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Bursary Recipients Reflect on their BCCPA 2018 Conference Experience

July 30, 2018
UBC MHLP BCCPA Bursary Conference

Two UBC students — one from the MEL and one from the MHLP degree — were selected as recipients of the BCCPA student bursary program. Read their reflections and thoughts on attending the 41st Annual Conference in Whistler from May 27-29.

The British Columbia Care Provider’s Association (BCCPA) provided the opportunity for students to attend the BCCPA Annual Conference all expenses paid. Two students, one from MEL and one from MHLP, were selected to have the opportunity to hear from high-profile speakers and experts, network with industry leaders and gain insight into best practices and new models of care and technology in the sector. They explored how a culture of innovation and person-centered care can improve quality of services, access to services and health outcomes for seniors.

Below the students outline what they learned from the experience and their thoughts on attracting more students to the sector.

Tomy Dibanda, Master Of Engineering Leadership In High Performance Buildings

What will do with your learnings from the conference?
Following BCCPA Board President Karen Baillie’s advice, my first action after the conference was to register with the Canadian College of Health Leaders to get a professional certification, which is the most valuable and visible way to demonstrate the level of knowledge and experience I have achieved.

Have you experienced a change in thought, ideology or attitude after attending the conference?
I always thought that seniors care was a closed field where only nurses and medical professionals can find opportunities. I was wrong. Huge was my surprise to realize how many engineering firms are actively looking for talent there. During the conference, I networked with Erica Brabon, Director of Energy & Sustainability at Black & McDonald, who is doing amazing work in high-performance buildings.

How can we attract more students to seniors’ care?
During the keynote, St. Elizabeth CEO Shirlee Sharkey mentioned the senior population is growing rapidly. This information should be shared with the youth, so they can envision the possibilities in this sector. There was a lot of great innovation presented during the conference, and by showing that it is as “cool” to work in this industry as it is in another high-tech company, you will surely attract them. Communication is the key.

Laura Frisby, Master Of Health Leadership And Policy In Seniors Care

What will do with your learnings from the conference?
I better understand how Bill 16 will affect the future of assisted living. It was great to hear about it straight from the source. I work in assisted living so that is directly applicable to me.

I also enjoyed networking with the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. and will be having a meeting with two people who work there in July to follow up and hear more about what they do and discuss what skillset is needed to work there.

I have been able to brief my Master of Health Leadership and Policy in Seniors Care class on the topics covered and provided resources on the electronic pill crushers seen at Safety Den to my employer. I really believe that my program is most applicable to this conference as we have since had an administrator’s meeting with the class and met with some administrators who were also at the conference — it’s directly related to what we are studying. Perhaps more students from my program can attend in the future.

Have you experienced a change in thought, ideology or attitude after attending the conference?
My thoughts and understanding of the work of other organizations like the Alzheimer’s Society has changed and I have a deeper understanding of the resources available for people diagnosed with dementia. I have since visited Elim Village’s campus of care and seen how its “culture” reflects the ideal culture of care that was discussed at the Policy Café.

How can we attract more students to seniors’ care?
Educate students on what seniors are dealing with and what dementia and memory care entail. I think people are afraid of the unknown — it’s not scary once you know more about it.

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