Hard work brings recruiting success to North Bay

 

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North Bay’s Regional Health Centre has enjoyed success in recruiting new physicians thanks to the efforts of Kristen Vaughn, left, and Chastity Saudino who help drive the hospital’s ongoing recruiting effort. Despite recent successes, the team continues in view of the possibility that as many as 25 physicians could retire in the next ten years. (Photo supplied)

North Bay, well-known as one of the environmentally cleaner cities in Northern Ontario, has enjoyed considerable success in attracting new physicians in recent years. But that doesn’t mean anyone is just sitting around at the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) and enjoying the success.

Chastity Saudino, Physician Recruitment Specialist, Assistant to the Chief of Staff and Kristen Vaughan, Physician Engagement Quality Coordinator are the two wunderkind who have managed to bring scores of new physicians and health care professionals to the city. They work hard at it.

“We would describe the current status of the number of physicians serving the North Bay and area as much improved,” said Vaughn in a recent interview.

“Since the inception of the Physician Recruitment program at NBRHC in 2006, we have successfully recruited 115 doctors to our community. While we are in a much better position than we were in 2015, when approximately 12,000 community members didn’t have a family physician, we are always looking ahead at our needs and working on five, 10, and 15-year recruitment plans,” she continued.

She said it is possible that up to 25 full-time family physicians could retire within the next 10 years, potentially leaving up to 35,000 community members without a family doctor.

“So our recruitment efforts continue,” said Vaughn

Saudino said she credits the City of North Bay and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) with their partnerships with NBRHC for some of the recruiting success.

“In 2015 the City of North Bay enhanced their partnership with NBRHC physician recruitment by allocating significant funds to support new family doctors with practice start-up grants.  This is on top of the hospital’s physician recruitment incentive package.”

Added to that is the fact that North Bay’s hospital is the third largest NOSM teaching site behind Sudbury and Thunder Bay she said with accumulated teaching time averaging more than 1100 weeks a year.

“We offer home based residency programs for family medicine and psychiatry.  We like to say our partnership with NOSM is like ‘building your own doctor’. They are here for an extended period of time during their studies and residency and essentially become colleagues with the doctors here at NBRHC, and many choose to stay,” said Saudino.

She added that while recruitment is a significant part of the job, so is retention. As much as possible the team also works to help the physicians transition from school to their medical practice.

“We know physicians have a strong focus on personal interests and leisure time, and we offer the best of both worlds. New physicians are part of a team environment and have an opportunity to work on interesting medical cases. The natural environment provides many opportunities for four-season recreation, and the short commute to work allows more time to enjoy the wealth of activities with family and friends,” she added.

But it takes work, Vaughn said, to bring new faces to North Bay.

“Five years ago our area was in a health care crisis with an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 residents without a family physician,” Vaughn explained.

“Together with the City of North Bay, we have successfully recruited 15 family physicians to close that gap. We now estimate that the number of patients without a family doctor is closer to 5,000.” she added.

As for the strongest selling points for bringing new physicians to the city,  Saudino said it can mean different things for different people, but the Bay has a lot going for it.

“It does vary from person to person, but in North Bay we are able to offer the best of both worlds. Our physicians are able to have interesting medical cases with a strong medical community and complement that with a short commute and the work life balance many are looking for,” she said.

It’s a competitive market to attract physicians and the ability to offer an incentive package is a big advantage. North Bay also has many options for space to assist new physicians in acquiring and setting up their medical practice,”  Saudino added.

Not to be forgotten is North Bay being situated in one of nicest natural settings in Ontario with enough geography in terms of lakes, rivers, rocks and trees to satisfy any soul.

“Our community is definitely a selling point when we are recruiting,”  Saudino remarked. “The combination of abundant green space, spring-fed water and clean air creates a healthy environment for working, living, and raising a family.

“We know physicians have a strong focus on personal interests and leisure time, and we offer the best of both worlds. New physicians are part of a team environment and have an opportunity to work on interesting medical cases. The natural environment provides many opportunities for four season recreation, and the short commute to work allows more time to enjoy the wealth of activities with family and friends. “

Filed in: Briefs, Education, Featured, News

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