In 2010, RPAP and the Alberta Chambers of Commerce selected the Town of Rocky Mountain House and Rocky Recruitment and Retention Society as recipients of the 2010 Alberta Rural Community Recruitment and Retention Award.
The Rocky Mountain House collaboration was selected for its demonstrated success in recruiting and retaining physicians, its modelling of a successful AHS-practitioner-community collaboration, and for the use of best practises consistent with the learnings RPAP promotes as most likely to aid successful recruitment and retention.
In 2007, Rocky Mountain House and the surrounding area recognized they had a problem: Doctors were leaving or retiring, and no new bodies were ready to take their place.
To practise in Rocky Mountain House, physicians had to “buy into” the clinic at an amount that that was prohibitive to graduates fresh out of university and saddled with loan debt. In the absence of a comprehensive recruitment strategy, potential recruits were being turned off of the community. A better effort was required to show why Rocky Mountain House was a great place to work and live
The Rocky Recruitment and Retention Society–comprised of representatives from the town, county, medical clinic, hospital and community at large–was formed to tackle the challenge. With funding coming from the Town of Rocky Mountain House and Clearwater County, and donations from the corporate sector and the general public, the following initiatives were soon undertaken:
- The municipalities soon purchased the medical clinic and in-turn rented the facility to the physicians, eliminating costly “buy-ins”.
- An executive was formed and an administrative assistant hired to coordinate site visits and community tours.
- A DVD was created to highlight the amenities and people of the region.
- A condominium was also secured to serve as “home away from home” for many visiting doctors and locums.
By January 2010, the community medical clinic was at full capacity. Five new doctors had been recruited- a mix of new graduates, international physicians and physicians who grew up in Rocky Mountain House.
Together Rocky Mountain House, Clearwater County and the Village of Caroline took hold of an issue threatening their future and used it to become an even more prosperous rural community.
“The Society has been embraced by the community and the multi-stakeholder approach has created what everyone agrees is a positive approach to solving problems,” added Stu Salkeld, editor at the time of The Mountaineer newspaper. “An organized, community-based approach to recruitment now exists in and around Rocky Mountain House.”
Click here to view the entire RPAP Alberta Rural Community Recruitment and Retention Award playlist and other great videos on our YouTube channel.
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