Grande Prairie region committee looks to ensure region’s medical future

The South Peace Professional Attraction and Retention Committee (SPPARC) is busy ensuring medical professionals consider the Peace a place to practice and live.

Kate Potter, SPPARC chair, said the committee has been busy ensuring any nurses or University of Alberta residents coming to the area feel comfortable in the region.

“The reality is that people don't choose a job based solely on what the work is like; they choose to go somewhere, both for the work and also what it's like to live there,” said Potter.

She said recreation, schools, and community activities help attract and retain medical professionals.

SPPARC has had more community members join the committee, she added, which has allowed the committee to engage in different areas.

“One of the things we've been trying to do was increase awareness through social media, so we have a much more active Facebook page sharing information,” said Potter.

“We try to get out into the communities in the summer with their big community fairs and festivals and just try to raise awareness and encourage people to think about a medical profession and health care profession.”

Potter said SPPARC will continue to do its fall tours of local medical facilities with healthcare students.

SPPARC is also ensuring nurses like the ones coming to Beaverlodge through the International Nurses program are finding living arrangements and amenities for their apartments.

“We're trying to engage on that front as well, making sure that our healthcare professionals who are coming in through some of these other programs, like the internationally trained ones, are set up for success here because when they come here, they literally have nothing,” said Potter.

She said SPPARC shifted its mandate from focusing on physicians to all healthcare professionals who need support about two years ago.

Healthcare is also changing with nurse practitioners, noted Potter and she said SPPARC wants to be flexible. “The change with the nurse practitioners, where they're now able to set up clinics and be funded, is a fantastic move to help address the real shortage we have in healthcare in our province,” said Potter.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News