Sprott Shaw Hero Highlight: Alex McDougall

Now more than ever, we are so proud and honoured to have trained so many hardworking and successful front-line and essential workers – and Alex McDougall is one of them. In 2017, Alex graduated from our Penticton campus as a student in our Health Care Assistant (HCA) program.

Since 2017 (and a month after his Sprott Shaw graduation!), Alex has been a Health Care Assistant at Haven Hill Retirement Centre, a modern complex care facility in Penticton. When Alex comes into work every day, he loves how he’s able to see the residents smile and be genuinely grateful for his help and support.

A Day in the Life of a Health Care Assistant

For Alex, his days start at 7:00 in the morning and end at 3:00 in the afternoon. When he comes in, he begins with a safety check to make sure everything is in place for the day ahead. Next, he will see the residents and gently wake them up for the morning. While there is a time when all the residents should get going, they are allowed to sleep in if they choose to do so. By 10:00 in the morning, most of the residents are already up and have taken their daily bath. After this, Alex and his co-worker start making the beds and folding and putting the towels away for the day.

By the time beds are made and towels are put away, it’s time for lunch and Alex helps feed one of the residents. After lunch, some of the residents take an afternoon nap while others go outside in the courtyard when the weather permits them to. By this time, it’s 2:00 in the afternoon and Alex offers the residents an afternoon snack ranging from coffee, tea, milk, or juice to cookies or sandwiches. At the end of it all, Alex rounds up his day by doing safety checks on all the residents and giving a quick report to his co-worker taking over the evening shift.

Work Life Pre- and Post-COVID

Since he works on the frontlines in a complex care facility, Alex’s daily life has definitely changed pre- and post-COVID. Before the global outbreak, Alex was able to come in to work and only worry about keep his residents happy.

Today with COVID-19, Alex’s days are very different. Now when he arrives to work, he needs to change into his designated work shoes before he can enter the building through the basement and change into his scrubs. Once changed, he heads upstairs to his unit to answer a few questions about his health and any potential symptoms. If Alex is able to answer ‘no’ to all of the questions concerning COVID-19, he then proceeds to sign out a face mask for the day. Once this screening process is completed, he can carry on his typical workday as usual – with the obvious difference of needing to wear a mask all day to keep the residents and his co-workers safe.

As said by Alex, “To all the health workers out there, keep up the good work, stay strong, and help each other. We will all get through this eventually and finally, keep smiling.”

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