Sunday, July 14, 2024

PCA grad uses career to support community health, well-being

Jason Cooke believes to bring about real change; one must move towards it.

Jason’s life took the career trajectory as a quest to do something meaningful within his community, and the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program at College of the North Atlantic (CNA) was just the perfect fit.

“Choosing CNA has transformed my life beyond expectations,” he said. “Change was very difficult at first; however, with the support of my peers and teachers, it was all worth it and helped me get one step closer to an amazing career.”

Reflecting on his academic journey, he says that he chose a dream career path.

“I had several interests when I was looking for a career option and dabbled all over the place,” he said. “Learning from my past experiences, I wanted to do something I enjoyed truly and a career as a Personal Care Attendant just felt right.”

Supportive community

The combination of classroom and experiential learning prepared Cooke to succeed. His favourite part about CNA was the family environment, the supportive peers and instructors.

“It took a lot of hard work, but to walk into this program as a mature student and walk out of it with learning so many new things has been a fantastic experience,” he said. “I have finally found my calling and something that I absolutely love.”

Jason says he looks back at his time at CNA fondly.

“Classes are small, so you become a family – it encouraged us to interact with each other more, and having that closeness with everyone is great, and something I will miss the most.”

Hands-on experience  

According to Jason, a PCA’s job is a very hands-on career, and it has provided him with the opportunity to meet different people, and most importantly, redefine himself.

“The most challenging part for me was to learn and familiarize myself to the protocols of a protective care unit (a unit with patients, who do not have any memory due to mental health or dementia) and how to find the right resolutions, where no one gets hurt.”

He says personal care workers take pride that their work helps people live healthy lives. This, in turn, plays an important role in promoting a healthy well-being within the community.

“My goal is to provide exceptional health services to those in need,” he said. “The program at CNA has provided me with comprehensive exposure to the core areas of personal care services with hands-on experience, which will play an instrumental role in my career.”

He has a little advice for students considering a career in PCA.

“Don’t think about it too much – just go for it. Figure out what you want to do and walk through those doors because that’s where it all starts.”

He is currently working as a permanent staff member in Central Health.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “Attending CNA was an integral part in helping me find my vocation.”

To know more about CNA’s PCA program and others, visit:

By Ryanne McIsaac




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Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.


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