The Medical English course is a provincially-funded class offered through the Project Based Language Training (PBLT) initiative to provide short-term language training to improve the English language skills and CLBPT scores. The intent of the project is to remove the language barrier to participate in achieving recognition of credentials obtained outside Canada or accessing training programs at local colleges.
The course is catered for new immigrants (Permanent Residents) wishing to upgrade their English so they can take college-level courses including building skills such as note taking and doing presentations of their own. It’s an English improvement course focusing on health care topics and employment in the medical field. At the end of this course, some of the courses students could apply for include, Health Care Aide, Medical Office Assistant, and Pharmacy Technician.
In addition to improving their English skills, the students learn about the BC health-care system through field trips, guest speaker presentations and classroom research. During the 10 weeks course, the students are encouraged to utilize our employment support. This enables them to develop skills and integrate in the labour market. Students also gain employment skills through employment counseling, resume and cover letter writing, mock interviews, introductions to soft skills, job search techniques, and volunteering.
While employment is not guaranteed, the program is designed to improve students’ understanding of medical language and the local health care structure, so that they are better equipped to apply for programs and jobs. The course gives newcomers the confidence in their own English abilities – a confidence that they need to thrive and become productive citizens that contribute to the prosperity of BC’s economy and society.
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Haven Hill Retirement Home – Penticton
Haven Hill Retirement Home in Penticton provides complex care to 152 seniors needing support. The tour provided students with an opportunity to become familiar with caring for seniors in a care home setting managed by private company.
Before the visit, the instructor led the students through a lesson on forming questions. The students suggested questions about working as a home care health care aide at Haven Hill.
This was the first time to visit a care home for many of the students. Students were also able to ask questions about work conditions, employment and volunteer opportunities and applying for work with Haven Hill. The centre has an open invitation for volunteers to join their team. Volunteer opportunities are available for a variety of programs, special events and outings into the community.
Penticton Health Centre
The Penticton Health Centre provides a variety of health care services to residents in the South Okanagan, including immunizations for babies and children, diabetes support, and mental health support.
Before the visit, the instructor explained what types of services are delivered in Community Health Centres. The students were eager to learn that the variety of services offered in a centre depends on patient needs and on whether comparable services are available nearby. Centres that offer one type of specialized outpatient care procedure (such as eye surgery) are classified based on that service. Community Health Centres do not have acute care beds, but may provide: basic laboratory and radiology; urgent care; outpatient ambulatory care; community services; long term residential care services; and/or on-site doctors’ offices.
The visit provided students with an opportunity to become familiar with the variety of services available through Interior Health. This was the first visit to the health centre for many students. A number of students were pregnant so they also were able to learn more about support services for new mothers and babies.
Visit to pharmacies – Penticton
There are a number of pharmacies in downtown Penticton. Students went on a scavenger hunt to visit four of these pharmacies.
Students were given questions unique to each pharmacy. They were required to use their spoken English skills to find the answers to these questions.
Students learned about two pharmacies that have distinctive programs. One pharmacy (Remedy Rx) is able to compound prescriptions, which is mixing together individual ingredients to fill a prescription. Another pharmacy (Sunrise Pharmacy) offers the Safe Harbour Harm Reduction program, where people addicted to drugs can pick up safe injection kits to avoid contracting diseases like Hepatitis and the HIV virus.
Mariposa Gardens Care Home – Osoyoos
Mariposa Care Home in Osoyoos provides complex care to seniors needing support. This facility is a Residential Care home offering 24 hour nursing care using the neighbourhood model. It houses 103 single occupancy units. The tour provided students with an opportunity to become familiar with caring for seniors in a private care home setting. The visit also briefly covered the type of accommodation available, amenities, social and recreational opportunities, costs, safety and security features, pet policies and more.
Before the visit, the instructor led the students through a lesson on forming questions. The students suggested questions about working as a home care health care aide at Mariposa Gardens. Students were also able to ask questions about work conditions, employment opportunities and applying for work with Mariposa Gardens.
