Hospital steps up recruitment

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
The staffing turnover rate for Central Otago’s main hospital has remained static for the past three years despite nationwide nursing shortages and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The hospital, which is run by Central Otago Health Services Ltd, has seven vacancies listed — four of which are to recruit nursing staff including a general advertisement for registered nurses.

Health services chief executive Dr Kathryn de Luc said the need to fill those positions had prompted the hospital to take a more proactive approach to recruitment in light of the nationwide shortage of nursing staff.

"You will have noticed some intensive recruitment going on for COHSL at the moment.

"We have actively raised our profile with more frequent and larger job adverts and advertising in more media outlets as we compete to recruit staff from a limited workforce across the country."

The pandemic and difficulties in recruiting staff had been well documented nationally and Dunstan Hospital had felt the impact — as had all health providers, Dr de Luc said.

"As I have spoken about on many occasions, maintaining a rural workforce across multiple clinical disciplines is challenging for a small rural hospital and we are now dealing with the added complexity of a pandemic and national staffing shortages, particularly in nursing.

"Much of our recruitment recently relates to nurses — for example we currently have eight nurses on parental leave within the organisation."

Dr de Luc said the campaign had been successful.

"We have been able to recruit high-quality staff from all over the country who want to come and work at COHSL and Dunstan Hospital and live in our beautiful region."

Despite the pandemic and the stresses and strains it put on people working in health, the hospital’s turnover rate for staff had remained the same for the past three years, Dr de Luc said.

Dunstan Hospital includes a 24-acute-bed inpatient ward (including a three-bed high dependency unit) and provides secondary health services to about 25,000 people living in the wider Central Otago and Wanaka regions.

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