New partnership to secure staff
East Grampians Health Service has joined forces with the University of Melbourne in a project to attract and retain health professionals in Ararat district.
The project targets early-career nursing and allied-health professionals, as well as other health workers who are newcomers to Ararat district.
Health service chief executive Nick Bush said he was committed to finding ‘innovative’ solutions to address the recruiting issue of which many Ararat business and organisation leaders were familiar.
“The recruitment and then retention of skilled staff is critical to providing the quality and breadth of services the community should expect we provide,” he said.
He said the new partnership was based on the health service developing and delivering a ‘whole of person’ retention project.
Dr Cath Cosgrave, a rural health workforce academic from University of Melbourne’s Department of Rural Health, is leading the project.
The health service, determined to reduce an avoidable turnover in staff, will work with Dr Cosgrave to develop and implement a range of support mechanisms for new workers to increase their professional and personal satisfaction.
Dr Cosgrave will work closely with newly appointed project worker Rachael Cooper, who will be based at the health service and provide individual-based support to eligible staff members.
“I moved to Ararat from Melbourne 16 years ago as a graduate dietitian, so I know the struggles that newcomers have,” Ms Cooper said.
“I’m excited to be part of a project that will help health professionals settle into work and the community and hopefully have a really positive experience, and consider staying longer.”
Dr Cosgrave’s research emphasises the importance of new workers from outside the region finding their place in a rural community.
Building links with the community is a key part of Ms Cooper’s role.
“It would be fantastic to have the people of Ararat come on board to welcome and support new people to the town,” Dr Cosgrave said.
“A community forum on attracting and keeping new professionals in Ararat and the role of community will be in February next year. Rachael will be making contact with local clubs, organisations, businesses, schools and local government agencies to discuss the project and invite them to attend the forum.”
Anyone interested in the project or attending the forum can call Ms Cooper on 5352 9483 or email email@example.com.