Campus Life  

College offers additional training for in-demand healthcare roles

Melanie Stolz

Future students can explore these and other programs at Virtual Open House on Sunday, Nov. 8

If you think hand washing and keeping surfaces sanitized is a lot of work, talk to a medical device reprocessing technician. For individuals in this crucial role, it is a full-time job – one that keeps our hospitals and health care system functioning.

Okanagan College is responding to the critical need for healthcare professionals with several additional program offerings this winter.

One of these programs being explored is a January intake of the Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (MEDR) certificate geared toward Interior Health Authority employees.

Throughout the province, 59 new medical device reprocessing technicians have been hired since April 2020. With more recruitment expected, this program will also be offered at the College in May 2021.

For current MEDR student Melanie Stolz, her interest in the field began while working in a support role at the Golden & District Hospital. “I was intrigued by the obvious methodical process and meticulous care that the decontamination staff had for their work,” says Stolz.

Intrigued, she inquired about training to work within that team. With encouragement from the head Operating Room nurse at the hospital, Stolz applied for the OC program and began training in September.

Because of COVID-19, Stolz and her classmates are completing the theory portion of their training online, but won’t miss out on critical hands-on training thanks to a 400-hour in-person hospital practicum.  

“I am excited about learning something new and being part of something bigger than myself, with a talented dedicated team of health professionals,” says Stolz.

Medical Device Reprocessing Technician is just one of the healthcare programs that Okanagan College has added to combat the provincial skills gap during the pandemic and far into the future. Extra intakes of the Perianesthesia Nursing certificate, as well as Medical Office Assistant certificates are scheduled in 2021.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of the unsung heroes that support our healthcare community,” says Jennifer Gorman, Associate Director of Continuing Studies. “Continuing Studies is committed to providing training to address the urgent needs in some of these areas, answering in-demand employment opportunities within our community and keeping our healthcare system supported with trained workers.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the College’s health care training offerings, and many other programs, can do so this weekend from the comfort of home.

On Sunday, Nov. 8, from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., the College is hosting a Virtual Open House. The event aims to help future students, parents, and high school counsellors explore programs, find out about what the College experience is like during COVID-19, chat with professors and instructors and have their questions answered.

Learn more and register in advance at okanagan.bc.ca/openhouse.

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