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National Academy of Health & Business (NAHB)
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Finding Work as a Personal Support Worker

2017-06-22 by Mark Harrington

Personal-Support-Worker-TrainingOnce you have completed your personal support worker training and find it’s time to go out and get a job that can put what you learned in psw courses to good use, you’ll need a solid game plan. Here are some suggestions to get you started on this rewarding career path:

Researching Potential Employers

The first thing you should do is determine whether you are primarily looking for work in a healthcare institution such as a hospital or a long-term care facility or would rather work in private residences, either through a placement agency or by getting hired directly by clients. It’s a good idea to focus on the type of work you want but keep all options open in your search.

Resources for personal support worker course graduates looking for work include:

  • This site provides, among other resources, a listing of hospitals in Ontario hiring PSWs.
  • Job Search Websites: It’s a good idea to check out sites like and for postings and when searching for individual clients. Classifieds sites like Kijiji should also not be ignored.

Preparing for the Interview

When you’ve landed an interview, it’s important that you go into it prepared. Some good tips for prospective personal support workers to remember are:

  • Research your potential employer
  • Be able to list and know your relevant skills
  • Be able to explain how your education has prepared you for this work
  • Do a mock interview
  • Dress professionally and leave early

Possible Interview Questions

Interviewing for a position as a PSW is generally a very in-depth process, which makes sense considering the highly personal nature of the work. Potential employers want to be sure that they’re hiring the right person for the job. Here are some questions you may hear at a PSW job interview:

  • If a resident/your patient falls, what will you do? In the case of an institution, it is best to familiarize yourself with their safety protocols. One possible good responses could be “stay with the patient and call for help, then help transfer them to a bed or chair safely.”
  • How do you care for a palliative patient? Your response should mention that you would care for them with the upmost dignity and respect, in accordance with their religious practises, treating them with warmth and empathy while respecting their privacy.
  • What are a resident’s rights? There are over 25 rights people who live in Ontario long-term care facilities have legally. These include the right to be protected from abuse and neglect, have a safe and clean home and be cared for in a manner consistent with their beliefs. It is important to know all the rights before going to a job interview in a long-term care facility.

Where would you prefer to work as a PSW, and what steps will you take to get there?


2016-05-25 by Mark Harrington

PSW training

“We know that Ontarians would prefer to receive care in their own homes and communities and Personal Support Workers play a critical role in making this possible. Our government is committed to working closely with our partners to better support PSWs, including improvements to their wages in recognition of the important role they play in our health care system.”

- Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

According to the Government of Ontario, a Personal Support Worker (otherwise known as a PSW) is an individual who assists those with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Often associated with the elderly, a PSW may also work with children and other vulnerable members of society.  Under the direction of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), a PSW helps to aid in the care and needs for their client as stated in their client/resident’s care plan.  Duties often include dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring, emotional/physical/mental support, companionship etc.  Personal Support Workers are front line workers and are often the first professionals to notice changes in a client’s well being.  Personal Support Workers are a VITAL and IMPORTANT part of the booming healthcare industry found within Ontario and all of Canada.

National Academy of Health & Business, established in 1979 has been providing the necessary career training for students looking to work within the Ontario healthcare sector and specifically, the PSW sector. Our school continuously strives to ensure all graduates from the Personal Support Worker certificate program are equipped with the most advanced skills in order to excel within this booming workforce in Ontario.

There are approximately 100,000 Personal Support Workers employed across Ontario’s booming healthcare industry and these numbers continue to grow. Due to the increasing numbers of the elderly population in Ontario, approximately 34,000 Personal Support Workers are employed within the home and community care sector. With the elderly population on the rise, the government of Ontario has been consistently taking necessary steps to help attract and retain the best Personal Support Workers in the industry. With the help of our government combined with the high standard of training offered within a National Academy program, NAHB Personal Support Worker students are often hired immediately upon graduation. In addition, the Government of Ontario continues to implement the PSW Workforce Stabilization Strategy including initiatives such as:

  • Developing options to enhance full-time and permanent employment
  • Helping new graduates transition successfully into jobs within the home and community care industry through on-the-job orientation
  • And strengthening profession leadership in the sector

These initiatives have been directly influencing the successful placement and hiring of National Academy students. To find out more about the Personal Support Worker Certificate Program and discovering if this is the right career path for you, contact National Academy of Health & Business today. Since 1979, we have been offering a life of success in one year or less.

