Jeana Pasche: Personal support worker, Hearthstone by the Bay Retirement Community

It's my job to care for clients.

It’s my job to care for clients and help them with their daily activities, personal care, home management and nutrition. 

I landed here from the Philippines three years ago. I graduated with a degree in computer programming from AMA University in my country, but then I did training for caregiving, knowing I would immigrate to Canada. 

I always wanted to be a nurse. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to nursing school, so the only option for me to do something similar was to take a six-month caregiver course in the Philippines. 

When I moved to Canada, I got a job as a private health caregiver. The family also had help from the government, and the home-care nurse always said, “Why don’t you apply to become a PSW?” I needed a certificate, and that’s how I ended up taking the personal support worker program part-time through continuing education at George Brown College. It was a two-year program.

The program prepared me to work as a member of an inter-professional health care team and to be aware and accountable for my own actions. I now understand all the policies, legislation and procedures. The program also boosted my confidence and abilities to interact and communicate with clients, family members and the other health care team members. If something happens, I have to report it and document any changes in the client’s condition.

I learned how to read a care plan and was prepared for lifting – you do a lot of lifting. If you’re in home care, lifting is a two-person job [often involving someone else without training]. The school provides us with proper body mechanics to lift a client and transfer a patient. Sometimes people don’t like being told the right way to do something, so it can be difficult. No matter how upset you get, you have to be cool and assertive and tell your workmate it is better if this is done the right way.

Even though I’m not a nurse, I feel like I’ve done something right. When I came to Canada, I worked in a coffee shop, as a nanny and a private caregiver. Getting a job as a PSW makes me fulfilled and complete. I can work in home care, long-term care, at a hospital or in private care.

Going to school part-time was very hard. I worked full-time and went to school at night three times a week. Most of the time, class ended at 10 pm, and I got home at midnight because I took the TTC. I had to be focused because it’s really important to take in everything. I was lucky enough that my full-time job allowed me time to study during the day. I was a nanny for two years.

My best experience on the job is the satisfaction of knowing my clients are very pleased with the care I’m providing them. I always wear a smile at work. It’s a very tiring job, and you need a lot of patience. 

There’s also satisfaction in being called by name. I don’t expect my clients to know my name, but every time I go to their place, they know it. 

In the Philippines, you learn how to be patient. Over there we don’t have the luxuries of life here. Some people complain how hard life is in Toronto, but when I go back home I see that it’s harder there. 

That’s why I’m thankful for my job.

Where to study to become a personal support worker

Algonquin College (Ottawa) Personal support worker: $1,343.89/term (plus fees).

Cambrian College (Sudbury) Personal support worker: $1,772.48/semester.

Centennial College (Toronto) Personal support worker: $3,636.50/year.

Conestoga College (Kitchener) Personal support worker: $3,903.32/year.

Durham College (Oshawa) Personal support worker: $3,820/year.

Fanshawe College (London) Personal support worker: $2,096.31/term.

George Brown College (Toronto) Personal support worker: $3,557/program.

Georgian College (Barrie) Personal support worker: $3,698.44/year.

Seneca College (Newnham) Personal support worker: $2,686/year.

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