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Accelerated PSW program returns to colleges in the north to help with shortages


A program offering free training for personal support workers is again being offered province-wide as a way to meet the urgent demand for PSWs.

The accelerated PSW program was launched at the peak of the pandemic last year, and two northern colleges saw a lot of interest.

Collège Boréal recently had 103 students graduate from the program across all seven of its campuses.

“The last cohort was very successful,” said Suzanne Lemieux, Dean if health sciences with Collège Boréal.

"So not only did Collège Boréal really rally around the idea of responding to the call of increasing health workers in the field, but our students really rose to the challenge to support communities, which was fantastic."

One of those recent graduates is Kanessa Hanzlik, who said she decided to go back to school after hearing tuition for the PSW program would be free.

She now works at a long-term care home in Sturgeon Falls.

“I’m happy to be a PSW and I’m happy to be a part of this family," Hanzlik said. "

“There is a PSW shortage everywhere, not just at our home but at hospitals, private care, and everything. It’s great to be able to go there and be part of that team and knowing that I am helping them during this short staff crisis.”

Officials with Cambrian College also said around 100 students graduated from the program.

In addition to free tuition, the accelerated program includes free books and a paid placement in the final three months before graduation.

“The first 12 weeks is all theory, when they’re in classroom and learning all about how the program works, everything that they need to know to work as a PSW,” said Erin McPhail, with Cambrian College.

"That’s followed by 12 weeks of clinical, where they go to a long-term care facility and gradually learn and be immersed into the actual role of the PSW."

Collège Boréal will start its next six-month accelerated PSW intake program on Aug. 15, while Cambrian's begins July 11. Top Stories

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