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A front page article in the Toronto Star last week caught my eye, and left me feeling disappointed. The title read: “Please don’t trust me with your life… I’m a personal support worker and you have no idea how underqualified I am.”
The article goes on to talk about how there are some courses available in the GTA that do not provide adequate training for students becoming PSW’s. Didn’t seem to mention much about the courses that do.
My first thought went to the director of the PSW program at Durham College, I fired off an email and soon had a reply. She had already written to the editor of the paper expressing her position on their story. Durham College offered me MORE than adequate training to enter my field and works closely with the Lakeridge Health Corporation to ensure training is up to date and any necessary additions to the program are made.
How do we fix this? How do we ensure that PSW’s entering the workforce have the necessary training to provide SAFE and Holistic care for those in need? How do we monitor the care provided by PSW’s?
What is regulation? It’s a means of streamlining education, tracking and recording workplace incidents, holding PSW’s accountable for their actions and ensuring the care provided by PSW’s is professional and safe. Our nurses are regulated under the College of Nurses. Why aren’t our PSW’s?
Many of those working in the field have been doing so for a long time. If we were to be regulated this would mean additional training and education, certification, money spent. Some feel it is not a necessary step to ensuring quality of care, some may feel their job security would be threatened.
What if a PSW is not providing quality care? They may abuse a client, lose their job and then move onto the next position with no record of the abuse following them to their new employer. Scary thought?
What if a PSW’s training becomes out dated? There is no method in place that requires training to be up to date except for those implemented by the employer.
Regulation would force employers to hire only those qualified, it would ensure punishment for those providing unsafe care, streamline education, ensure up to date training, provide a means of tracking behavior… and most importantly: Ensure the safety of all those receiving care from a PSW.
I may only be a PSW but please trust me with your life, I have the training and the tools to provide you with safe, quality care. I am educated, intelligent, compassionate and I want to say the same for ALL those who call themselves PSW. Help us push for REGULATION.