Healthcare professionals pitch Victoria County as destination
Victoria County was well represented at the 2018 Family Medicine Forum in Toronto.
Baddeck pharmacist Graham Mackenzie, Baddeck family physician David Heughan, Neil’s Harbour physician Nicola Smith and her partner Emmanuel Comtois pitched all Victoria County has to offer.
Now back in Baddeck, Mackenzie reflected on the forum following a busy morning giving flu shots. Mackenzie is a member of the physician recruitment committee in Baddeck. He’s realistic about recruitment.
“We’ve had visits that to me seemed like they were coming here the next day to work for the rest of their life and we never heard from them again.” Still, he feels the Toronto event went really well. “You can get a sense of people, if they're trying to work their way away from your booth or if they're staying there, and there were a number of people that really hung around there for 10, 15, 20 minutes asking questions. I would say there was at least 25 that were very solid leads. If we got 10 percent of those to come here for a weekend or a week just to try it, I think it was worth it.”
Mackenzie said most of the doctors at the forum were fairly new, young and unsure exactly where they want to be. The Victoria County booth emphasized locums that give physicians the opportunity to come and work for a week-
-end or a week, or take over another physician’s patients for a specified period of time, or do just emergency hospital medicine.
“If we get somebody, I think that's how it's going to be. It's going to be people that come in and try it for a week or two and then maybe they'll come back again and try longer.”
The first recruitment hurdle at the forum was making sure prospective recruits understood where Victoria County was on the map. Three-quarters thought Victoria County was in British Columbia.
Most physicians who approached the booth were “outdoorsy” types expressing interest in cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, boating and sailing. On the professional side, they were interested in the types of patients in the catchment area as well as general population and demographics.
“They're looking for what else the area has to offer, how far away the major centers would be like Cape Breton Regional, what they offer and how it works in connection with our hospital - just stuff that you would want to know if you were traveling to an area to work there for a little bit.”
Each physician at the forum had a barcode on their name tag for recruiters to scan. The barcodes contain contact info and follow-up preferences. All that lead information collected at the Victoria County booth has been sent to the Municipality.
Victoria County’s CAO and Warden haven’t been fully debriefed on the event yet, or had a chance to review the summary data sent to them. On behalf of the Municipality, though, Warden Bruce Morrison thanked all four professionals, acknowledging their genuine personal interest in their community.
“We certainly value their time and interest to go and attend the forum on our behalf. Obviously, they're very busy people. They either have a practice or a business to run.”