by Heidi Riley
Two years ago, Phalonne Makouteu moved to PEI from Cameroon in Africa. In her homeland, she had worked for two years as a nurse.
“I love taking care of people, and I have a passion to make people happy,” says Phalonne.
On PEI, she decided to pursue a career as a Resident Care Worker (RCW). Of the three RCW programs available on PEI, she chose the one offered by Collège de l’Île. The classroom portion was held in Charlottetown, and the laboratory work was done in Wellington.
“I chose that school because it is a French school, and French is my first language. It made things very comfortable and easy for me.
“It was a good experience, and I really enjoyed every moment of my education at Collège de l’Île. The education is very important. You have to learn what to do in different situations where residents could be in pain or agitated. The school will teach you when residents need you to talk or walk with them, listen, or do an activity with them to calm them down.”
She graduated from the RCW program in December 2021, and is now working at Beach Grove Home, a long-term care facility in Charlottetown. She works full-time hours and has a permanent bilingual position. “It was easy for me to find a job, because of the need for bilingual staff. In the future, I hope to become a Registered Nurse on PEI.
“I love seeing the residents get excited when I walk into their room and talk with them. When I make people happy, I make myself happy too. I have a lot of fun when I do my work. I love my job, and if you like what you do, it is easy to do. When you do this job, it is in your heart.”
Duties on the job
RCWs help residents with the activities of daily living, such as getting out of bed, dressing, bathing, transfer to wheelchairs, mealtimes, and leisure activities.
RCWs working with Health PEI start at $23.82 per hour. Casuals, because they do not receive benefits, earn 12 percent more than that. Other private employers have their own pay scales.
Financial help with tuition
Through the Resident Care Worker Support program, SkillsPEI will pay 100 percent of tuition costs for individuals taking a Resident Care Worker program in the 2022/2023 school year.
Applications received by SkillsPEI will be assessed against additional program criteria to determine eligibility. Individuals may also be eligible to receive additional financial supports while participating in training.
Through the Resident Care Worker Support Program announced last spring, the province will train 125 new Resident Care Workers this year, all of whom would receive free tuition.
The Department of Workforce, Advanced Learning & Population, through SkillsPEI, teamed up with the Department of Health and Wellness to cover tuition costs for any Islander pursuing RCW training at Holland College, College de l’Ile or Marguerite Connolly Training Institute.
For more information about this opportunity, visit www.princeedwardisland.ca/rcw
Call SkillsPEI at 1-877-491-4766 or visit a SkillsPEI office.
Encouraging retention of RCWs
The Retention Incentive Program, announced October 17, will provide financial incentives to help stabilize the healthcare workforce and retain nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, paramedics, and resident care workers in exchange for a one-year return in service agreement.
Retention incentives will include $2,500 for resident care workers, home support workers and patient care workers.
Incentives will be made eligible for healthcare professionals offering a one-year return in service agreement. Incentives are not specific to any facility or unit and both full and part-time staff are eligible.
A Retirement Retention Program will also be launched providing a $5,000 incentive program to retain those who are eligible to retire in exchange for a one-year return in service in key roles within the health system.
In addition, a Priority Vacancy Program will also be implemented providing a further $3,000 financial incentive aimed at filling key vacant positions throughout the system. Individuals can access these incentives in addition to the retention incentives for a one-year return-in-service. It
is anticipated that 190 positions within the system will be eligible for the priority vacancy incentive program.
The Retention Incentive Program will be retroactive to September 2022. For more information, click here
FOR MORE INFORMATION
RCW programs across the Island:
Collège de l’Île offers a one-year program (taught in French) in Charlottetown and Wellington For more information, call 1-877-854-3010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Marguerite Connolly Training and Consulting is a 36-week program offered in Charlottetown and Summerside. For more information, call Katherine McQuaid at 902-566-9705 or email email@example.com Visit www.rcwtraining.ca
Holland College offers a one-year program at the West Prince Campus and the Prince of Wales campus in Charlottetown.