A PSW’s Guide to First Aid

2015-01-14 by Mark Harrington

first aidIf you plan to pursue personal support worker training, you may one day find yourself working in a nursing home, hospital, or private residence. Here, you will be responsible for caring for the elderly. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the people you’ll eventually be helping will likely face a range of chronic health conditions. Though PSWs do not follow a set list of duties, one common skill that they are all required to master is the ability to react effectively and efficiently in emergency situations. Read on to find how a personal support worker uses first aid to react in an emergency while on the job.

Treating Someone Who is Choking

Anyone who has taken a personal support worker course knows how to properly react in a situation where a person is choking. The first thing these professionals do is give the choking individual five blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of their hand. If the choking persists, the PSW moves on to abdominal thrusts. In order to perform these effectively, they:

  • Stand behind the person and wrap their arms around the waist
  • Place a clenched fist directly above the person’s navel, grabbing the fist with the other hand
  • Quickly pull inward and upward

The PSW will alternate between cycles of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the object that the person is choking on is coughed up or dislodged and they begin to breathe regularly. It’s important to note that if the individual is pregnant, the personal support worker will perform the abdominal thrusts by placing his or her hand just above the stomach at the base of the breastbone to ensure that the baby will not be harmed.

Identifying the Signs of Stroke

As people age, the risk of stroke increases – this means that personal support workers (who work with the elderly) definitely need to understand how to identify the symptoms of stroke, as well as know the protocol for providing help. Students enrolled in PSW courses know that it is important to contact emergency services immediately if they notice a patient is experiencing the telltale signs of stroke, these include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs (especially if the numbness occurs on only one side of the body)
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble seeing
  • Difficulty walking, dizziness or balance problems
  • Sudden confusion
  • Severe headache

A PSW will be expected to record the time when the symptoms first appeared. There are several different types of strokes, and some can be treated with a medication that reduces the long-term effects. If this medication is available, it will be administered to the patient within the first four hours of noticing the symptoms. If the individual is diabetic, blood sugar level should be measured – low blood sugar can be treated with a glucose tablet, or even a glass of a sugary beverage, like orange juice.

Have you ever delivered first aid during a medical emergency? What tips can you offer for remaining cool and calm?

Understanding Disabilities as a PSW

2014-12-24 by Mark Harrington

Elderly Patient and Nurse

Students taking personal support worker training today will likely go on to serve Canada’s growing elderly population, assisting in their everyday tasks and day-to-day needs. An important aspect of PSW courses is learning to help patients manage their disabilities – both physical and mental – that are commonly associated with old age. While some students may have some experience helping family members cope with ailments, many age-related disabilities are quite complicated. PSWs need knowledge and training to do their job well. Read on to learn more about some of the most common disabilities and conditions associated with older patients.


Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that progresses over time, gradually causing the loss of bodily functions. Alzheimer patients usually begin by suffering memory loss, furthered by mood swings, speech problems and disorientation. Alzheimer’s has three stages: mild, moderate and severe. In the severe stage, patients will usually require assistance with eating, dressing and general mobility.


Patients with arthritis often find waking up in the morning most difficult, due to overnight joint stiffness. Since arthritis patients are mostly affected at their joints, it is important they keep active, but not strain themselves. Being overweight can make arthritis worse, which is why personal support worker courses train students how to prepare and cook healthy meals for patients. Exercise may also be necessary, as will some minor assistance carrying heavy or awkward items.

Senior with painful arm


Characterized by a high risk of fracture, osteoporosis is a disease that causes deterioration of the bone tissue and bone mass. Lifestyle habits can greatly improve an osteoporosis patient’s life, since bones grow stronger with activity. A personal support worker may help clients perform some light exercises – those involving lifting weights are best for exercising the bone. Other exercises may include dancing, walking, stairs or small weight lifting.


Like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. The disease is characterised by tremors due to a lack of dopamine and a subsequent loss of muscle control. Parkinson’s patients may have difficulty walking, moving, and the disease can cause constipation and issues swallowing. Personal support workers assigned to a Parkinson’s patient are responsible for monitoring changes in the patient’s disease, such as dizziness or confusion, which may put them at risk for falling.


A stroke is a complicated condition with a wide variety of health consequences. Someone is more at risk for stroke if they are overweight, elderly or lack physical activity. A stroke can be extremely debilitating, causing paralysis in half the body, slowed body movements, vision problems and short term memory loss. After having one stroke, a patient has a higher risk of suffering another. A personal support worker may help a patient with speech exercises, playing memory games, puzzles or crosswords. Range of motion exercises can also be beneficial for stroke sufferers to promote flexibility and reduce stiffness in their muscles.

