They came from all over Alberta, as far away as Worsley in the northwest to Milk River in the southeast. 90 participants in all, including five from Saskatchewan and two from B.C.
They left re-energized with a head full of new ideas for attracting and retaining healthcare professionals, along with tips on how to better promote their communities.
“Phenomenal!” “Fantastic!” “Awesome!” Those were just some of the glowing remarks from attendees. And reaction to keynote speaker and workshop host, Brenda Herchmer was overwhelmingly positive.
“I really enjoyed Brenda Herchmer and her concept of needs versus assets,” says Gerry Greschner from the Sundre Health Professional Attraction and Retention Committee. “So often when we are looking at things, we say this is what we need to do. We need this. We need that.
"It’s much better if we can look at the assets. What do we already have? How can we make this better? And I think those positive improvements are what we need to be focusing on.”
The highlight of the conference for Amber Bean, Fairview Doctor Recruitment and Retention Committee, was the leadership session of Brenda’s workshop. “Brenda’s presentation on leadership was second to none. The only way we are going to make our communities better, and that includes the whole retention issue, is to step up and take those steps forward.”
Scott Korbett, councillor for the Town of Pincher Creek, came away eager to set up an attraction and retention committee in his town. Up to now, recruitment of physicians was primarily done by the physicians in town. Scott, a first-time attendee, loved the many opportunities to network with attraction and retention committee members from around the province. “When I’m networking and learning from other communities, that’s what I’m taking away, is what are these guys actually doing that’s working and what’s not working.”
Keith Warren is a councillor for the Town of Drayton Valley and has been on the Pembina Physicians Recruitment and Retention Committee for the past seven years. He also greatly appreciated the networking opportunities. “That’s when you get those ‘Aha’ moments of ideas and you think, ‘I can take that back’,” says Keith.
“I never thought about using the student grant program at the federal level to get funding to bring a physician in that could work in our community for two months or whatever. It’s those long-term locums that make those young people say ‘hey, my face fits here. I could practise here.’”
Myrna Lanctot, who has attended five of RhPAP’s annual conferences, says each time she attends one she comes away with new ideas. “Thank-you RhPAP for continuing to put on these conferences because without the conferences being held somewhere in Alberta, it would not bring us all together and bring together the common goal of physician recruitment and retention,” says Myrna.
Our heartfelt thanks to the City of Brooks and the County of Newell for all their help in hosting the conference.