Province must create standard education for RCWs

(Posted April 29, 2011)

The PEI Union of Public Sector Employees says the province needs to step up and create a standard program of study for Resident Care Workers (RCWs) in PEI.

President Shelley Ward says that "under the new model of care there is an increased demand for RCWs in the province. This fact, coupled with the current shortage of RCWs means there will be more RCWs hired over the next few years. With more RCWs entering the health care system, now is the time to establish a standard program of study complete with an established series of competencies."

Ward explains that "RCWs in Prince Edward Island are not provided with a consistent training program that ensures protection for both the patient and the employee. There are four training sites in the province and they do not all share a standardized Resident Care Worker curriculum." She says "the 2009 PEI Health Sector Council report on RCW education further reveals that education providers are not even required to offer a program that meets the baseline level of proficiency required for RCWs as outlined in the RCW DACUM or occupational skill profile."

"The call for standardized RCW education is now more important than ever," asserts Ward. "Within the new model of care, RCWs find themselves in an acute care environment, and so the need for consistency of training and the achievement of core competencies is of paramount importance. The model of care also demands a greater sharing of responsibility among professionals and so health providers must be sure about the education and expertise of their co-workers. Patient safety and care depends on successful collaboration between health care professionals."

The union has had many discussions on standardizing RCW education with the province; however, this has fallen on deaf ears. Ward says " this is unfortunate as much of the groundwork has already been laid. The province needs to act on the PEI Health Sector Council's report recommendations and ensure quality, standardized education for Island RCWs, and create a regulatory framework and legislation to assist with the protection of these front line workers in the health care system."

- 30 -

Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll free 1-800-897-8773) to arrange an interview.