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Health Care Assistant Program (HCAP) accepting applicants


Tim Hermiston
Tim Hermiston is a graduate of the HCAP program and a Northern Health employee.

Northern Health is accepting another year’s worth of Health Care Assistant Program (HCAP) applicants! What is a Health Care Assistant and what is the program all about you ask?

Health care assistants are valuable members of the health care team. They provide for the physical, mental, and social well-being of clients of each day. Health Care Assistants provide personal care in a variety of health care settings including hospitals, assisted living and long-term care facilities, group homes, and community care programs. The Health Career Access Program (HCAP) gives you the opportunity to receive paid education and on-the-job training to become a registered Health Care Assistant. Your course fees will be covered, and you’ll also be paid for your time while you study and work. The program consists of employment, education, and training, and may take up to 18 months to finish.

Want to know more about this program? Visit the HCAP web page.

If you’re wondering what this program is really like from someone who’s tried it out, listen to what Tim Hermiston, HCAP graduate and now Northern Health employee, has to say! I met up with Tim, and he gave me the low-down on his experience.

How was your experience with the HCAP program?

It was a great experience. I'm thankful to Northern Health for the opportunity. My family and I have been living in Canada for about five years and as you can see I'm not a young fella, but this program made it possible to be able to do something I really enjoy, and that’s working with people!

I’m originally from Australia. My exposure to health care and health care professionals took place when my wife and I worked beside physical therapists and occupational therapists treating refugees in developing and poor communities in Jordan.

I would say my life experience thus far has prepared me for working with the diversity of people that we come across every day. Working in the Middle East, every refugee has their own story. Well, the people here in Prince George, they all have stories too!

What impressed me about the Northern Health / College of New Caledonia curriculum of the HCAP program was learning the concept of ‘Person-centered Care’. Essentially, the person in front of you has a unique history and needs. I think the big thing is recognizing these needs. HCAP looks at not just our physical needs, but the mental and emotional needs as well.

The program is all about person-centered care. You know, the person in front of you- what is their immediate need and how we can best assist them and help them enjoy life?

How old were you when you took the HCAP program?

I just took it last year - close to 50 years old when I started. I still have one daughter at home, so the earn while you learn part of the HCAP program made it more possible for me.

It was awesome to see the diversity of students that were in my course. Some young folks just out of high school and some other people like me, with families bringing in a bit more life experience. I think it’s really great that the program makes it possible for a whole diverse spectrum of people to enroll.

Tell us about your award!

As it turns out I received the Dean's Leadership Award! The award reads “For outstanding display of leadership during their time in the Health Care Assistant Program, December 2022”. It was nice to be recognized, but I think the reality is out of those thirty other peers, there's so many people who are just very qualified, clever, and very caring. It could have easily been someone else!

Congratulations and thank you, Tim!

A big thanks to Tim for doing this interview and congrats on his very well-deserved recognition!