Doctor recruitment is a community responsibility – so says the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce which has made it their mandate to roll up their sleeves and help.
The chamber has established a task force to act on doctor recruitment.
“It’s one of the most important issues in our region, and the chamber is not just going to talk about it,” says chamber president Angela Greene.
The chamber’s taskforce chairwoman, Kerry Muise, is consulting with many parties and coming up with an action plan.
“Many people in this area have expertise in doctor recruitment and we are tapping into their experience,” she says.
The chamber has already talked with Shirley Watson-Poole, who was part of the team to successfully recruit more than 110 physicians prior to her retirement from NSHA.
“She is a wealth of knowledge,” says Muise.
Doctors Nova Scotia is also working with the chamber as a partner. The chamber says Doctors NS has a great deal of knowledge about programs, incentives, and the pulse of the medical community.
Recruiting is “high touch and low tech,” says director Kevin Chapman. “It’s about linking people and their needs with a community that fits them.”
The task force is also consulting with medical staff and has a non-voting seat on the Municipal Physician Recruitment Committee. It has also interacted with the public on one occasion using a “Think Tank” approach, which was held at the Tusket Falls Brewery in March. Another Think Tank will be planned for the near future.
“We have had several prominent business people come forward to assist us as well,” says Muise, adding things look promising.
Rick Allwright, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce says, “the business community understands that you need a full compliment of health-care professionals to attract new businesses and people.”
The chamber says it believes Yarmouth, as a region, has much to offer in the way of lifestyle and amenities, as well as great culture at our hospital.
“We have several highly respected physicians and one of the best ways to recruit is by having physicians recruiting new physicians,” Allwright says.
The task force is also looking at some of the challenges the region faces such as housing shortages and transportation. It feels with the right approach these things can be overcome.
Young medical practitioners are looking for “work-life balance” and don’t want a hectic pace, the task force says, adding they want to be able to raise children in a safe, healthy environment, which this area has “in spades.”
There is also clinic space available for incoming physicians.
Muise says the province has two recruiters “working on our behalf, but the chamber believes it’s important to take control of our own communities’ future and make an effort to enhance their work.”
“The important thing is to be positive and sell the benefits of our amazing community,” she says.