Northern Health focusing on recruitment



The Northern Health board of directors’ latest public meeting examined recruitment and retention strategies aimed at addressing unique challenges faced by the health authority, and an ever-changing health care environment.

The February human resources report details several initiatives to improve workforce planning, including development of a plan to gain a better understanding of NH’s current workforce and future needs. A new workforce planning toolkit is also helping managers identify and overcome departmental, site and community challenges to recruiting and retaining staff.

“We recognize that we need practical solutions and strategies and strong leadership to address the unique recruitment and retention challenges faced by largely rural and remote regions such as ours,” said Northern Health Board Chair Colleen Nyce, in a news release. “We also recognize the need for, and appreciate, the relationships we have fostered with communities, academic institutions, our health care unions and the provincial government that contribute to our recruitment successes.”

Northern Health’s HR department is developing a new strategic recruitment and retention plan, overseen by a newly-created regional director position. The strategy will look at the northern region as a whole, as well as individual needs of service delivery areas and sites. The initial plan will be presented to the NH board for approval in Fall 2018.

Two newly-hired physiotherapists, two nurses, a specialty nurse and a sonographer (ultrasound technologist) will start working in communities across the region in the coming months.

On the retention front, NH is working to further coordinate and extend its retention strategies, with a focus on supporting and retaining first line supervisors and managers, offering additional leadership development opportunities and supporting new graduates to participate in education workshops.

“We strongly believe these and other initiatives in 2018 will help us to mitigate or overcome many of the challenges we face,” said David Williams, VP Human Resources. “Improved planning combined with strong local and provincial partnerships will help us increase talent pools, and build on the momentum of the past year.”

Other highlights from the February 2018 regular meeting of the Northern Health board included:

  • Introduction of new member Brian Fehr, who was appointed to the NH Board of Directors in December 2017;
  • An update on quality improvement initiatives in Northern Health’s surgical, critical care and emergency/trauma clinical program;
  • A financial update forecasting Northern Health will be in a balanced position at the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year, and;
  • A presentation from the Vanderhoof Men’s Shed Collaboration; a program that provides a place for men to gather, share and volunteer.