​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What to expect — Simulation​ Lab Assessment (SLA) — Health Care Assistants (HCA)


  • Snacks and a water bottle for breaks
  • Face mask
  • One form of non-expired, government-issued, photo- and signature-bearing ID 
  • Arrive dressed in scrubs

Note: If one piece of ID does not have a name, photo and signature, present two pieces of non-expired, government-issued ID that together demonstrate all three requirements.

Acceptable forms of primary ID include:

  • driver's license
  • government-issued ID
  • government-issued work ID
  • military ID
  • NEXUS card
  • Passport
  • permanent resident visa or green card
  • province health card (if the photo is included)

Acceptable forms of secondary ID include:

  • province or state health card
  • social security card (US)
  • study permit (must be original and non-expired)

Bring as few personal belongings as possible; all items are placed in a locker for the duration of the SLA.


SLA equipment includes:

  • Wheelchair
  • Transfer belt
  • Walker/cane
  • Bedpan
  • Commode/toilet
  • Meal tray and feeding implements; water
  • Bedrails and brakes 
  • Call bell
  • Linen cart

Note: Water needed for patient purposes is provided in a basin or pitcher. Each room has hand sanitizer and gloves.

The HCA Simulation Lab Assessment (SLA) allows for showing knowledge and skills in simulated patient encounters.

  • Moves through five stations of unfolding case scenarios.
  • Three stations involve a personal encounter with a patient (trained actor).
  • Two stations involve a mannequin.
  • 12 minutes to complete your work at each station.
  • Expect to attend the simulation lab for approximately two hours to complete the assessment.

Do I need to complete the HCA SLA? 

NCAS runs the SLA in BC and Nova Scotia. 

Completing the HCA SLA is required if BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry refers you.   

If you apply to the IEN pathway, you will complete the HCA SLA as part of your competency assessment. 

** If you are already registered as an HCA with the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry, notify NCAS while scheduling, as some HCAs can be exempted from taking the SLA.

Check out the RN/LPN SLA page to learn more about this part of the triple-track assessment and what to expect from the HCA SLA. 


The HCA SLA occurs at the NCAS Assessment Centre, located within the Nursing Simulation Centre at Langara College in Vancouver, BC, at 100 West 49th Avenue.  

What Happens During the SLA​


The Simulation Lab Assessment aims to provide you an opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a series of simulated patient encounters. You will visit five stations in the simulation lab and take on the role of a health care assistant. Each station includes a specific assessment or treatment to be performed allowing you to demonstrate your skills as an HCA. The rooms may look like an acute or chronic care facility or represent a community care setting like a community clinic or someone's apartment or home. 

At the start of each station, you will receive a chart with a brief written statement introducing the presenting clinical problem stating the task you will need to perform. The chart also includes a variety of supporting documents to assist in the planning of care. You will be given two minutes to review the chart. You should act in each scenario as you would in a real-life practice setting.  

When you walk into the assessment room, you will find the following:

  • Standardized patient (a live actor) or a mannequin.
  • An assessor who will evaluate your performance.
  • Paper, pencil, and calculator.​ 
  • Clock.​
  • Station props based on the context of the setting.  For example, you may see a care plan, wheelchair, walker, bedding etc.

A camera technician will be recording the assessment from a nearby observation area. Additional people may be present in the observation room; this is solely for training purposes and their presence has no impact on your scoring.  

You will also notice cameras in the assessment room that will record your performance. The first thing the assessor will have you do is face one of the cameras, and state your name and NCAS ID. 

Once you enter the room, you will have two minutes to read the chart. You may make notes (paper provided). The assessor will indicate when you may begin the simulation. Each of the five simulations are 10 minutes in length, for a total of 12 minutes at each station. The assessor will notify you when your time is up. If you have completed your nursing practice before the time is up, review the chart to make sure you have not missed anything. When you have finished your assessment, you will be asked to leave the room. You will be met outside by NCAS staff and asked to take a seat outside the next assessment room.