Starting Over and Making a Difference in Canada

Portrait shot of Charlton Mapayi, VIU alum, in his scrubs

July 3, 2021 - 6:30pm

Alumnus Charlton Mapayi's story

Coming to Canada in his mid-40s from Harare, Zimbabwe, where he worked in sales and marketing, Charlton Mapayi found himself looking for a new career after failing to find work in this field. Applying for position after position to no avail, he decided to take temporary work as a janitor, in retail sales and as a package handler. Mapayi found out about Vancouver Island University’s Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (MDRT) certificate program while searching for a new career.

“My work experiences helped me learn the new work environment in Canada and reflect on what I felt would be suitable for me going forward,” he remembers. “The pandemic made me realize I wanted to help at this critical time. I saw the need and my ability to make a difference. I felt the urge to join the health-care industry to serve and contribute my transferable and new skills in a rewarding, fulfilling and impactful career that I can retire in. The MDRT program was just right – at my age, I was not prepared to start a longer program with a family to look after as well.”

During the 5.5-month-long program, students complete an online theory section, then go into the hospital for 13 weeks to develop their clinical skills and complete a practicum assignment.

“Because we had done the theory portion online, meeting physically and learning through doing felt great to get the hands-on practice of the skills and actual working environment,” says Mapayi. “Our instructor Janette was empowering and treated us not just as students but as her future colleagues, boosting our confidence and critical thinking skills.”

Mapayi went to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria for his three-and-a-half-month practicum, requiring him to leave his family in Nanaimo and rent a place. When he finished in February 2021, he was offered a casual job at RJH at first before securing a full-time job as a Medical Device Reprocessing Technician at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Mapayi is grateful for the support he received while taking VIU’s MDRT program, which allowed him to be successful.

“The program has helped build and shape my character, flexibility, perseverance and resilience. To begin with, the pre-requisites to get into the program were different from my background and I had to be focused and determined to achieve them. I had a lot of support and advice from the MDRT admission staff – Deirdre, Alana and team – to ensure I had the right requirements submitted on time. After not having been in school for a while, the fact that the theory portion was online heightened my anxieties. I had to adapt in a short time thanks to Nicole, who kept me engaged and covered content that I still refer to.”

Mapayi is looking forward to learning and adapting to his new career.

“I am willing to continually upgrade, learn new skills and diversify in ways relevant to developing and remaining up to date within the system and becoming certified eventually,” he adds. 

Charlton Mapayi posing in his scrubs - VIU Medical Device Reprocessing Technician program alum

Charlton Mapayi, Medical Device Reprocessing Technician program graduate

"The program has helped build and shape my character, flexibility, perseverance and resilience."

The Medical Device Reprocessing Technician program provides the knowledge and training needed to enter careers in this field. Students learn about decontamination, sterilization, storage and distribution of equipment in a medical device reprocessing area. Practicum placements are currently hosted at Victoria General Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

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Tags: International | Medical Device Reprocessing Technician | Our Alumni