Investing in Personalized Health Professional Attraction Pays Off
The Challenge: The Medical Drain
In the fall of 2014, physicians in the City of Quesnel were not accepting new patients, and it was announced that 9 doctors would be leaving the community. Recruiting new professionals would not be an easy task in the face of Quesnel’s limited rental housing market and a general lack of awareness of the community and its attractions.
The Solution: The Welcome Practice
In what has become a true community project, a number of resources were employed to reach out to medical professionals who could be encouraged to move to and practice in Quesnel.
With funding from the Cariboo Chilcotin Hospital Regional District, a Healthcare Recruitment Coordinator was contracted by the City of Quesnel to lead the project. The Coordinator has become a resource person for both existing and new physicians to help with housing, home maintenance needs, and other community connections.
The Coordinator worked with Northern Health and Healthmatch BC to develop online resources that showcase the best Quesnel has to offer. A relocation brochure featuring the medical community was produced and distributed.
The Coordinator takes a hands on approach when connecting with an interested physician or other healthcare professional to plan an exploratory trip to Quesnel Prior to arrival, she plans a community tour to match the visitor’s interests, along with a personalized welcome package to greet them at the hotel. She connects again after the tour to answer any questions.
Once the professional commits to moving to Quesnel, she helps find appropriate housing in Quesnel’s limited rental market. Upon arrival in Quesnel, she picks them up at the airport and helps settle them into the community. This can mean connecting them with others with shared interests, arranging a meeting with the French Immersion principal, helping their spouse find employment, or even lending her own children's toys while the family waits for their belongings to arrive.
With Northern Health covering the cost of catering, the Coordinator arranges a welcome dinner for each new physician, inviting all current physicians and their spouses. This is an opportunity to meet new colleagues, and to network and socialize within the existing medical community.
Benefits: Sharing the Model
The Physician Readiness Assessment program has recognized Quesnel as offering best practices and will be sending a team to Quesnel to see the program on the ground.
Outcomes: The Doctors are In!
- Over the course of one year, 13 new doctors were recruited to Quesnel
- In addition, two doctors who had left have decided to return
- In early 2016, a sign went up at one of the clinics: two doctors were accepting new patients, and more doctors were on the way
- In the summer of 2015, Northern Health warned that that the emergency room would have to close temporarily as not enough locums had been recruited to cover summer vacations and departing doctors. Regency Chrysler stepped in with the offer of free use of vehicles to make Quesnel a more attractive choice for locums. This effort was a success, and the emergency room remained fully operational.
Lessons Learned: The Personal Touch
- The scarcity of health professionals requires communities to add the personal touch with each health professional willing to consider locating to Quesnel
- This means problem-solving on a very personal level, connecting each arrival to the resources needed and showcasing the lifestyle Quesnel has to offer
- This kind of attention can produce results in a short time period resulting in a good return on investment
Watch the Invest Quesnel Video Clip
December 8, 2016