Susan Campbell has had a varied career as a cosmetician at a pharmacy, restaurant owner, a restaurant hostess, and a retail manager. She was always interested in the healthcare field, and volunteered in the Emergency Department of the QEH in Charlottetown for 10 years, earning a pin for 1,000 hours of volunteer work. She also volunteers at the Cancer Treatment Centre.
“I always admired nurses and RCWs,” says Susan. “My sister, who is a ward clerk at Souris Hospital, suggested I take the RCW program. I talked to other people who had taken the course, and decided to go for it. The nine-month Marguerite Connolly Resident Care Worker program was right for me.
“I started school in April, 2018. I was scared, because I had not been in school for many years, and I didn’t know if I could do it. I soon found that I loved going to school every day, and I love learning. The program was fabulous.
“To get through it, you have to be organized, disciplined, and willing to study. The trainer Pam Josey was really good. We had a small class, so we were able to spend more time on subjects we had difficulty with.” The program includes clinical placements at long-term care facilities, hospitals, and in home care.
Finding a job
Susan applied to the provincial public service, and her interview was scheduled before her program was over. She finished school December 21, and began working at Beach Grove Home January 7 as a casual. By February she was guaranteed four shifts every two weeks, and she picks up five to six more shifts a week.
“Working different shifts is not hard for me, but some people may find it difficult. It is a hard physical and a hard mental job, so you need to take care of yourself and get enough rest.
“There are all kinds of work opportunities. When you get your government employee number, you can apply for internal job postings.”
RCWs can work in long-term care facilities, community care facilities, hospitals, mental health, addictions, home care, community agencies, disability support, and other health related fields.
Duties on the job
In the mornings, Susan greets residents, encourages them to get up for breakfast, and helps with personal care, grooming, hygiene, mouth care, bathing, and getting dressed. She also helps serve meals, does safety checks, makes sure bed rails are up, and restocks supplies.
“You need to be a quick thinker, and know how to redirect residents according to their personality. You need a lot of patience. I love the residents and the staff.
“Becoming an RCW is the best thing I ever did. I should have done it long ago. Every day is different, and it is so rewarding.”
Marguerite Connolly Resident Care Worker program
The next intake for the program in Charlottetown is April 8, and the next intake in Summerside is October 21.
To apply, pick up an application package at 55 Grafton Street in Charlottetown or at 10 Slemon Park Drive in Summerside, or at Career Development Services location.
“We look for people who are kind, caring, compassionate and love helping people,” says Katherine McQuaid, Director. “Our 36-week Resident Care program provides group and individualized instruction and has the theoretical and practical training needed to work as Resident Care Workers, Patient Care Workers, and in Home Care.”