Cindy Lidster – Atlantic College of Applied Health Sciences (ACAHS)
Meet Cindy Lidster, the Founder & President of the Atlantic College of Applied Health Sciences (ACAHS).
ACAHS offers online distance-based Personal Support Worker (PSW) programs to people looking to become certified health care providers. Programs have been developed to capture all mandatory courses across the country, making certification applicable within all provinces (with the exception of Quebec).
A thorough curriculum and practicum provide PSWs with the knowledge and tools to work on the “front lines” under the supervision of LPNs and/or RNs and help alleviate staffing and financial shortages within the Canadian health care system.
“PSWs are the future of nursing,” said Cindy, who initially set out to create the program to better Canada’s health care system after practicing as a nurse for years.
Cindy presented her business model to Planet Hatch in early 2019 in a bid for funding. After her proposal was finished, Director Adam Peabody walked her out and said, “You’re a rockstar,” something that would stay with her for years to come.
“Anytime that I’ve had doubt or struggled, I just remember what Adam told me. And that keeps me going.”
Planet Hatch approved the loan, and ACAHS was able to offer the program to a group of beta students in August of 2019.
Today, the program only continues to grow, despite a global pandemic. In fact, ACAHS has found success throughout COVID-19 as an online program and has recently introduced a third course.
“It’s been a silver lining for us, not only for people to accept online learning, but also for government funding.”
Pre-and-post-pandemic, Cindy serves as a great resource for the local entrepreneur community. She has now outgrown her Planet Hatch office and expanded into a larger space in Knowledge Park.
Cindy continues to partner with Planet Hatch with the Planet Hatch bursary which offers a free personal support worker education through ACAHS. The application deadline is March 31st.
“Planet Hatch – I can’t say enough. They’ve supported me financially and information-wise. They’re caring, supportive, and great cheerleaders.”