Northern Health sees success with physician recruitment

Northern Health has successfully recruited nearly a dozen Northern Medical Program (NMP) graduates to include in a total of 55 physicians recruited since January 1, 2012 from around the province, country and world.

While most of the students in the NMP are still in residency or their five-year specialty training programs, Northern Health has begun to see the program meeting the needs of communities and families of Northern BC. Members of the first graduating class are just completing specialty residency training this year.

In addition to those recruited from the NMP, Northern Health has also recruited 24 physicians since 2010, all of whom completed their residency in the north but were not from the NMP. Northern Health remains in contact with graduates of the NMP who have not reached the point of selecting a permanent home and expects many of those to establish practices in northern communities in the future.

“Although the Northern Medical Program has been admitting students since 2004, we are only now beginning to see graduates settle in the region and begin to practice,” said Dr. Charles Jago, Northern Health Board Chair. “As physicians complete their residencies and specialties, and as they take the time to determine where they want to practice permanently, we will begin to see more and more settle in northern BC.”

The NMP is benefitting the north even beyond the training of new physicians. The program also contributes to the recruitment of physicians from around the world to Prince George and surrounding communities by providing the opportunity to practice and teach.

“Between the NMP and small community practice, physicians get to experience a very broad range of medicine,” said Cathy Ulrich, CEO of Northern Health. “We have attracted physicians with these opportunities to get involved, and to teach and learn.”

Community involvement is also critical to helping to address physician recruitment challenges. Fort St. James was down to one physician over a year ago, and today is nearing a full complement of five physicians. This is a reflection of a partnership that encouraged a shared responsibility for all parties to recruit to their communities and this type of work has helped overcome challenges in other communities as well.

“The community of Fort St. James deserves the credit for making the doctors that have been recruited feel welcomed and wanted,” said Michael McMillan, Northern Health chief operating officer for the northern interior health service delivery area. “Northern Health would like to recognize all the members of the community who worked tirelessly to recruit these physicians.”

Northern Health is still recruiting for a number of vacancies and those positions can be found at http://careers.northernhealth.ca/ForPhysicians/