion of a Criminal Records Check indicating no relevant criminal record. After submitting an admissions application, applicants will receive by email a web link and unique college access code to apply and pay for a Criminal Record Check online. Applicants to the program are responsible for any costs incurred in the Criminal Record Check.
  • Submission of a negative TB skin test. If the skin test is positive, proof of a negative TB Chest x-ray is required.
  • A completed VCC School of Health Sciences Immunization Record.
  • Immunizations in the following are strongly recommended, and may be required for practice placement in the program:
    • Diphtheria/Tetanus
    • Pertussis
    • Polio
    • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
    • Varicella (Chicken Pox)
    • Hepatitis B
    • Influenza (Flu vaccine) - required annually
  • Regulations stipulate that a properly fitted respiratory mask must be used when providing care to patients with suspected, known, or probable cases of acute respiratory infections. The respiratory mask must be a N95 respirator that is individually fitted by a trained and certified person. This individual mask fitting should be done just prior to beginning your program and is good for one year and must be performed annually. The original certificate must be presented to your program during the first week of classes. Please view online list of approved fit test service providers.

  • Recommended Characteristics:

    • Skilled in providing personal assistance to clients
    • Effective command of oral and written English
    • Ability to work under close supervision
    • Ability to act with initiative
    • Physical stamina
    • Ability and willingness to adapt to changing shifts
    • Ability to work in a fast paced health care environment
    • Free from latex sensitivity or allergy
    • Flexibility

    Course Schedule

    Fees and Other costs

    Application Fee $35
    Tuition Fee $526
    Student Union Fee $55 per term
    College Initiative Fee $15
    U-Pass Fee $205
    Other Costs
    $21 - Graduation Fees
    $21 - Campus Resource Fee
    At the time of acceptance, a $300 non-refundable deposit will be required to hold your seat if accepted more than two months before the start date of the program. Full payment of the first installment will be required within two months before the start date.

    For book lists and prices, check Bookstore.

    Fees are approximate and subject to change without notice. Students are responsible for any increase in fees if advanced payments are made. The application fee is non-refundable. Fees are refunded according to the refund policy. For further clarification, see withdrawals and refunds information page.

    Info Sessions

    Info Sessions

    This 6 week part-time program is intended for individuals who have a Health Care Assistant certificate and are working in the continuing care field. This program will provide students with the knowledge and skills to be able to function effectively in the role of a Health Care Assistant in an acute care setting, under the direct supervision of a health care professional. Students learn how to assist in care of acutely-ill clients and work as a member of a nursing team.

    VCC is home to a $55-million state-of-the-art health sciences building located at the Broadway campus. Built in 2009, its classrooms, high-tech training labs, and simulated hospital wards give students realistic, hands-on experience. Sign up now to view the facilities, meet faculty, and learn about our exciting new curriculum.

    View all Info Sessions/Tours >>

    Contact Us/Request Info

    Contact Us/Request Info


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    Program Highlights

    Course Schedule

    Courses Schedule


    Term 1

    (HRCA 1320) Working in Acute Care
    course schedule schedule
    4.5 credits  course outline
    (HRCA 1325) Acute Personal Care & Assistance
    course schedule schedule
    1.5 credits  course outline
    (HRCA 1331) Acute Care Clinical
    course schedule schedule
    2.0 credits  course outline