Central Health aims to reduce staff shortage with job posting for recruitment co-ordinator

·3 min read
Central Health has established a new position focused on international recruitment of health-care workers.  (Katie Breen/CBC - image credit)
Central Health has established a new position focused on international recruitment of health-care workers. (Katie Breen/CBC - image credit)
Katie Breen/CBC
Katie Breen/CBC

Central Newfoundland's regional health authority hopes to recruit more health-care workers with a new position focused on attracting international health professionals to Newfoundland.

Central Health is hiring an international recruitment co-ordinator, whose main goal will be to recruit health-care professionals from outside Canada and help them settle in Newfoundland.

Craig Davis, Central Health's interim vice-president of people and culture, told CBC News the person who is hired will work with candidates, provincial regulatory bodies and the Department of Immigration to help newcomers going through the licensure process, placement and getting their families settled.

"We've had some success in international recruitment previously in Central Health and we have had members of our recruitment team working on international recruitment throughout the past number of years," Davis said Wednesday.

"However, what we're finding is that international recruitment can be complex and we really need to have a dedicated resource to be able to work with these individuals to help them."

Davis said it's the next step in Central Health's effort to be a welcoming organization for internationally educated professionals.

He said communities themselves will also play an important role in helping new recruits get settled with things like school plans for children, getting them acquainted with recreation facilities and building connections within the towns.

"Central Health and our recruitment team can do a lot of work on the recruitment front to create interest for potential candidates to come to work," said Davis.

"However, municipalities, community groups and community advisory committees, they're key to ensuring when these potential candidates show up in Newfoundland and in the Central region that they're welcomed to the area."

Garrett Barry/CBC
Garrett Barry/CBC

Central Newfoundland, much like the rest of the province, has been plagued with staffing shortages throughout the pandemic. Several communities and thousands of residents have recently been left reeling after losing their only doctors.

On the south coast, the only hospital in the Coast of Bays area has been dealing with the lack of emergency health care — meaning residents have to travel roughly 200 kilometres to Grand Falls-Windsor to be treated for emergency medical treatment.

The Registered Nurses' Union Newfoundland and Labrador has told CBC News there are more than 600 vacant registered nursing positions across the province. The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association has said about 90,000 people in the province are without a family doctor.

Support from medical unions

Union president Yvette Coffey said the Central Health initiative is an encouraging sign. In a statement, Coffey said it can be "confusing and challenging" for internationally educated nurses to enter the Canadian health-care system

"Having a dedicated resource help [international nurses] navigate licensing and employment processes, as well as settle into a new community and culture will support recruitment and retention," Coffey said.

The medical association said it supports any efforts regional health authorities make to boost doctor recruitment.

Davis said there isn't an exact figure for how many health-care workers Central Health is trying to bring in, but hopes to have the recruitment position filled within the next week to 10 days.

As for when new internationally educated staff would arrive in this province to work, Davis said it could be four to six months.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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