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Health care aide alumna finds acceptance and passion where she least expects it

September 26, 2019

No one expected Kaycee McNeil to graduate from high school, let alone college. But Kaycee hasn’t always taken the easy way through life which led to her true calling.

“Have you ever met someone who is just doing exactly what they were meant to be doing?”

Kaycee is talking about her mentor, however the same sentiment could easily be shared about herself. Kaycee didn’t have any career aspirations after dropping out of high school, until she was trick-or-treating at a personal care home with her son a few years ago. A resident in a wheelchair rolled up to Kaycee and started talking to her as if she knew Kaycee personally. That was when Kaycee, who had since completed her high school diploma and was taking a few part time health unit clerk courses, decided she wanted to get into patient care and sought out the health care aide (HCA) program at Red River College.

“I didn’t know where I fit in to life, in a career sense, until I found this,” says Kaycee.

Kaycee was adamant she would never work in senior care when she became an HCA because she thought she would never be accepted. With a few open piercings and tattoos peeking out of the edges of her uniform, Kaycee embodies a less old-fashioned standard of beauty and thought seniors would judge her for her appearance. Slowly, after watching other HCA’s have a positive impact on their client’s lives, she was convinced that working in senior home care was a good fit for her. As it turns out, Kaycee’s clients don’t mind her look at all because the personal attention she pays to each client speaks more about her character than her look does.

“Sometimes you’ll hear clients talking to their families as you’re leaving saying, that’s my favourite one,” Kaycee says after recounting how many cups of tea she’s had in the last week with clients. While some patients need physical assistance with getting dressed, bathing, and housekeeping, other patients need emotional care given through every day conversations and the occasional hug.

An HCA doesn’t have an easy job, it requires physical, and emotional resilience, however, according to Kaycee, if you are a compassionate person and passionate about helping others, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

“It is hard work, but the reward and the payback just completely change everything… None of that matters just because of how rewarded you feel after you’re done your shift.”

The Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority that serves the communities of Beausejour, Lac du Bonnet, Pinawa, Pine Falls, Oakbank, Whitemouth, Selkirk, Gimli, Arborg, Ashern, Eriksdale, Fisher Branch, Lundar, St Laurent, Stonewall and Teulon    is currently hiring many health care aides to work in homecare and in personal care homes. If you are passionate about helping others like Kaycee is, apply to the Red River College Interlake and Peguis-Fisher River Campus health care aide program starting February 3, 2020 and be work ready by July.