When choosing a Personal Support Worker program, there are a few things to consider. First, the offering should have a hands-on approach, as this is a very interactive field. Secondly, it should be recognized by organizations that hire employees of this area. Thirdly, the Personal Support Worker program should cover topics that will allow its students to learn how to deal with a wide range of populations.
All of these aspects make up Centennial College's one-year Personal Support Worker program, which results in an Ontario College Certificate and is recognized by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, as well as community agencies and clinical settings. This recognition is thanks to the offering’s training, which gives students flexibility to adapt to a variety of settings such as homes, schools, community residential facilities, nursing homes or chronic care facilities.
To apply for the Personal Support Worker offering, students must possess at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. In addition, applicants must have finished the compulsory English 12C or U credit or skills assessment, or equivalent and can prove English proficiency.
Students spend one intensive year in smaller-sized classes that guarantee more individualized attention. In these classes, they encounter a paced curriculum that ensures they master: acting within the personal support worker role by following care/service plans and established policies and procedures; participating as members of the care service teams; collaborating and reporting observations to appropriate health care team members in an ongoing, timely manner and document this information promptly; supporting clients' personal and home management care requirements and preferences by following care service plans and established policies and procedures; demonstrating effective oral, written and nonverbal communication techniques; and assisting in the promotion and maintenance of a safe and caring environment for clients, their families, self and others.
But how exactly do students attain such a professional level and high knowledge level? First and foremost, the Personal Support Worker courses are a combination of hands-on and theory. Knowledgeable Personal Support Worker program instructors guide students through clinical and laboratory aspects in courses such as Anatomy, Foundations of Personal Support, Developmental Stages & Alterations in Health, Personal Support Communication, Foundations of Mental Health, Supporting Clients in Palliative Care and more. Secondly, the Personal Support Worker Course has a strong practical emphasis that sees students spend more than half of the total program hours in a field placement working with teams in long-term care institutions, the community and at in-home settings. The 15 weeks of extensive practical experience in field placement allows them to apply what they have learned in-school, network and absorb knowledge from practicing professionals.
Now is a great time to enter this field as the Ontario Network for Internationally Trained Professionals predicts that with a new emphasis on non-institutional care, the demand for trained Personal Support Workers is increasing.