Reniel Lugo: How a PACC PAB Grad Launched a New Career as a Patient Attendant Mid-Pandemic

by Barbara Dalton Health Teacher, PACC

Reniel Lugo is a graduate of the Pearson Adult and Career Centre (PACC) from the May 2018 cohort of the Préposé aux Bénéficiares (PAB) program. He immigrated to Montréal from Cuba in 2009 where he worked as a pharmacist at a Biotechnology Centre for five years and then in a similar company in China for two years.

PACC

Lugo struggled with several issues including his health and was unable to complete his pharmaceutical equivalency at a Canadian university. Aware of the desperate need for patient attendants and knowing that he would be guaranteed a job, he chose the PAB program.

Reniel was a hardworking and motivated student. I had the pleasure of being his stage teacher on his last competency and was impressed with his work ethic, professionalism, and commitment to excellent patient care. After an initial period of floating from unit to unit, I wasn’t surprised that he was soon employed at a local hospital in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was prepared to take on the challenge and put the skills and knowledge he acquired in the 8-month program into practice.

Since he graduated, Reniel has kept me posted on his work activities. He professes his training gave him all the necessary tools to survive as a newbie, despite the significant differences between the classroom and reality.

He quickly learnt that more senior PAB’s had different ways of doing things. Instead of judging them, he embraced the good points but always stuck to the fundamental principles that were taught. One of the important aspects of the training program is to instill behaviours that are expected in the healthcare field. Reniel agrees that punctuality, comradery, and common sense are key factors in teamwork that ensure success.

Although Spanish is his first language, his English is impeccable and he has perfected his French. His advice for new students is to embrace the French language as it does open more doors for job opportunities.

His job in the ICU now entails evening shifts after doing predominantly days for a while. He is sometimes floating, which means he is sent to less familiar units to assist when the regular PAB is unavailable. He is responsible for stocking all rooms with the materials the nurses need and he helps the nurses wash and turn the patients, and empties the urinary bags. Other tasks include changing linen hampers, transferring patients to other floors with the nurse and cleaning the rooms in preparation for new admissions. He also participates in the training of new PAB’s.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Reniel has found the most challenging is the psychological stress of knowing that, despite protocols and protective equipment, there is always the chance that he – or any one of his colleagues – could become sick. So far, so good!

Congratulations, Reniel on your success and thank you for sharing your story with the rest of the Pearson community.

Allan Levine

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