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'Missing the mark': Nova Scotia the only province to skip rural-doctor recruitment fair

'Missing the mark': Nova Scotia the only province to skip rural-doctor recruitment fair
From CBC - April 16, 2018

The wife of a Cape Breton physician says she's astonished that Nova Scotia was the only province that did not send its physician recruiters to a national meeting in St. John's over the weekend.

"We have gotta do more to get the word out there more, that Nova Scotia is a great place, and we are looking," said Linda Murray. "It does not look right now like we are looking, because there is no one here recruiting!"

Murray's husband, Dr. Ken Murray, has been working in Neils Harbour for 45 years. His wife says they love their community, and want to make sure they leave the practice in good hands.

She's so anxious to move on to the next stage of their lives thatshe attended recruiting sessions at the conference to learn how to help find a new doctor.

"Without a replacement, he will continue to service our community forever probably. Sothat means if he ca not retire, I ca not retire."

600 attendees

More than 600 medical students, residents and family doctors gathered for the Rural and Remote Medicine Course. While it's a training session, health authorities, organizations and communities set up displays to try to show the opportunities in their corners of the country.

Teams made the trek from all three territories, and there were several tables representing various parts of British Columbia. But the display featuring the Nova Scotia tartan was absent.

"We are just missing the mark here," said Murray,whospent the weekend mingling with younger doctors.

"There are six booths from B.C. here. It's across the pond from Nova Scotia, and there's no one here."

Other recruiting priorities

The head of the Nova Scotia Health Authority's recruitment team said in a email they had good reason to skip the conference. It's expensive, and it has never yielded any results in the past.

Instead, recruiters were in St. John's last month for an exclusive Nova Scotia event with residents, and they will be attending a larger conference in Toronto in May which includes not only family physicians, but nurse practitioners.

There are dozens of medical conferences throughout the year, all over the country. Recruiters say they have to be strategic in choosing which ones to attend.

This was the first year that New Brunswick recruiters set up a booth at the Rural and Remote Conference, and they agreed it was an expensive endeavour.

'We had a lot of prospects'

DeniseCoulombe, the recruiter for Horizon Health, estimates it cost them $8,000 to set up the booth for the weekend, plus the travel expenses.

"Our needs in New Brunswick are mostlywhen we speak about family medicineare more rural, so we are attending events where we would get a bigger audience of rural physicians so that's why we thought this would be the best oneone of the good ones to attend."

She says in future yearsthey would likely save money by only setting up for one day. Nonetheless, she says the weekend was a success.

'It's been awesome'

A long-term relationship

Dalhousie makes strong impression

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