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SCHR hosts session on community involvement in recruitment

Sun Country Health Region (SCHR) hosted representatives from the Region’s rural and urban communities at an information session on physician recruitment and retention in mid April.

Representatives from saskdocs, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, the University of  Saskatchewan College of Medicine, and the Labor Market Development Department of the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy explained their roles in the recruitment of doctors for SCHR.

“We believe this information session will help give communities a better idea how we can work together on the settlement/retention part of recruitment,” says Don Ehman, Vice President Human Resources and Recruitment.

“Retention is important for all areas of our staff recruitment process but particularly so in recruiting doctors because they are in demand all over the continent,” he says.

“Doctors have the most flexibility to move anywhere. We have to work hard to convince them to come here to practice.” SCHR has recruited over two dozen doctors in recent years, many of whom stayed only a short time.

“The advice from these provincial agencies, for us and for the local communities, is to concentrate on settling the doctors and their families if we want to retain them for a longer time period. Our friendly communities are key to that settlement process.”

Brenda Taylor of saskdocs told the group that exit surveys show 48 per cent of doctors cite family reasons as the primary motivation for leaving the province over the past five years. The workload, on-call requirements at hospital emergency departments, weather and lack of support are the other main reasons. 

“We can’t do anything about the weather but we can make sure our doctors practice among larger groups rather than in isolated, single practices,” says Mr. Ehman.

“We can try to integrate the doctor and his/her family into the community where they live and we can try to match them better with the community. We can help local groups provide the support systems that assists doctors and their families move comfortably into Saskatchewan. In that way, we can make what we call a ‘soft landing’ for them.”

Improving those processes, in cooperation with the local communities and health foundations, should help retain more doctors, he says.

SCHR’s Human Resources Department plans to hold regular meetings with each catchment area of the Region to support community recruiters and jointly work toward progress on recruitment in their area, as well as to discuss plans for retention programs for doctors.  

Recruitment and retention of more doctors is one of the Region’s nine hoshins (key improvement projects) for the fiscal year 2013-14.

Posted April 29  

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