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Margaret Melanson is the interim president and CEO of the Horizon Health Network. Image: Brad Perry

Horizon Health continues work on recruitment, retention

By Brad Perry Mar 18, 2024 | 6:09 AM

Recruitment and retention efforts appear to be paying off at the Horizon Health Network.

The health authority projects a 7.9 per cent turnover rate this year, down from 8.6 per cent last year.

Gail Lebel, vice-president and chief human resources officer, said that works out to about 200 fewer people leaving.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to put a price on turnover. Some people say it’s the cost of somebody’s salary, some people say it’s half the cost of somebody’s salary, but that reduction is very significant,” Lebel said during a recent Horizon board meeting.

Lebel said the drop has not been as much on the registered nurse front. They are projecting 31 fewer RNs to leave this year compared to last, a drop of 0.1 percentage point.

However, the chief human resources officer said focused recruitment efforts have led to an overall increase in the number of RNs working with Horizon.

They are expecting a net gain of 258 RNs in the 2023-24 fiscal year, compared to 183 in 2022-23 and just two in 2021-22.

Horizon has a target of hiring 708 registered nurses this fiscal year. As of last week, they had hired 617 RNs or about 87 per cent of their target.

A total of 283 licensed practical nurses have been hired this year or about 85 per cent of Horizon’s target of 334.

On the physician front, the health authority said there have been more than 150 new hires and 25 exits this fiscal year, compared to just under 80 new hires last year.

Margaret Melanson, interim president and CEO, said she believes their aggressive marketing strategies are one of the key factors.

“Physicians now, I believe, are looking for as much as a practice environment, they’re looking for a quality of life,” said Melanson.

“I do believe, by marketing not just our opportunities but marketing truly the New Brunswick lifestyle, we have been able to have very good success. Everyone doesn’t want to work in downtown Toronto.”

Horizon has also hired four physician-specific recruiters and a physician recruitment manager to help with those recruitment efforts.