Sprott Shaw Hero Highlight: Rob Wardal

This week’s Sprott Shaw Hero, Rob Wardal, started his career in healthcare as a Health Care Assistant and grew to love it so much, he decided to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Rob was inspired to pursue a career in healthcare due to the security of the field and his compassion to care for those who can’t care for themselves.

rob wardal sprott shaw hero health care assistant working at vancouver coastal health in ppe during covid

In 2016, Rob graduated from the Health Care Assistant Program at our East Vancouver campus. After a few years of working as a successful Health Care Assistant, he decided to come back to Sprott Shaw earlier this year and take the Practical Nursing Access Program to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. Returning back to nursing school was a decision that pushed Rob to challenge himself and further his knowledge and skills.

Life as a Health Care Assistant

Since 2018, Rob has been working with elderly residents as a Care Aide at Berkley Care Centre, which is a long-term care centre operated by Vancouver Coastal Health.

Working on the frontlines of this pandemic has been challenging for Rob, like many other healthcare professionals. Before the pandemic, he was working two positions as a Health Care Assistant, one at Berkley Care Centre and the other at UBC Hospital. Ever since the single site order was set in place, Rob was only allowed to work at one facility – which forced him to prioritize his financial needs. However, this wasn’t all bad, as at the same time, it allowed him to spend extra time with his family and focus on his Practical Nursing Program.

Right now, Rob works the night shift at Berkley Care Centre, so there is only him and one Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) on the floor. In their area, they have a total of 45 residents to look after and take care of.

At the start of every shift, Rob begins with a thorough report followed by setting up both wings of the floor with carts. After this, he along with the LPN, do their first round of checking in on the residents. For him, some days are easier than others – sometimes, they have residents who need extra care or attention, and on other days, they have residents strictly in isolation.

After completing their rounds, the LPN cares and attends to the residents on the east side of the building, while Rob does the same on the west side. This particular division process makes it easier to split their care for each wing, as opposed to running back and forth from one side to the other – and if there is ever a need for both of them, they can simply just call each other.

During the night, interventions tend to be minimally needed. On an average night, Rob and the LPN will help the residents with tasks like grabbing a glass of water, adjusting their pillows, bringing extra blankets, and just keeping them safe overall. At around 5 AM, Rob and the LPN will do their second round and once they are done that, Rob will complete his documentation while the LPN does a round of medication administration for a few residents. After this, his shift is over for the night, and they greet the morning staff. 

Preparing for a Career in Healthcare with Sprott Shaw

rob wardal sprott shaw hero licensed practical nursing student studying at home

After working a few years as a Health Care Assistant, Rob would definitely recommend others to become one as well – though he notes that as ‘simple’ as it looks, the job is not for everyone.

As a student who decided to come back to Sprott Shaw to advance his career, Rob says, “At Sprott Shaw College, I received all [the] knowledge I needed for my profession as an HCA. On top of it, upon completion of [the] program and even years after that, instructor and administrative personnel still helped me on a number of occasions.”

 He says, “To all who [are] thinking about taking [an] LPN program – don’t let your age, length of the program or other obstacles stop you. When you start making [a] difference in other people’s lives, that will be your greatest reward. It’s priceless.”

Thank you, Rob, for going above and beyond to support and care for your residents!

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