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October 27, 2017 6:47 pm

Northern Health Recruitment and Retention- Planning for the Future

Thursday, February 23, 2017 @ 5:53 AM

Prince George, B.C.-Northern Health  is  facing  the same labour challenges as  every other sector in the  country  as the  bulk of the baby boom generation  makes plans  for retirement.

Recruitment and retention for  Northern Health  has been  an ongoing challenge,   but a  detailed study  on  the  future needs of communities and facilities is helping  in the development of a plan to stay ahead of the curve.

Northern Health  has  more than  7 thousand  employees throughout  its  region,  and   52% of that labour force works within the Northern Interior Delivery Area, which includes Prince George.

The planning  to ensure  Northern Health  has the people it needs to provide  the services  it offers, included  an examination of each and every  unit  operating within Northern Health.  That focus  gave  Northern Health a better understanding  of the age  groups of current employees   and the  employee’s  plans. “That’s critical so we can plan specifically,  because in  each community we have to take a somewhat different approach” says Northern Health CEO Cathy Ulrich.   “I think the other piece that has been very helpful to us, and will continue to be in the future, is  the partnership  we have with the educational institutions. Northwest Community College,  CNC,  Northern Lights  and   UNBC and the work they’ve been doing to  take students and train them  in health professions  so that we have a continual supply in the North.  That has made a huge difference  for us in the nursing area, medical imaging and lab for example.”

That partnership is part of a “Grow Your Own Strategy” that  starts  with planting seeds of  opportunities in health care careers with  junior and high school students.  Such  a session  was held just  last week in Fort St. John.

Studies aside,  Northern Health is  also  active in  getting the word out  through a number of  venues including:

• Queens University Career Fair (Ontario) – March 3 – 4, 2017
• UNBC Northworks (Prince George) – March 8, 2017
• CNC Northworks (Prince George – March 9, 2017
• Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada Conference (Niagara Falls) – April 30 – May 4, 2017
• National Emergency Nurses Association Conference (Prince Edward Island) – June 2 – 4, 2017
• Nurse Practitioners Conference (Vancouver Island ) – June 1 – 3, 2017

The planning  will make Northern Health more proactive than reactive  when it comes to  making sure  it has the  people it needs  as the  population ages and  demands for health services increase.





How long in the future?

There is too much bureaucracy in our health system.
The whole establishment is top heavy.
It must cost tens of millions per year just to feed, water, and exercise the middle management alone.
This apparently recent focus on recruitment is much ado about nothing much being done. Years too late.
Demographics change predictably, at least in terms of skilled people getting closer to the age of retirement.
Plans should have been in place decades ago.
But hey SNAFU, right.

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