Sunnybank Care Home – Oliver Sunnybank Care Home in Oliver provides complex care to seniors needing support. This facility is one-storey with 51 single rooms with ensuite washrooms. There are four wings, one of which is a 13 bed dementia secure unit. The tour provided students with an opportunity to become familiar with caring for seniors in a care home setting managed by Interior Health.
Before the visit, the instructor led the students through a lesson on forming questions. The students suggested questions about working as a home care health care aide at Sunnybank. This was the first time to visit a care home for many of the students. Students were also able to ask questions about work conditions, employment opportunities and applying for work with Sunnybank.
Penticton Regional Hospital
The Penticton Regional Hospital provides core medical and surgical specialty services to patients in the South Okanagan. There are numerous departments, which provide care in outpatient clinics, diagnostic, trauma and acute services, and 24-hour emergency and trauma services.
The tour provided students with an opportunity to become familiar with the variety of departments and services available at the Penticton hospital. This was the first visit to the hospital for many students.
In class we learned the names for specialists and their areas of specialization. By visiting the hospital we connected classroom ‘theory’ with reality. As well, the tour leader, Shelley Smillie talked about opportunities for work and volunteering at the hospital. Students were able to put their lessons on forming questions into practice by asking Shelley questions about the hospital.
One of the places we visited was Westview Place, the residential care home connected to the hospital. This was the first time for students to visit a care home for seniors needing complex care support. Students saw residents’ rooms, dining room and living areas.
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Tony Ail, Recreation Manager& Volunteer Coordinator at Haven Hill Retirement Centre
Tony is the Recreation Therapist Manager at the Haven Hill Retirement Centre. The Centre is a complex care facility and home to 152 residents, aged from 55 to 104 years. Recreational therapists are one of many members in the health care team at Haven Hill. The therapy focuses on improving the functioning, independence and well being of clients through recreational activities, like music, aerobics, aromatherapy, etc.
The instructor asked Tony to come into class to talk about recreational therapy and being a volunteer at the Haven Hill Retirement Center. Many of the students have expressed an interest in caring for and helping seniors. The course instructor sensed it was important that the students have experiences developing their English communication skills with seniors, particularly seniors with health conditions (dementia, stroke, etc.) that the students may encounter working as a health care aide.
The students prepared questions about volunteering, and working with seniors a few days before Tony’s presentation (writing skills). For background they watched a video about recreation therapy prior to working on the questions (listening skills).
During the presentation, students took notes on the presentation (listening and writing skills). After the presentation they asked their questions (oral communication skills)
Students benefit from this presentation by learning about the steps for volunteering required by many non-profit organizations. They are learning that volunteering is a valuable way to gain Canadian work experience for their resume. Students also learn about the benefits of recreation therapy, a lesser-known profession in the health care field.
Medical Office Assistant
Yuki, is a recent immigrant to Canada from Japan. She was a Medical Office Assistant (MOA) in Japan and retrained in Canada by taking the college course in Penticton. She is currently working as a MOA. Studying and working in English was a challenge she overcame, as her mother tongue is Japanese.
Before Yuki’s visit, the instructor led the students through a lesson on forming questions. The students suggested questions about working and training in a medical field with English as a Second Language (ESL).
During the presentation students took notes on the presentation. They also asked their questions during the presentation. Students asked questions about taking a college level course with ESL. Students empathized with Yuki’s experiences and gained confidence in their own English skills hearing a life story similar to their own.
HR Manager – Nurse Next Door
Janet Stein is the Human Resources Manager at Nurse Next Door, a private company that provides health care for seniors in their home. Nurse Next Door has a unique approach to senior home care. Each client is assigned their own carefully screened caregiver based on their needs and interests. They employ Health Care Aides and practical and registered nurses to care for seniors wanting to stay in their homes. They serve the communities in Penticton, Summerland, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos, and Princeton. They provide home health care service for a few hours a day or around-the-clock and pair up patients with suitable caregivers who are matched based on skill-set and interests.
