by Gloria Welton
PEI Seniors Homes includes Garden Home and Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown, and Lady Slipper Villa in O’Leary. There are more than 350 staff at the three locations.
“The population is getting older, and there is an increasing demand for services,” says Geoff MacLean, Human Resource Manager. “I can’t think of any long-term care home that is not hiring right now. A career in long term care is a safe bet.”
Geoff says he has tremendously high admiration for people who work in healthcare. “My mom is in a nursing home, I work in a nursing home in administration, and my wife is a nurse, so I see the struggles, challenges, and rewards from many different angles.
“We work hard to have the number of staff that we need to create that work/life balance we strive for every day, and to offer the flexibility everyone needs. We realize that staff need leave time for sickness and other life situations, and they need time off to regroup and recharge, so we are always looking for ways to fill the gaps and address staffing needs.”
Geoff says retention is important in all departments. “We have support in place to help people to get oriented in their role, to be supported along the way, and to work on skill development.”
About the staff
Some staff members have been with them for the long-term, and 60 to 70 percent of their new hires are newcomers to PEI.
“We couldn’t be happier with the commitment and loyalty of our staff, and there are opportunities to advance within their work,” says Geoff. “I have been in my position for a little less than a year and I must say this is a great place to work.
“In most cases, the immigrants we hire come from large families, so they are accustomed to caring for seniors from their own family experiences. They come with compassion, willingness to learn, and work hard to make a difference in our residents’ lives.
“In some cases, our new hires graduated in another country or province and have come here to find work. On average they stay with us for about two years, so we must be mindful of continuing to reach out and look for ideas to attract people to this field of work.”
Staff work in administration, nursing, maintenance, dietary, recreation, and environmental services such as laundry and housekeeping.
“We hire continuously in all departments. Resident Care Workers (RCWs) are in high demand as well as every position in nursing from LPN to RN.
“We regularly offer a Geriatric Worker (GA) program, which is geared to people who may not have previous experience. The training gives them a good start in the field.
“We introduced a new job called Resident Attendant (RA) which is for people with very little or no experience in this field. We are continuously looking for new hires for this position, which can lead to the GA and the RCW program. We like to graduate our RAs into the GA program because it is a natural progression.”
Staff are needed to cover three shifts per day covering the hours of 7am to 3pm, 3pm to 11pm, or overnight (11pm-7am). “Some people prefer shift work, but again we have to be mindful of a balance of shifts.” Geoff says they try to work around the schedules of staff who want to return to school to help them make it happen.
Students are hired during the summer and throughout the year. “Summer employment and casual work throughout the school year is a way for students to explore this field or gain experience.”
Why work here?
“The atmosphere is a drawing card. Once people start working here, they realize that it is a good place to work. The staff are genuine, caring, and want to help each other and the residents. They go to great lengths to make sure the residents feel at home.”
Partnerships that work
They look to partner with organizations and post-secondary institutions to bring new staff into the homes. They also work with PEI immigration systems to bring nursing staff into the province and offer great work experiences.
“We worked closely with the Department of Health and Wellness when COVID-19 outbreaks started in long term care homes. They offered staff to work in our facilities for the short-term and that was a huge help. We were able to retain some of those staff by bringing them into casual positions, and we attracted some summer students as well.
Job Fair Days
Open House Job Fair Days are being planned at the homes. “With COVID-19 operational plans very much in place, we hope to open our doors to people interested in coming in and looking at the careers we offer. We will start with promoting our non-nursing jobs first, and then promote nursing as well.”
With designated hours on Saturday afternoons, people can come in and become more familiar with the facilities and the type of work offered. There will be a guided tour and some on-the-spot interviews.
How to apply
To inquire about the Open House Job Fair Days and for more information about working with PEI Seniors Homes, email Geoff MacLean at email@example.com
Open positions are posted on Indeed, WorkPEI, and Job Bank websites.