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Staff ‘blown away’ by quality of students in PSW program

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The first class of personal support worker (PSW) students at the Near North District School Board are only weeks away from wrapping up their in-class sessions.  

The program is running in Parry Sound and North Bay with community partners, including Belvedere Heights and Cassellholme, which are providing the classroom space and mentorship.

Students learn in living classrooms and within hours are often on the floor putting into practice what they’ve just learned. After the in-class sessions wrap up June 30, students will then fulfill placement hours in both long-term care and community care settings. 

In North Bay, instructor Nancy Corbett, a registered practical nurse (RPN) at Cassellholme for 25 years says when students get to shadow PSWs, they learn by seeing others do the work, then get to try it themselves. 

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North Bay’s Arianna Poullas says the hands-on learning is what appealed to her.

“I like being able to do things with my hands,” says Poullas. “It makes things make sense to me.”

She is one of seven students already hired into Cassellholmes’ Helping Hands program.  Jamie Lowery , Cassellholme’s Chief Executive Officer, says it’s like a pre-PSW position in which staff assist the PSWs. He says staff is “blown away” by the quality of students and of the course being taught. 

PSW student Jillian Hewitt is also a part-time employee and single mom who enjoys the flexibility of the program, observing and learning from the PSWs. 

There are plans to run the program in September in West Nipissing and Mattawa. For more information visit the NNDSB website.

***Written by Richard Coffin

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