Micro-credential course at RRC to train new health workers

By Joël Lizotte

Red River College is offering a condensed version of its Health Care Support Worker program to put more health care aides in care homes.

The 20-week program will be taught in seven days of virtual and in-person lessons. The program was created in partnership with the provincial government.

In a news release published on Nov. 19, the government stated that it expects the first group of students to enter the workforce as early as Dec. 8.

“We must do everything possible to ensure we have staff to support the care needs of residents in our long-term care homes,” said Health Minister Cameron Friesen in the statement. “This requires an immediate increase in the available workforce and this new training program addresses this goal.”

River Park Gardens Personal Care Home, one of many Manitoba care homes threatened by a COVID-19 outbreak./JOËL LIZOTTE

Manitoba’s long-term care homes have become hazardous working environments, but applicants are ready to face the risks.

“It’s a little scary,” said Amelia Eskulund-Hansen.

Eskulund-Hansen is one of the many applicants who hopes to work as an uncertified health care aide in a personal care home or long-term care facility.

“I follow all the guidelines, and I’m always careful. But there’s always a risk with how high the cases are getting,” she said.

The RRC program is tuition-free to make it available to as many applicants as possible. The first year of tuition is $5,700 for the 20-week Health Care Aide program. The tuition-free alternative is an appealing option for those wanting a taste of RRC’s Health Sciences programs.

However, nurse Joyce Plante expressed concerns about the course’s shortened length. 

“In the long run, they have to look for a different way of getting more quality care to the patient,” Plante said. “We’ve got to be careful that this doesn’t become the habit.” 

The condensed program is currently being offered through RRC campuses in Winnipeg, Winkler, Selkirk, Steinbach, and Portage la Prairie. To apply, visit the Shared Health website.