A West Prince group is inviting community leaders to help it develop strategies that will support efforts keep health care professionals in the region.
Paul Young, administrator of Community Hospitals West, said the region has experienced success in attracting health care professionals, but the challenge has been keeping them.
“How do we support the integration of these new health care practitioners, as well as their families?” he asked.
He said it has been a question the community partnership committee has been trying to answer.
Young said there have been some good success stories recently. The region’s nurse practitioner complement of five is currently full.
Maryna Kudryacheva is one of the newest NPs in the region, having arrived in Alberton in November. Originally from Ukraine, but having lived in Toronto, she said she likes the rural practice and the friendliness of the people. She likes the strong sense of community.
“It’s everything that I wanted,” she said.
The committee is partnering with several organizations and agencies, West Prince Chamber of Commerce, P.E.I Association of Newcomers to Canada, RDÉE Î.-P.-É. Inc., Health P.E.I. and the Rural Action Centre, to organize a community engagement event, Here to Stay.
Organizers sent out over 300 invitations last week to community organizations, business owners, municipalities and individuals, inviting them to collaborate on the development of a made-in-West Prince action plan for improved retention. Young is encouraged by the initial response.
Here to Stay will be held at the Mill River Resort on Tuesday, March 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendance is free, but participants are asked to register for the event here by 4 p.m. on Feb. 22. Lunch will be provided.
While there is a well-documented shortage of medical professionals right across the country, Young said there have also been success stories shared across the country, where small communities have found ways to attract and retain professionals. He’s confidence ‘Here to Stay’ can help accomplish the same for West Prince.
Marlene Bolger, representing the Western Hospital Health Care Auxiliary on the committee, agrees with Young that made-in-West Prince solutions are possible.
“It will help the people of the community understand more the challenges that are out there, and what the communities need to do, to come together to support finding ways to help the doctors, basically; to help them stay.”
In addition to the success of the nurse practitioners, the region’s full-time complement of 2.6 physiotherapists is also full.
There are two new doctors moving to the area by late spring or summer, but there are also some physician retirements on the horizon.
“We’re really trying to capitalize on the momentum that’s developed here,” said Young.
He said the partnership committee is also seeking to have a navigator position reinstated in the region, one who can help healthcare professionals and other newcomers to the area integrate into the community.
“The more welcoming and supportive we are, the more likely they are to stay,” he said.
Campbell to deliver keynote address
David Campbell, president of Jupia Consultants and former chief economist for the New Brunswick Jobs Board Secretariat, will deliver the keynote address at the Here to Stay community engagement event on March 5.
Paul Young, administrator of Community Hospitals West and one of the organizers of the West Prince Community Partnership Committee-led community engagement event, said Campbell will analyze West Prince data to help set the tone for the day’s discussions.
The program’s guest speaker will be Lisa Dollar on the topic: ‘Equipping ourselves to grow through inclusion’. The event will bring together community members and business leaders from West Prince to develop a made-in-West Prince action plan for improved retention of healthcare professionals.
The program, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include facilitated large and small-group discussions on strategies for inclusion and retention.