Students of Stenberg’s Health Care Assistant program get to practice their skills in a real-life hands-on setting.

Seven Tips on the Art of Applying our Hands-On Skills

Hello, beautiful world!

Welcome to my third blog. Hope everyone is enjoying the weather. 🙂

I cannot believe how much time has passed. I have been uber busy these past few weeks (like literally, and I am going to tell you why…keep reading!)

The last time I updated you all, I emphasized the importance of practising our hands-on skills. I am currently in the process of applying these very skills but now the difference is I am applying them in a real-life clinical setting. I had the opportunity to go out in a local residential care facility, to get a glimpse of what it is like to be a Health Care Assistant (HCA).

Students of Stenberg’s Health Care Assistant program get to practice their skills in a real-life hands-on setting.
Health Care Assistant graduates help the elderly to meet their basic needs with care and compassion

If you’re considering entering this field, here are a few things to keep in mind as we progress working within a clinical setting:

  • It is absolutely OKAY to be nervous and there is no need to feel bad about it. The first day I entered the facility, I was a complete nervous wreck. I would forget the names of the residents and the full-time Health Care Assistants who were on shift. Eventually, you WILL catch on and WILL be able to familiarize yourself with the unit.

  • We are now dealing with REAL PEOPLE, not mannequins. What we learn hands-on in school is very valuable, detail-oriented and not to mention, informative. However, because we are now dealing with REAL PEOPLE, the care doesn’t necessarily have to follow “step-by-step.” Instead, as a Health Care Assistant it is extremely important to be flexible and simply “go with the flow.”

  • There is a DIFFERENCE between our homework assignment versus assignment within a clinical setting. I learned this the hard way. Assignment within a clinical setting refers to how many residents we will be caring for that particular shift. In other words, our workload. However, our homework assignments refer to our self-reflection, daily journals, observation reports, and care plan submissions to our instructor.

  • The full-time Health Care Assistants in the unit are YOUR BEST FRIENDS. Initially, I was a bit intimidated by the HCAs on our floor. Many of us feel we do not want to look stupid by asking them about everything, so what do we try to do? Simply do the task by ourselves and hope for the best. I do not recommend this…if anything the HCAs like it if we ask questions. Not only will this help ease our transition BUT this gives the HCA a better understanding of our work ethic and willingness to express the fact that we DO NOT necessarily know every single thing.

  • Be on your A-game at ALL TIMES because the full-time Health Care Assistants are watching your every move. As time goes on and you become familiar with the facility’s routine, the HCAs begin to set certain rules, boundaries, and expectations from YOU. Sometimes they can even be a bit nitpicky (not all the time but get used to it). Therefore, it is very important to be on your best behaviour and focus on yourself (not your peers!).

  • Journal each day and DO NOT cram it all the date it is due. Journaling is an important aspect when it comes to being in a hands-on clinical setting. It helps hone in on what we did well, what we didn’t and how we can improve the next day. Cramming it all the day of simply defeats its purpose and becomes meaningless. It can be difficult for us to recall what we did on particular days.

  • ABSORB as much information as you possibly can as a student. I mention this because ONE DAY we are not going to be students anymore, and we are eventually going to be practicing on OUR OWN. The thought can be scary to imagine (to some degree but it is what is, right?). That is why absorbing as much information from our mentors is the best way to go. When in doubt, ASK. If you feel something is unsafe, REPORT. The most important thing when applying our hands-on clinical experience is to simply enjoy it while it lasts.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Thank you. 🙂

If you’re interested in the Health Care Assistant career or program, fill out the inquiry form on this page or contact the Program Advisory team directly at 1-866-580-2772 or [email protected] for more information!

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Program: Health Care Assistant

Have Questions?

Ask a Program Advisor!

Do you live outside of Canada? Inquire on our international website!

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