Clinical placements, what an experience. To say that my time during clinical placements was good would be an immense understatement. It truly was one my favourite parts of the HCA program. I had the privilege of working alongside care aids and nurses who have been in the field for over ten years. I learned all their tricks of the trade as well as different techniques for providing care that you can’t learn from a text book. It was amazing to finally be out in the field getting hands-on training and experience.
I did my first clinical placement at Kinsmen Lodge in Surrey which is a complex care unit. It is a beautiful facility right across from the Hospital. For the four SOS or shadow days I was placed on the first floor where most of the residents were fully cognitive and for the most part able to provide basic care for themselves. It was great for me because even though I didn’t need to assist so many of them with full transfers and full care I was able to spend more one-on-one time with them. Talking about their lives, gaining from their wisdom and really practicing my communication skills. However on my second full week at Kinsmen, my instructor decided it would be best to move me to a more complex unit. At first I was, not going to lie, a little angry and disappointed that I had just spend the last week as well as my SOS days gaining the trust of the residents and building relationships with them. I was angry that I now had to move to a new floor and basically start from scratch with new residents. Mind you, once I calmed down and decided to take this new floor as a broader experience, I was fine with the move. I finished my clinical on the fourth floor, which had more residents who suffered from mental and behavioural issues. Looking back now I am grateful that I was moved because in the end I gained more knowledge and skills that has now allowed me to have more confidence out in the work field. After I completed my clinical and preceptorship I had trained on three different floors at Kinsmen, learning new things every day.
For my second and final clinical I was placed in Burnaby in an assisted living facility. Assisted living is very slow paced; there is not a whole lot of personal care that needs to be done. This is good in a way because even though you are not constantly running around like at complex care, you have just enough work to keep the hours flying by during your shifts. I was so incredibly lucky to have amazing care aids there that taught me how to provide care using the Gentle Care approach, which we learned a lot about in class. I had the privilege of, once my work was done of course, being able to sit down with residents and play board games at night, or have some tea and coffee with them in the afternoon. I also organized some exercise for the residents that they quite enjoyed. Another great skill I was able to practice was medication assistance. We took a course on it in class and it was neat being able to finally put practice into it.
Both clinical’s taught me more about what it is really like being a care aid and I am very glad that Stenberg gave us the opportunity to experience two totally different facilities to better enhance our knowledge and experience.