Letter to the Editor
Understanding our recruitment efforts
To the Editor:
In recent months, physician recruitment for Nova Scotia, including for Victoria County, has been a topic of much interest. I would like to share with your readers in Victoria County and beyond some information they may find helpful in understanding our recruitment efforts.
Recruitment takes time and involves the efforts of many people. Even though we are always recruiting, physician recruitment is not without its challenges. We appreciate that physicians will always come and go, that’s the nature of health care and other professions. Because it can sometimes take up to a year or more to recruit a new physician to an area, we need as much advance notice as possible when a physician decides to retire or leave. Fortunately, we do not recruit alone.
We have a dedicated physician recruitment consultant who recruits for the entire Eastern Zone of Nova Scotia Health Authority. The Eastern Zone includes all of Cape Breton Island as well as Antigonish, Guysborough and their surrounding communities. Recently, a recruitment team visited the United Kingdom and met with numerous physicians, with many showing an interest in Cape Breton. We are hopeful that this will result in physicians following-up on opportunities in our communities.
We are fortunate as well to have local physicians who are passionate about their work and their communities. Because they live in our communities, they are able to share their firsthand knowledge and experiences with potential recruits. They can tell other physicians why they chose to come here and why they stay. This is valuable as it gives physicians interested in relocating a perspective on working and living in Cape Breton communities.
At the community level, we have both individuals and groups interested and willing to help support recruitment efforts. A local community group, Friends of Buchanan Memorial Community Health Centre, recently created a website and video. It showcases the benefits of living and working North of Smokey. We use links to the website/video on our recruitment postings for Neil’s Harbour and all candidates are directed to view the site to learn more about living and working in Neil’s Harbour.
We are also fortunate to have the generous support of the Municipality of the County of Victoria and its council to support some of the work we do around recruitment. We see this strong relationship as an important community link and council’s contributions as a major support towards recruitment in Victoria County. Council has made a major financial commitment to support renovations at Victoria County Memorial Hospital in Baddeck. The renovations helped enhance the workspace for delivery of primary health care services and make the community and hospital more attractive to new physicians serving Baddeck and beyond.
The business community also recognizes the importance of the results of physician recruitment and retention. A group of Cape Breton businesses has also developed a website and video to help support physician recruitment efforts. We use that link to the website/video on our recruitment postings as well. Cape Breton business people understand the impact for their employees, their families and our communities when our recruitment efforts are successful. These are all examples of how supportive and interested the community is in what we are doing and how partnerships and links with groups and individuals across communities can help us recruit physicians. We are encouraged by and appreciate the interest at the community level. The people in our communities, including North of Smokey, already know that Cape Breton is a great place to live, work and play. Sharing that with people like health professionals interested in Cape Breton is very helpful.
We are also committed to informing and working with the Municipal Council and members of the community on long term strategies.
We’d also like to thank the people, groups and physicians who contribute to and support our ongoing recruitment efforts. We encourage people to visit the following websites http://mdcareerinnortherncapebreton.com/ and https:// doctorscapebreton.com/ and share them with others.
Dr. Warren Wilkes Eastern Zone Medical Director, Nova Scotia Health Authority Chair, Eastern Zone Physician