Personal Support Worker program rewarding for people who want to help others

Category: Student Profiles

A career as a personal support worker is a commitment to helping people, which is what drew Amber Wills of Orono to the one-year Personal Support Worker program at Durham College (DC).

“It was generally the aspect of helping people, that’s what I wanted to do my whole life,” she explains.

She was working as a manager at a restaurant when she decided to explore college programs and applied to DC because of the large placement component, where students complete more than 300 hours of placement before graduating giving them confidence to provide essential care in the community.

Wills said that before embarking on their first placement, students learn important skills in the lab, practicing on mannequins.

“They teach you all the skills in the lab before you even go out into the field, which is amazing,” she said.

In the labs students learn things like feeding people, how to roll people in bed and how to safely transfer a person from a bed to a wheelchair while supporting them.

Wills said her placements have included a long-term care setting and an adult day program and said her classmates enjoy their placement opportunities.

“They really like being out in the field and I think it’s really great that we can take our skills that we learned and practice them while we’re still in school and we can ask questions and make sure that we’re doing everything correctly.”

Wills said she also appreciated improving her communication skills at DC.

“As somebody who wasn’t great with communicating in high school—I had a lot of anxiety growing up—they taught me to break out of my shell and start conversations with people and continue conversations and I’ve been able to bring that into my every-day life as well.”

Overall, Wills said DC’s PSW program is a great entry into health care.

“You learn about diseases and illnesses, you learn about mental health, general anatomy and how the body works, and just in general you get a good foundation in the medical field.”

But the most important reason to pursue a career as a personal support worker is wanting to help others, said Wills.

“If that’s what somebody wants to do, if they want to help people, they will really enjoy it no matter what.”

Find out more about DC’s Personal Support Worker program and apply for May 2024!