Northern Health reports improved recruitment so far this fiscal year

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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Northern Health’s Human Resources department is reporting mild successes in recruitment so far this fiscal year after delivering a report to the health authority’s board of directors at Monday’s public board meeting.

So far in 2017/18, Northern Health has filled 2,135 positions. OF those, 83 percent were hired internally, 8 percent were external hires, while 9 percent of positions are currently open. Of those vacancies, 7 percent are marked as “difficult-to-fill vacancies,” meaning the health authority has not been able to fill the position for more than 90 days.

Northern Health’s report shows that it has had slightly less success in the recruitment of registered nurses, with 13 percent of RN positions vacant. 83 percent of the 545 RN positions posted by the health authority were filled internally, while only four percent of hires were recruited from outside Northern B.C.

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In the past five years, data shows that the percentage of RN postings marked as “difficult-to-fill” has steadily increased from six percent in 2013/14 to eleven percent last fiscal year. The report shows that Northeast B.C. has the second-highest number of vacancies in the health authority’s area, with six permanent RN vacancies marked as DTFV along with a further four relief RN positions.

However, the HR department did point out that it has had successes in recruiting for to difficult-to-fill positions, including the recent hiring of two nurses in Chetwynd, as well as a sonographer and a speciality nurse in Fort St. John. All four of those positions were International hires.

In response to more registered nurse positions being marked as “difficult-to-fill,” Northern Health’s HR department said it is developing a new strategic recruitment and retention plan, overseen by a newly-created Regional Director position. The initial plan will be presented to the NH Board for approval in Fall 2018.

To better reach and engage with newly-graduated nurses, Northern Health implemented a New Graduate Application Process. Last year, 91 newly-graduated registered nurses (RNs) were hired into Northern Health, 17 of whom were hired in Northeast B.C.

“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.”

On the retention front, Northern Health says it is working to further coordinate and extend its retention strategies, with a focus on supporting and retaining first-line supervisors and managers, and supporting new graduates to participate in educational workshops.

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