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Home Centennial College Blog 2018 September 07 In their own words: Students speak out about our Personal Support Worker program

In Their Own Words: Students Speak Out About Our Personal Support Worker Program

Photo of Personal Support Worker Students at Centennial College Labs

As Canada’s population gets older, they’ll need people to take care of them, which is where personal support workers come in. A career in personal support work could see you employed by community and social services, group homes, school boards and other organizations. You can get this career through Centennial College's Personal Support Worker program, where in just a single year, we’ll give you the practical, hands-on skills you need to get your career going, augmented with field placements to have you working in the field before you even graduate. But, don’t take my word for it. Instead, listen to the students of the program itself. Renzo Baniqued and Joshua Panganiban are graduates of the program, who both credit it with changing their careers and their lives for the better. Here’s what they had to say, in their own words.

On why they joined the Personal Support Worker program

Joshua: “I wasn't doing too well in my previous program…I knew the pathway I wanted to be in was one where I could be helping others around me, knowing I can change the life of a person, with the reward being a smile, or an acknowledgement knowing I'm going above and beyond to make someone happy. But after countless times failing, it always had me feeling I was taking one step forward, and two steps back. What I knew I needed was the motivation to keep going. So then, I spoke to the Chair of the Nursing program of Centennial College. She thought it was best to switch over to the Personal Support Worker.”

Renzo: “I got into the Personal Support Worker program because I wanted to develop a basic learning foundation of the health care field, prior to enrolling into the Nursing program.”

On the atmosphere in the Personal Support Worker program

Joshua: “What I learned the first day had nothing to do with anatomy, or the foundations of personal support workers. What I learned was that everyone around me wanted me to succeed, and were willing to go out of their way to help me reach that…In the first week my teachers made sure to update me on what I needed to do for the week so I don't miss out on any marks. They could've just left me out in the dust, made me figure out everything myself, but they didn't, as they cared for my success, and that is truly what Centennial College is all about.

On the practical experience they gained in the Personal Support Worker program

Renzo: The program was very practical, and we learned skills such as vital signs, ambulating a patient, making an occupied/unoccupied bed, assisting with personal hygiene, oral care, showering and most importantly, interacting therapeutically with our patients.”

“Besides the program being practical, it did consist of very important and critical subjects, which all provided a rationale to what we did during our lab time. Such subjects consist of theory classes, anatomy, palliative care and mental health, which were all thought-provoking classes, taught by amazing nursing professors, who not only made the lectures easier to comprehend, but added real-life experiences into the teaching.”

On the program’s field placements

Renzo: “The best part of this program was the clinical experience. The faculty here in the personal support program ensured that we entered our placements with not only knowledge, but as well as pure confidence and faith within our own selves.

Joshua: “For my clinical setting I was fortunate enough to be in a hospital close by - Michael Garron (Toronto East General) Hospital. Here, I was able to put my skills to the test and learn more on how it is to work in a hospital setting. I was able to work with nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, and other members of the healthcare team. The benefit here was that you were able to truly see how it is to be a part of the healthcare team.”

After the clinical aspect, you then have the opportunity to show your skills in the community setting. I was put into Alexis Lodge, and there’s a big difference working here compared to the hospital. It shows the diversity of where you can land as a PSW, and shows that there are so many jobs out there for you.”

On how the Personal Support Worker program sets you up to get your first job

Joshua: A big thing I enjoyed learning in semester 2 was how they teach you and re-enact how a job interview goes. It shows you how even when you do graduate, they prepare you so you become more comfortable when trying to land a job.”

Final thoughts on the program

Renzo: “I successfully graduated with honours and got an acceptance to the Practical Nursing Program here at Centennial College. I’m currently in my third semester, and with no hesitation, I can honestly say that taking the PSW program helped make me excel exceedingly well in the nursing program. I highly recommend the Personal Support Worker program to any students wanting to experience what it means to be a personal worker, or wanting to understand if the health care field is for them.”

Joshua: “It's sort of a bittersweet feeling knowing I'm about to graduate. It was such an amazing time being in a program where every single person cared about your success. The Personal Support Worker program here at Centennial College was a life changer.”

By Anthony Geremia, Renzo Baniqued and Joshua Panganiban