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Ontario Launches Program to Increase Hands-On Training Opportunities for More PSWs and Nurses

Today, the Ontario government announced a $73 million investment over three years to train and provide clinical placements for over 16,000 personal support worker (PSW) and nursing students as part of the government’s plan to recruit and retain tens of thousands of long-term care staff. The new program, Preceptor Resource and Education Program for Long-Term Care, will provide more opportunities for career development within long-term care and ensure PSW and nursing students receive critical hands-on experience to better serve the needs of residents.

“Our government has a plan to fix long-term care and a key part of that plan is improving staffing and care,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Long-Term Care. “This program will support hands-on, clinical training for thousands of PSW and nursing students across Ontario so they can deliver the high-quality care residents need and deserve.”

Clinical placements are a key part of nursing and PSW education and provide students with critical hands-on experience under the supervision of experts or existing long-term care staff, also known as preceptors. Positive clinical placement experience supports recruitment, with many students taking jobs where they complete their placements. At the same time, providing existing long-term care staff with more responsibilities and opportunities to oversee students helps with staff retention by creating more opportunity for career development and growth.

As part of this initiative, the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation (Ontario CLRI), a government-funded organization that supports education and training for the long-term care sector, will: Develop customized clinical training modules for preceptors specific to long-term care Reimburse homes for the time nursing and PSW staff spend in preceptor training and in supervising students, so they may backfill those positions Engage with school boards, colleges and universities to create partnerships with long-term care homes to increase the number of placements available in long-term care homes.

“We are thrilled to lead this project and support successful student clinical placements in long-term care,” said Tina Mah, PhD, Executive Director and Executive Lead of Ontario CLRI at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. “This project not only supports students in gaining much-needed skills and experience in working with older adults but encourages them to pursue meaningful careers in the long-term care sector.”

The government has a plan to fix long-term care and to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care and quality of life they need and deserve both now and in the future. The plan is built on three pillars: staffing and care; accountability, enforcement, and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors.

This investment supports that plan and the government’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan, which was launched in December 2020 and sets out actions that will educate, train and help recruit tens of thousands of new health care staff through partnerships with labour partners, long-term care homes, and education and training providers, so that homes can provide an average of four hours of direct care per day to residents.

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