The healthcare assistant program that NETP and NTC Nursing has brought to the West Coast is funding 11 students from West Coast First Nations.

Healthcare training valued by First Nations

“We’re pretty lucky to have the flexibility to look at what the labour market needs and then devise a program for that,” Hauser said.

Nora O’Malley

nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

In a waterfront classroom across the bay from Ucluelet in Hitacu territory, a young group of First Nations students gather daily to learn the foundations of community healthcare.

The students are enrolled in a 10-month healthcare assistant program, delivered by Discovery Community College and co-funded by Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program (NETP) and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) Nursing.

The college level certificate program was brought to the Coast by NETP with the intention of having graduates work in their communities and, perhaps, further their education towards nursing.

Out of the 40 or so applications NETP received, they were able to offer fully funded placements to 11 individuals. Corinne Moore and Evan Hauser, NETP case workers and program administrators, said their goal when they introduced the educational initiative was to attract youth living on reserves who were passionate about working with their community members.

“We’re pretty lucky to have the flexibility to look at what the labour market needs and then devise a program for that,” Hauser told the Westerly News.

“There is a growing demand for healthcare aids in First Nations communities throughout B.C. and Canada as a whole, as our population is aging and there is not enough certified people to work with this growing vulnerable population.”

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations Alannah Curly, who resides on the Ty-histanis reserve adjacent to Long Beach, said she applied for the program because she wanted to give back.

“I really wanted to help elders. I saw how high the demand was especially in our isolated communities and I really don’t want them going to long-term care facilities if possible, if we could help them improve their quality of life at home,” she said.

Coursework for the healthcare assistant program started at the beginning of March and, over the next 38-weeks, students will learn how to help a range of patients including: the elderly, injured or disabled persons, and chronically ill people.

There is also a cultural component to the program, which makes it particularly unique for First Nations communities.

“It’s really important because our elders, they are the ones that are keeping the culture and traditions alive. If we don’t learn them and incorporate them into our career then they might not be as willing to work with us,” Curly said. “They would expect that. It’s important to bring our teachings and our culture and approaching it in a holistic way.”

As graduates of the healthcare assistant program, the students will be qualified to work alongside nurses and in a healthcare setting. Moore said that many of the students expressed an interest in pursuing a higher level of academia afterwards.

“Some of them said on the first day that they would like to be a doctor. We would like to support that,” she said.

“They’re a really dynamic group. We’re really excited to see what’s going to come of them. I said on the first day to them, I said there is the potential that everyone in the room could become a doctor or lawyer or CEO or whatever they choose to set the goal for themselves that they will be able to achieve that.”

Curly’s mom works as a nurse for NTC and she expressed a keen interest in following her mother’s footsteps.

“I would like to get my LPN or maybe RN after this. We’ll see how it goes,” Curly said.

For the time being, Curly, like the majority of her classmates, is focused on successfully completing 600-hours of training and building her career close to home.

“I really would like to work in the community,” she said. “I live there and I’ve known them my whole life, so I figured they teach us so I want to give back.”

 

Just Posted

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Ucluelet irked as Tofino spurns Pacific Rim Visitors Centre

“This council really hoped that we were going to try to foster some new relationships.”

Tofino honours longtime volunteer

Notes from Nov. 28 council meeting.

Jamie’s Whaling Station gives big to local non-profits

Over $80,000 in visitor fees donated back to community.

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

Pair of pubs in Nanaimo scrap straws

VIU Students’ Union Pub, Dinghy Dock Pub no longer put straws in drinks

One man in hospital following targeted shooting in Courtenay

A 57-year-old Courtenay man is in hospital with a gunshot wound following… Continue reading

B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

FortisBC to lower natural gas rates in 2018

Rate changes to impact the Lower Mainland, Kootenays, Interior and Vancouver Island

Most Read