STRAIT AREA: A local group trying to recruit more healthcare professionals to the region just got a little more help.
The Cape Breton South Recruitment for Health (CBSRH) group has hired Maggie MacDonald as their new Healthcare Recruitment Navigator, covering the Strait-Richmond area.
“This position is an essential next step for the CBSRH committee,” explained Juanita Mombourquette, co-chair of CBSRH. “We’ve taken great strides already; hosting a group of physicians and strengthening our relationships with provincial physician recruiters. Cape Breton South has many assets to bring to the table and one of Maggie’s first tasks is to facilitate a new web presence that will be an important tool in our recruitment and retention efforts.”
MacDonald was raised in Inverness County and said she is familiar with health care challenges in rural areas. She said her background, which includes working with adults with disabilities, enabled her to gain experience with advocacy for vulnerable communities. She currently sits on the board of the Inverness County Accessibility Committee and MacDonald said she is passionate about ensuring residents have access to the services they require.
“I have some experience in the healthcare field, mostly Long-Term Care and Homecare,” MacDonald said. “I’m part of an accessibility committee in Inverness County and part of my work was basically advocating for disadvantaged people in the communities. When I saw this job posting, I was pretty intrigued because healthcare, and access to healthcare we receive in rural areas, is something that’s important to me.”
MacDonald started her new position in July, and although she was not familiar with the CBSRH when she applied for the position, she immediately got herself educated.
“I learned quickly that they’re a very diverse group; a lot of different people, with a lot of different backgrounds and I think that’s what makes them an aggressive and strong group who can actually see results,” MacDonald said.
The Healthcare Recruitment Navigator will assist in developing and delivering initiatives falling under the five key strategic directions of the CBSRH: advocacy, readiness, recruitment, retention, and emergency preparedness.
Currently spending her time between the Dr. Kingston Memorial Community Health Centre in L’Ardoise, as well as an office at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, MacDonald said she is getting to know many members of the group, particularly those in Richmond County.
“It’s kind of unique in the way that I cover two zones,” MacDonald said. “It’s the first time that they’ve combined a region as one to do something like this. So I cover the Town of Port Hawkesbury and all of Richmond County.”
Specifically, MacDonald is reaching out to stakeholders and gathering information – like what services are available locally – to create a plan of action.
“My number one priority now is to get our Web site developed, our on-line presence out there,” she noted. “I’ve been working as well on some content to a Web site that will be launching in the next few weeks or months, I would say. We really hope to develop a social media presence as well just to connect the community to our initiative. The community’s role in what we’re doing is going to play a huge part for us, so we just have to get those underlying tasks completed.”
Funded primarily through the Canada Summer Jobs Program, the role of the Healthcare Recruitment Navigator is to further the efforts of the CBSRH. CBSRH is a partnership of the Town of Port Hawkesbury and the Municipality of Richmond County, along with representatives from the Strait Richmond Hospital, Richmond Villa, the Dr. Kingston Memorial Community Health Centre, St. Anne Community and Nursing Care Centre, Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, the Cape Breton Partnership, and other partners.
MacDonald said she’s also been working closely with the recruiter for the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Eastern Zone, Victoria MacAulay.
“I’ve worked close with her, planning site visits for physicians, clinic crawls for residents in the area,” she noted.
The group was established in January 2020 as a regional approach focused on building on the strengths of local communities and providing a more collaborative environment to attract physicians and other healthcare professionals. CBSRH is working towards one singular goal; helping community members access the health services they need.
“I do feel the importance of it,” MacDonald added. “The team members that I have are a huge support to me, so I know that no matter what I need, I always have someone to reach out to for that information.”