East Grampians Health Service to focus on recruitment and retention of staff

Recruitment and retention of professional staff is a problem that many Ararat business leaders can strongly identify with.

East Grampians Health Service (EGHS) chief executive Nick Bush is committed to finding innovative solutions to address this issue.

“The recruitment and then retention of skilled staff is critical to providing the quality and breadth of services the community should expect we provide,” Mr Bush said.

To help strengthen the health workforce, EGHS has recently partnered with the University of Melbourne to develop and deliver a whole-of-person retention project.

The project targets early-career nursing and allied health professionals, as well as other health workers who are newcomers to the Ararat area.

Dr Cath Cosgrave, a rural health workforce academic from University of Melbourne’s Department of Rural Health is leading the project. EGHS will work with Dr Cosgrave to develop and implement a range of supports for new workers to increase their professional and personal satisfaction for the purpose of reducing avoidable turnover.

Dr Cosgrave will work closely with newly appointed project worker, Rachael Cooper, who will be based at EGHS and will provide individualised support to eligible EGHS staff.

“I moved to Ararat 16 years ago from Melbourne as a new graduate Dietitian, so I know the struggles that newcomers have,” Ms Cooper said.

“I’m excited to be a part of a project that will help health professionals settle into work and the community and hopefully have a really positive experience, and consider staying longer.”

Dr Cosgrave’s research emphasises the importance of new workers from elsewhere finding their place in a rural community. Building links with the local community is a key part of Ms Cooper’s role.

“It would be fantastic to have the people of Ararat come on board to welcome and support new people to the town,” Dr Cosgrave said.

“A community forum on attracting and keeping new professionals in Ararat and the role of community will be run in February next year. Rachael will be making contact with local clubs, organisations, businesses, schools and local government agencies to discuss the project and invite them to attend the forum.”

Anyone interested in the project or attending the forum should contact Ms Rachael Cooper on 5352 9483 or rachael.cooper@unimelb.edu.au.

EGHS Director Development and Improvement Mario Santilli, Project Worker Rachael Cooper, Dr Cath Cosgrave from the University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health and EGHS Chief Executive Nick Bush.