New part­ner­ship to se­cure staff

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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 rachael.cooper@unimelb.edu.au.

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