February 6th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 6
Doctor Recruitment in the Pass
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Stock photo
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Recruiting doctors in the Crowsnest Pass is something the municipality is currently looking to make easier.

Getting doctors to come and stay in the Crowsnest Pass hasn’t always been the easiest thing to do.

Currently, the Crowsnest Pass has a total of 11 family physicians on staff but Community Medical Director Dr. Kristy Penner says she’s hopeful that number will go up over the next couple years.

“We are finding that there are more unattached patients without a family doctor here for the first time in about 10 years. So we are looking at recruiting one to two family doctors long term and also predicting a few potential retirements in the next year or two.”

As Community Medical Director, Dr. Penner is in charge of representing to staff and hospital.

She is always looking for ways to improve the hospital.

“Between the site manager and myself we are working to look at quality improvement and quality insurance with some of the data from different areas of the hospital and we've got a new quality council team that's going to get together. Currently we are looking to promote and grow our O-R program.”

But another part of her role is the recruitment side of things.
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Dr. Penner says the community benefits from having university students who come to the Crowsnest Pass.

“We are incredibly lucky here in the Crowsnest Pass. We're a big teaching centre both for University of Calgary and University of Alberta medical students as well as rural residents from Lethbridge and Medicine Hat that come here.”

She added that some of these students are willing to stay in more of a long-term role.

“We get a lot of graduates that come sometimes for a few weeks or a few months often in their first year after finishing their family medicine residency. Over the years we've been very successful recruiting doctors to our community full time following short contracts like that.”

Dr. Penner added that using the pool of students from these areas, they have been able to recruit around seven doctors in the last eight years.

Another part of this process is making sure everything continues to run smoothly.
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“We want to maintain the services at the hospital. That includes making sure that there is an on call physician 365 days a year. It means making sure that the current medical staff is happy.”

Other areas where they are currently looking for recruitment include a second General Practitioner with extra surgical skills; a second GP-anesthetist to support the one they have now and they also hope to have a visiting orthopedic surgeon in the next three to six months.

There are currently 16 doctors that the hospital employs in some capacity but Dr. Penner hopes that number will rise.

In an effort to recruit more doctors, councilor Sygutek and Dr. Annand from the Crowsnest Pass will be attending an event in Lethbridge on February 13 to pitch the area to young doctors looking to get their start.
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February 6th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 6
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