Know a health-care worker who wants to work in NB? It could put money in your pocket

A New Brunswick health authority is asking for the public’s help with recruitment — and is willing to pay for it.

The Horizon Referral Reward program is currently offering $1,000 to individuals who successfully refer a registered nurse. The reward doubles if the RN is hired to work in a critical care unit or emergency department.

Referrals can be made online by New Brunswick residents, a Horizon Health employee or physician, or an international student studying in the province.

Individuals who refer an RN who gets hired will get half of the money immediately and the second half after the RN has been employed by Horizon for 12 months.

Kerry Kennedy, regional director of talent acquisition with Horizon Health Network, said the program is about shared responsibility.

“Recruitment is a standalone operation. We all own it,” she said. “So what better way to get our communities engaged by understanding that if they refer, they’re part of that success.”

According to Kennedy, the program has led to the hiring of 15 registered nurses since June. Another 24 eligible referrals are currently being processed.

“We didn’t expect it to generate hundreds but we expected that it would change the conversation that we all own recruitment and retention,” she said.

Paula Doucet, president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, said in addition to innovative recruitment efforts, the province also needs to focus on retention. (Tori Weldon)

The program is only accepting referrals for Registered Nurse Class A positions. But, the idea is to eventually include a variety of medical care professions.

Kennedy said the criteria for the program is very specific.

RNs are eligible to be referred for a reward if they haven’t been employed within the New Brunswick public system over the past year. This includes with a regional health authority, the Government of New Brunswick, or a nursing home.

Senior Bachelor of Nursing students can be referred, but they must not have completed a student placement with Horizon in the last 12 months.

“We’re not looking to take somebody who’s working with one of our other New Brunswick partners. This is truly about you know, somebody that meets the criteria that is looking to come to New Brunswick,” she said.

Candidates still undergo all of the regular hiring process steps.

All recruitment efforts appreciated

The head of the province’s nurses union said innovative recruitment efforts are essential to help resolve the “huge shortage” of health-care workers.

“Anytime that we are focusing on initiatives to entice more nurses to potentially come to work in New Brunswick, I think is a positive step not only for health care but for New Brunswick in general,” said Paula Doucet.

While she applauds Horizon’s recruitment efforts, Doucet said more discussion is needed around retention.

“We can recruit as many new people in the system as possible, but if you don’t have the expertise and the experience of senior staff there to really help guide them, it becomes a greater struggle,” she said. “We need to talk about ways to retain our staff that is around.”

She said nurses are “on the brink of burnout everywhere,” which is causing many to leave the profession, retire early, or work reduced hours.

Dr. Mark MacMillan, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, said robust recruitment strategies are essential.

“We are currently in the midst of the human health resources crisis and recruitment is a very key component of trying to get out of that crisis,” he said.

MacMillan said the province is an attractive place to live and work for health-care professionals.

“There’s lots of pluses to come work in New Brunswick,” he said. “We have wonderful colleagues and away from work you have a wonderful place to live with reasonable housing costs and a beautiful province to explore.”

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