Have you had experience working with a patient with one of these conditions? What were the main challenges?


Quick Guide to a Career in Sports Physiotherapy

2014-12-10 by Mark Harrington

Patient at the physiotherapy doing physical therapy

Sports have always provided audiences with entertaining spectacle, and the invention of mass media and high-profile sponsorship has made athletes into global super stars.

The increasingly competitive nature of sports today means that athletes are pushing themselves harder than ever before. As a testament to this, there were two dozen sports world records broken in just 2014 alone! Sport and exercise medicine (SEM) doctors ensure that competitors can perform at their best, and also treat athletes who have suffered injuries while aiming for a new title or big win. Because sports injuries require closely monitored rehabilitation, sports medicine clinics have resident physiotherapists and aides who have completed physiotherapist assistant training.

Sports Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists have an extensive understanding of human movement (kinesiology) and the bodily impact of injury. In sports physiotherapy, there are usually several steps that are taken to rehabilitate the patient so that they can return to physical activity. These steps include acute care, which involves directly treating the injury, and rehabilitation, which is managing the injury so that the athlete can continue to perform. A major step after the rehabilitation process is to educate the athlete in the management of their injury and how future injuries can prevented. Some of the most common sports injuries include:

  • Ankle sprain (common with runners)
  • Shin splints (common with runners)
  • Groin pull (common with soccer players)
  • Hamstring pull
  • Tennis elbow
  • ACL tear (knee injury)

Physiotherapy Treatments

When the injury doesn’t have swelling, a physiotherapist may apply a hot pack to relieve muscle or joint stiffness. Acupuncture may be used as a treatment for injuries accompanied by severe pain. With the aid of a physiotherapist assistant, a physiotherapist uses needles which stimulate the brain and spinal cord depending on where they’re placed, releasing natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins.

A sports physiotherapist will often also assign range of motion (ROM) exercises for the patient to complete with the help of a physiotherapist assistant. Range of motion exercises are taught in a wide range of healthcare courses, such as personal support worker training, as it is a simple but effective way to keep aggravated muscles from seizing and preserve the flexibility of joints. Active ROM exercises can be performed by the patient themselves, whereas Passive ROM exercises are prescribed in cases where a patient cannot move the joints themselves due to extreme injury or paralysis. Graduates of personal support worker courses will often be skilled in Passive ROM exercises for elderly patients who have lost much of their mobility.

Another primary component of sports physiotherapy is massage, also called soft-tissue mobilization. Massage may be used by a physiotherapist to treat sore muscles, muscle spasms, decrease swelling and reduce pain. By increasing the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue, toxins are released, aiding the recovery process.

Typical Duties of a Physiotherapist Assistant

2014-08-27 by Mark Harrington

Instructor And Elderly Patient Undergoing Water Therapy

A physiotherapist assistant will always work under the supervision of a certified physiotherapist to aid them in their duties. To become a physiotherapist assistant, first you will need certification from a physiotherapist assistant program where you will learn about anatomy and physiology, healthcare delivery, rehabilitation strategies and much more. In this field, it is crucial that you have a passion for exercise and activity, as well as an overall positive attitude. Physiotherapy is a gradual process and patients may often get frustrated when they cannot complete an exercise. Because of the rehabilitation nature of the job, patience is a crucial attribute to those who choose this profession.

Types of Patients

As a physiotherapist, there are a variety of possible locations for your employment. Your job may have you performing house calls, or you may work in a physiotherapy clinic or hospital.

The people you work with vary as well. Many patients are elderly and need help regaining their strength and mobility, in which case you may work alongside someone who has graduated from a personal support worker course. Those who have suffered a stroke benefit tremendously from physiotherapy, as it helps regain control over muscles that have been paralyzed or disabled.

The great thing about being a physiotherapist assistant is that you find yourself working with people from all walks of life. Children may also need physiotherapy, due to developmental delays or sports injuries. In the case of a younger patient, you may find yourself working hand in hand with an early childhood assistant to aid in the child’s recovery.

Rehabilitation of broken leg

Typical Daily Duties

If you are curious about what a day as a physiotherapist assistant is like, here are some typical duties performed on the job.

