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HCAs finding success in Kelowna

The past year has been full of changes, and many people have had to adapt or learn new skills in order to adapt and find steady employment. Beginning a new career path is always daunting, but one group in particular has found increased success, even in light of the pandemic. Health Care Assistants have been more sought after than ever before, and some HCA students from First College are excited to share their success stories.

First College alumni Ryan (pictured on the left) describes how he came to join the HCA program because he was looking for an in-demand job that he could secure for the long term.

Current student Lucas (pictured on the right) started his program in September 2020. He chose this career after being inspired by the HCA’s that were caring for his mother.

Q&A - Ryan (Alumi)

What was your job/background before you entered the HCA program at First College?

  • I was working as a Car Lot Manager/ Lead Detailer for one of the car dealerships here in Kelowna before I entered the HCA Program at First College.

What made you decide to choose the HCA program?

  • The window of opportunity in Health Care is very in demand nowadays. Securing a long term job is one of my primary reasons on why I chose to get the HCA Program and aside from that, I see myself applying what I have learned in this HCA program to touch lives and help people.

Why did you choose First College?

  • I chose First College because I saw my wife, who is also a product of the school, give 100% in taking care of her patients. She treats them with dignity, independence, lets them choose their preference, respects their privacy, and makes sure they are safe. It is just logical to conclude that my wife learned how to dispense such care from First College, and that is the main reason why I chose First College as well.

What have you learnt here? What have you gained that makes yourself well-prepared for a new career?

  • I have learned a lot from First College; specifically, the tools and knowledge to be a competitive and effective health care aid. The wisdom that I learned from First College has prepared me for the vast opportunity that awaits me.

What was your favorite experience? What did you enjoy most when studying here?

  • My favorite experience was during our On-Site Training for Long Term Care and Assisted Care. I enjoyed most the company of meeting new friends and the staff that was always there to offer a helping hand for things I needed help with.

What were the challenges you were faced with when studying here? How did you overcome these challenges?

  • The challenges that we faced as a class were during the first few weeks of our course. It is because this was the first time that we were doing it online due to the pandemic and there were a couple of hiccups and some technical difficulties that we had to address. 
  • Having a background with computers really helped not just me, but my classmates as well. I offered my help for those who were having trouble with their computers.

What is the most interesting thing that you have learned here?

  • The most interesting thing that I learned from First College is the Five Principles of Care: Dignity, Independence, Preference, Privacy, and Safety. Once you employ these principles when taking care of your clients, whatever uncertainty you are facing, you cannot go wrong. 
  • Another thing that was inculcated in my mind was that all clients should be treated as an individual, who has their own personal needs and they have the right to be given the best possible care that they deserve.

Are you feeling anxious or confident at this stage of your study experience?

  • With the knowledge that we were taught from the First College HCA Program, I can confidently say that I, together with my classmates (Pandemic Class of 2020), am ready to face the new challenges of being a professional Health Care Aid.

What would you like to tell the people who are interested in this career? What advice would you like to give them?

  • I would like to tell the people interested in this career that this is a noble profession. If your desire is to touch other people’s lives, help those who are in need, and provide the best attention to patients in the precepts of tender loving care, then I would welcome you to try the HCA program here at First College.  

-Dan Ryan de Guzman, HCA May 2020 Intake 

Q&A - Lucas (Current Student)

What made you decide to choose the HCA program?

  • When my mother became a resident at a long term care facility, I was really impressed with the HCAs that assisted her. It made me think about pursuing a career where I could help people.

Why did you choose First College?

  • When I decided to sign up for an HCA program, I looked up student experiences at local colleges online. Some schools had mixed reviews, but First College looked consistently positive. Now I can see why!

What was your favorite experience so far? What have you enjoyed most while studying here?

  • My favorite experience is definitely getting to know my classmates. We all come from different backgrounds but we help each other and have a lot of fun. Our group chat is like family now.

What were the challenges you were faced with when studying here? How did you overcome these challenges?

  • At first I was nervous about being in a classroom setting again and giving presentations, but the instructors made me really comfortable.

Are you feeling anxious or confident at this stage of your study experience?

  • My class has finished theory and started putting our skills to practice in the lab. I’m confident that I’ll be ready for our practicum. Mrs. Kerwin will make sure of it!
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Ryan (left) and Lucas (Right) speak highly of First College's Health Care Assistant program.