Before Janet’s visit, the instructor led the students through a lesson on forming questions. The students suggested questions about working as a home care health care aide. During the presentation students took notes on the presentation. They also asked their questions during the presentation. Students learned about the option of home health care support for seniors, and others needing support in their homes.
Retired HR Manager with Parks Canada
Mike is a volunteer with SOICS who has done literally 1000s of employment interviews. He likes to share his knowledge and experience of the Canadian employment process (applying for a job with resume and cover letter, and taking part in a job interview) with clients to help them understand how to have a successful job interview.
Before the interview, students worked on their own personal responses to typical job interview questions, like “Tell me about yourself”, and “Describe your personal strengths and weaknesses”. Students prepared written responses and after reviewing feedback, practiced their responses in a mock interview with the instructor.
When Mike visited the class, he spoke about how to make a resume and application stand out from others. Students took part in a mock interview, where Mike was one of the interviewers. He provided students with personal feedback on how to improve for a real job interview.
Career Advisor at Sprott Shaw College
Darla Lambert came into the Oliver class to talk about the course requirements for the Health Care Aide (HCA) and Pharmacy Assistant programs at Sprott Shaw College. She shared how they design career focused college programs around the student, with monthly start dates, flexible scheduling, and career placement assistance. The college offers small classes that encourage communication and interaction between students and instructors. Located in Penticton, they the HCA satellite class is offered in conjunction with Mariposa Gardens in Osoyoos.
Before Darla’s visit, the instructor led the students through a lesson on forming questions. The students suggested questions about the process for applying to study at the college, and what courses they would take through the program. Students learned about requirements for taking college courses at Sprott Shaw College, in particular the HCA and Pharmacy Assistant programs.
Health Care Aide from Mariposa Gardens Retirement Centre
Ron is a Health Care Aide with Mariposa Gardens Retirement Centre in Osoyoos, BC. He is also a recent immigrant to Canada, who went through the Health Care Assistant program through the local college program.
The instructor asked Ron to come into our class to talk about his experiences working as a care aide and any challenges he faced going through the college program, particularly when English is not his first language. Many of the students had expressed an interest in taking the Health Care Assistant program through Sprott Shaw College. I thought it was important for the students to hear first hand the challenges of the program, and the connection between the required English levels and success in the program.
Before Ron’s presentation, the instructor led the students through a lesson on forming questions. The students suggested questions about working and training as a care aide (speaking skills). For background we read portions of a textbook on being a care aide before developing the questions (reading skills).
During the presentation students took notes on the presentation (listening and writing skills). They also asked their questions (oral communication skills) during the presentation.
The students benefitted from this presentation by learning about English requirements for and challenges of studying at the college level in British Columbia. Ron’s presentation brought an insight into the need for a care aide to possess a caring and compassionate personality. He spoke touchingly about working with people dealing with the many of the challenges we face at the end of our lives
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My name is Anupreet Grewal. My home country is India and I have been here in Canada for three years. When I came here first, I knew English but I didn’t have the confidence to speak English but attending the SOICS language classes helped me to gain my confidence.
Now I am taking the Medical English course at SOICS and after completing this program it will help me enter into the medical field. In the future I want to become a medical office assistant or a care aide worker. I can practice my writing, speaking, reading of English and also I am gaining my confidence day by day.
This class offers us to visits some places like the Health Unit, Haven Hill Retirement Centre and the Penticton Hospital. It was a good opportunity for me to see how seniors live at the retirement centre and what kinds of services are provided by the hospital and the health unit.
One more important thing, these classes are free of cost and the additional SOICS services for immigrants are helpful to plan a future.
My name is Cindy Hernandez. I’m from El Salvador and have been living in Oliver BC for four years.