  • Assist patient in performing the exercises which have been arranged by a physiotherapist
  • Motivate patients to perform their exercises
  • Help patients move from a sitting to a standing position
  • Help patients walk with a cane or walker
  • Perform massages
  • Record the muscle and strength performance of the patient
  • Inform the patients of their at-home treatment
  • Use ultrasound machines to treat injuries
  • Help patients use artificial limbs

Positive Motivation

A physiotherapist must have a passion for activity and a motivational personality – after all, the main part of your job is to encourage patients to make their recovery as swift as possible. Some patients’ situations will require time, especially in the cases of a stroke where a patient may start off immobile. A physiotherapist assistant has the duty of encouraging the patient to take small steps at a time, and radiate a positive energy which will aid in their recovery.

Top Skills for Becoming a Community Services Worker

2014-07-02 by Mark Harrington

Home care

The role of a community services worker is to assist and support individuals and communities facing challenges related to areas like economic difficulties, mental health issues, substance abuse problems, physical disabilities or more. As a community services worker, you work on the frontlines of social assistance, meaning this is a career that can be demanding, but also tremendously satisfying on a personal level. If you’re currently investigating carers in healthcare and social work, such as contemplating taking a personal support worker course or becoming an early childhood assistant, you should consider a career as a community services worker. If you love to help people and fight for what’s right, it could be just what you’re looking for.

Top skills

A trained community services worker can find employment in a number of organisations, including government agencies, women’s shelters, mental health centers, correctional facilities, schools, group homes and more.

To be successful as a community services worker, you must be people-oriented and have strong empathy and compassion. Good organizational skills and being able to think quickly on your feet can also come in handy. Moreover, a positive attitude is a good trait to have, as some of your clients may have fallen into patterns of negative thinking.

During your formation as a community services worker, you’ll also acquire skills related to:

  • Psychology
  • Case management
  • Counseling Techniques
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Self-care
  • Conflict resolution
  • Family development
  • CPR/First Aid

All of these will help you provide quality support and services to individuals in need and making a difference in their lives and your community.

Tasks and responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities of a community services worker can vary greatly depending on your employer or the type of clients you have, and might require you to also receive light medical office assistant training.

In general, a professional in this field can expect to:

  • Meet with clients to evaluate their situation, provide support or assess their progress
  • Write reports, including a client’s strengths, weaknesses and needs
  • Help clients gain access to the governmental services they need, such as legal, medical and financial assistance, employment services, help with housing and more
  • In collaboration with the client, develop and carry out plans of action
  • Implement various programs within a community, including substance abuse programs, youth services and workshops related to life skills and other topics
  • Provide crisis intervention and emergency shelter services

And, of course, much more. Your training as a community services worker will be flexible and will prepare you to be able to handle many different types of challenges and work environments, so that can you be effective both independently and as a member of a team of community services workers.

In the end, if you care about social justice, are passionate about supporting individuals in difficult situations, are self-motivated and a good decision marker, you’ll find plenty to like in community services.

Improving Patients’ Daily Lives as a Personal Support Worker

2014-06-25 by Mark Harrington

nahbA combination of health care restructuring and an aging population make Canada an ideal market for the personal support worker. More and more patients are recovering from injuries, chronic health conditions, and operations at home – and long term care facilities are expecting an influx of clients in the years to come.

Professionals holding a personal support worker diploma will find opportunities for employment in both the public and private sector. Working with clients of all ages and diverse care requirements, they support the patient’s day-to-day wellness by performing a wide range of tasks.

Here are 3 invaluable ways the PSW improves patients’ lives:

Medical Support

Graduates of PSW courses are fully trained health care professionals. As part of a collaborative medical team, they routinely monitor and document each patient’s vital signs. Personal support workers take blood pressure, temperature and pulse, collect specimens as needed, and report their observations to doctors and nurses. The PSW also helps prepare patients for operations, ensures that medicines are taken as prescribed, and even assists in the cleaning and sterilization of equipment. Covering all the bases, personal support workers are there from start to finish, a continual point of contact for patients, their families, and other members of the medical health care team.

Emotional Support

Nurses are busy, doctors are often seen only briefly – but the PSW is always accessible and on hand for patients who need special care. And they do much more than look after a client’s physical well being. The PSW is a particularly caring and empathetic professional who watches over the mental and emotional condition of each patient. If working in a home setting, they will ease the burden of daily chores, taking care of laundry, light house work, and even grocery shopping. Like a close friend, they establish a personal connection with patients – offering a relaxing massage or talking through concerns and fears. The PSW addresses the full needs of the patient, from the practical to the emotional.

