October 31, 2022 6:01am
The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance is looking for nurses.
“We have a nursing grant program, which provides a $25,000 incentive,” explained CEO Andrew Williams. “This is coordinated through the government and our HR team. We’re really trying to promote those types of opportunities, tuition support is another area where we’re able to benefit potential nurses who want to join our team.”
There are also student forgiveness programs for nurses and doctors, he said. He also pointed out those programs are available to every organization and hospital, but there are still not enough people to fill the positions that are available right across the system, including long term care, home care and hospitals.
The numbers fluctuate regularly, so Williams explained it’s difficult to put a number on exactly how many nurses the Alliance would need to fill all of the positions, but he believes the hospitals in Clinton and Seaforth are short six to eight nurses in their Emergency Departments. And it’s not just Emergency Departments, it’s through all areas and throughout the Alliance.
“Right now we have 54 open registered nursing positions across the HPHA and we have 25 practical nurses,” he said. “So, almost 80 nursing positions that we are actively trying to fill across the organization and within the same period we’ve filled 57 RN positions.”
Williams said efforts are being made across the Province and across the country to bring more internationally trained people who are already in the country, into the system and they are looking at enrolment levels in nursing schools and medical schools. But in the future, he said they’re going to have to do a much better job of planning their human resources around the needs of their communities.
“All communities, outside large urban centres, depend on family physicians who are trained in multiple areas. We’re not graduating enough of those types of physicians to even keep pace with the numbers we have today. So we need to do a better job of linking the need in our communities with our education system.”
Williams added that’s not something that happens overnight and it does require some time, but he maintained it won’t happen without a clear vision for the future and then the planning can work towards that vision.