Community Strategies for the Retention of Health Professionals Community Strategies for the...

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  • Community Retention Toolkit

    Community Strategies for the Retention of Health Professionals

    This toolkit offers suggestions on how communities can become involved in retaining the health professionals they successfully recruit to their local health care system.

    In Newfoundland and Labrador, the retention of health professionals, especially physicians, has been a long term concern. Through the next decade, the physician shortages experienced in the North American labor market are expected to widen to other health professions. In fact, filling vacancies in the nursing and pharmacy professions has already become a recruitment challenge.

    This toolkit is written as a guide for recruiters in health care and for community partners who want to introduce a retention strategy to retain the health professionals they successfully recruit. Recruiters closely involved in the hiring process recognize that a retention strategy is most comprehensive when it includes the retention needs of all potential candidates, including those attracted from the local, national and international marketplace.

    The Toolkit includes: 1. Our Recruitment Experience in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. 2. How targeted Community Development Impacts Retention of health professionals. 3. Community Retention Approaches: - Welcoming Communities - Community Retention Committee - Mentorship Program - Focus Groups - Partnerships 4. Steps to Developing a Community Retention Strategy

    View our powerpoint presentation “Partnering with Communities”.

    https://www.practicenl.ca/documents/Partnering_with_ Communities.pps

  • Our Recruitment Experience

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    Our statistics indicate that less than five years ago, 61% of our fully licensed family physicians and 49% of our fully-licensed specialists practicing in the province were Memorial University medical school graduates. When you factor in the physicians who completed medical school elsewhere and then graduated from our post-graduate program at MUN, our local training program provided 75% of the province’s fully licensed physicians. The recruitment value of our Medical School and Residency program is obvious. Clearly it is very important that this is reflected in our retention strategies, and a very similar argument can be made for the other health professions. Local graduates have proven to have the lowest outmigration rate over time, and as a province, we have benefited because of the strength of their personal connection to the province.

    In recent years up to 40% of our physician workforce in Newfoundland and Labrador has been supported by International Medical Graduates who were attracted from outside the province, or from the national and international markets. It is clear that our retention strategy must also include settlement and welcoming services for these newcomers and the many other health professionals who we will need to attract in the future.

  • Community Retention Approaches 1) Welcoming Community

    There are five different approaches that a community may take to introduce a retention strategy:

    1) Establish the community as a Welcoming Community through a network of local volunteers

    A helpful toolkit on how to become a Welcoming Community has already been developed as part of a Canadian initiative focused on settlement and integration. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the movement is being championed by the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism who can provide communities with local facilitators trained to introduce the “Tool Box of Ideas for Smaller Centres”. The three day process helps a group of community stakeholders develop a work plan designed to improve retention of immigrants, many of whom are health care professionals. The facilitators, trained in community development strategies, partner with recruiters from our health care system as co-facilitators and provide communities with a valuable combined resource to explore new approaches to settlement and retention. Recruiters and immigration staff share the same vision and are actively networking with rural communities to help develop welcoming plans. The partnership is proving to be a natural fit.

    Community development initiatives that are designed to improve a community’s ability to welcome and integrate new citizens are a win-win for everyone. New opportunities stimulate the introduction of new services that, in turn, benefit the quality of life of everyone by adding to the social and economic vibrancy of the community. Inviting local facilitators to a community to introduce the Welcoming Communities Toolkit begins a process for improved welcoming and retention. The health care recruitment team in Newfoundland and Labrador believe that there is considerable value in this approach for all new people attempting to settle in our communities, particularly new health professionals and their families.

    Newfoundland and Labrador communities interested in improving the retention of health professionals in their health care system can contact the Welcoming Communities Project, Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism or the Provincial Physician Recruitment Office at grow@practicenl.ca.

    Everyone can benefit when retention is incorporated into community develop- ment initiatives. Plans to influence the retention of health professionals will vary from community to community, but the common thread is that each initiative helps the community become a better place to work and live. Initiatives that help a community grow in this way, assist the health care system to attract new recruits and retain those already recruited.

    mailto:grow@practicenl.ca

  • Community Retention Approaches 2) Retention Committee

    2) Establish a Community Retention Committee to specifically build the communities capacity to welcome new health professionals.

    Establishing a Community Retention Committee (CRC) is a strategy used by health care authorities across Canada to build community partnerships to work on improving health professional retention. CRC’s can strengthen our provincial health care system by helping communities to attract adequate staffing to provide consistent services.

    In Newfoundland and Labrador, some communities have established retention committees because of the need to respond to current recruitment challenges. Leadership to get things started can come from a number of stakeholders, including town councils, regional economic development boards and community volunteers. The work involves bringing people together to create ways to welcome and retain health professionals to work in the health care system in a specific community. The level of community interest in health professional retention will differ from community to community, and will be influenced by a community’s previous experiences with staff shortages. Each Regional Health Authority has recruitment staff ready to champion the introduction of Retention Committees with the support of other community stakeholders.

    STEP I: Identifying Community Champions Leadership is important when developing community retention committees. Champions are those who take hold of ideas, bring people together and get things moving. In Newfoundland and Labrador our regional and provincial recruitment staff are ready to champion this initiative and advocate for others to become involved as community stakeholders.

    STEP II: Developing a Terms of Reference for the committee When the volunteer members are recruited to participate, the committee will need a terms of reference to help organize the work. Some questions to help the recruiters facilitating the group discussion include:

    • What do we want to include in our mandate? • Are we targeting all professional groups, or will our work be confined to a physicians and nurses only? • How will we include visiting students and residents? • How often should the committee meet and where will meetings be held? • Will we • consider a plan to attract services to the community (welcome wagon, day care) • advocate for services (volunteer agency for community greeters, play buddies, host families, welcoming coordinator) • find ways to encourage high school students to consider careers in the health sector

    The Provincial Physician Recruitment Office is committed to helping interested recruiters and communities through the initial steps of establishing a Community Retention Committee and can be contacted at grow@practicenl.ca to help facilitate the process. The following guideline provides additional information about the proposed committee structure and terms of reference.

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    mailto:grow@practicenl.ca

  • 2) Establish a Community Retention Committee to specifically build the communities capacity to welcome new health professionals.

    Establishing a Community Retention Committee (CRC) is a strategy used by health care authorities across Canada to build community partnerships to work on improving health professional retention. CRC’s can strengthen our provincial health care system by helping communities to attract adequate staffing to provide consistent services.

    In Newfoundland and Labrador, some communities have established retention committees because of the need to respond to current recruitment challenges. Leadership to get things started can come from a number of stakeholders, including town councils, regional economic development boards and community volunteers. The work involves bringing people together to create ways to welcome and retain health profes