Recreational Support

Professionals in the field and students currently enrolled in a personal support worker course understand that patient care extends beyond the home or health care facility. Not only does the PSW supervise doctor-approved exercise, they will often make arrangements for patients to get outdoors and participate in social events. After getting to know the interests of their patients and taking into account any special needs, personal support workers set up activities and social opportunities, accompanying clients to and from events. This aspect of support is crucial to the patient’s sense of community connection, which in turn helps facilitate emotional wellbeing and medical recovery.

Working hand in hand, these 3 crucial areas of support form the basis of the PSW’s job profile – and the foundation of empathetic, personalized health care in Canada.

What do you consider the most rewarding aspect of working as a PSW?

Rewarding Careers as a Community Service Worker

2014-04-16 by Mark Harrington

Community Service Workers help locate or implement medical, personal and other assistance to any number of groups in need. They can be found working with all members of the community, including homeless persons, pregnant teenagers, people with substance abuse problems and so many more. As community services expand, the need for qualified workers becomes greater in a variety of different sectors. Community Service is a challenging but very rewarding career that allows you to improve the quality of life for those who are in need or at risk.

A Community Service Worker guides members of the community towards the services and assistance they require when facing personal or social problems. They must be able to assess and meet a client’s physical, medical, emotional and behavioural support needs. Depending on the type of workplace, these individuals can have any number of additional duties. They may be asked to prepare reports, interview clients to determine their needs, refer clients to appropriate services and provide crisis intervention when necessary. Community service workers counsel clients to determine their progress and resolve any difficulties or problems they may be having. Workers refer clients to residential, in-patient, detoxification or mental health programs, and sometimes accompany clients to treatment programs. Moreover, some positions may require light medical office assistant training.

Career Opportunities

With such a variety of responsibilities, community service is a career that is always evolving and exciting. With the right training, such as a personal support worker course, you’ll be able to quickly find a rewarding career in a wide variety of workplaces, including:

  • Community Legal Centres
  • Mental Health Agencies
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Women’s or Youth Refuges or Crisis Centres
  • Residential Aged Care Services and Community Aged Care Services
  • Juvenile Residential Facilities
  • Alcohol and Drug Services
  • Advocacy Services
  • Aged or Disability Respite Services

The right profile

Community service is a unique career field, in that your demeanor and personal attributes will directly come into play as part of your daily duties. Some of the skills and personal traits that can help you become a successful community service worker include:

  • Exceptional organizational skills
  • An ability to work well under pressure
  • Solid problem-solving skills
  • Significant use of memory
  • Superior ability to multi-task
  • A helpful and positive attitude, even in difficult circumstances
  • Empathy and compassion for clients
  • Good communication skills
  • A desire to contribute to the safety and dignity of clients

Regardless of where your career takes you, you can be sure that community service will provide you with challenging and deeply rewarding work. Through training, including PSW courses, and hands-on experience, you’ll learn about psychology, communications, ethics, diversity, social justice, poverty, addiction, multicultural backgrounds, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, mental health issues, working with families and more. You’ll promote the rights of your clients and encourage them to meet their responsibilities in a way that empowers them. If helping others is in your blood, community service might just be the career you were looking for.

National Academy of Health and Business upcoming start dates

2014-03-27 by Mark Harrington

Here are our upcoming start dates. Feel free to click on any of the links below or call to speak with one of our experienced career counselors for more information on how you can begin training towards your career of choice as well as which funding option best suits your situation (including Government Assistance, to those who qualify; pay as you train funding; EI; Second Career; Private Loans; etc).

Many of our programs also offer afternoon, evening and/or weekend training schedules.

Mississauga campus: 1 888 306 0991

Hamilton campus: 1 888 446 4649

Upcoming Start Dates

(Additional Starts Dates Also Available)

Mississauga Campus Hamilton Campus
Day, Evening and Weekend Classes.
Starts April 28
Day & Afternoon Classes.
Starts April 14
Starts April 28
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Starts April 28
Starts April 21
Starts April 14
Starts April 14
Day & Evening Classes.
Starts April 28(day & evening)
Day & Evening Classes.
Starts April 21
Starts April 28
Starts April 28
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Starts May 5
Day & Evening Classes.
April 28
Day, Afternoon & Evening Classes.
Starts April 28

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