I’m a student in the course called Medical English provided by SOICS. I am taking this course because I am interested in the medical field, but my English before is not good enough to take any training at the College or have better job because is hard to communicate. I hope after this course to have a good English level and then I can complete my goal.
My name is Manjot Dhaliwal and I came to Canada after I got married. It was my dream from childhood to live in Canada. There are many challenges in India. I knew that Canada was a good place for employment and my future. We face so many challenges when we come to a new country. Our language is different. The system is totally different. We have to upgrade our studies before we apply for jobs.
I think the main problem is language. It’s important to be fluent. Employers want us to be good in English. I studies English when was becoming a nurse in India but was not comfortable speaking English. That’s where the Medical English Course helped me. The class really helped me. On the first day, I was not so confident. I was unable to speak a single sentence. Now, look at me! I am having whole conversations. Sometimes some words are stuck, but that’s okay.
The main thing is the challenges, and how you cope with them and how you improve yourself. I am now employed in the medical field and have more confidence in doing my job.
My name is Maricel Koo. I live in Penticton and came from the Philippines. I am taking the Medical English Course so it will help me to prepare if I am going to take a course in university like the Health Care Aide or Pharmacy Technician programs.
This class helped me to speak fluently in English. I learned a lot from this class, to be brave and to speak English even if it is not my native language. Before I was shy to talk to English speakers but now I have learned to speak with confidence.
My name is Pradeep Chohan and I live in Osoyoos. I came to Medical English class to learn about the medical field and improve my English. I want to become ready to start a career in Canada. In the course I also went to fieldtrips to senior centre and health unit. I learn how to do presentation. In the course there were guest speakers also shared information on many things. I now have more idea about the medical field and will continue to learn and better my English.
My name is Sana Bano and I am from New Delhi. I moved from India to Canada in year 2014 so I have been in Canada for one year and four months. I lived in Whistler for four months with my family. It is beautiful city. I was looking for a job there but I don’t get job because my English is so weak. Then we moved from Whistler to Prince George and lived there for nine months. I was also looking for a job there but I don’t get job because of my weak English but I feel that there was a lack of jobs. There is university that’s why people living in Prince George.
Then we moved to Penticton so I have been here for two and half months. It is beautiful city. I am taking English class in the morning and Medical English class in afternoon at SOICS. Now I am improving my English very well and gaining knowledge about medical health issues and I am making new friends.
I visited Penticton Regional Hospital, the Health Unit and Haven Hill Retirement Centre with my classmates. It was a good field trip. I fill a form for volunteer in Haven Hill Retirement Center. I met a medical office assistant, an interior health nurse, a care manager and an HR manager. They talked about their education and work experience. In two and half months, I learned lots of things just because of SOICS. I would like to thank to SOICS staff.
My name is Xiu Zhang. I am from China. I am taking the Medical English Course so I can have more knowledge about medical topics and to improve my English level.
During the class we went to different places, such as the hospital, the health center and Haven Hill Care Home. These are all good experiences for me. The Medical English Course gave me more confidence so I can learn to be an LPN in the future; not just to make money but because I like to help people who need medical help. Even though I know it will be very hard for me to learn to be an LPN, I think I can do it.
The second reason I like the course is because the teacher is very kind and friendly. In the class you have no stress. I can just enjoy the things the teacher teaches me. It’s a very nice way to learn like this. I love this course.
My name is Rajwant Rahal and I am from Keremeos. I want to take the HCA course and have a career in Canada. I joined Medical English course to improve my CLB course. I met new people in the course and passed my CLB with the marks that will give me a chance to get in the HCA course.
All of SOICS’ services are free for eligible immigrants. For more information on becoming a SOICS client, please visit Getting Started at SOICS. To make an appointment, please call or visit one of our offices:
508 Main Street
Penticton, British Columbia
6239 Main Street
Oliver, British Columbia