The Petersburg Hospital Board of Directors heard the overview of a survey completed this year in order to see how Petersburg rates with the rest of the state for physician recruitment during its regular meeting Thursday evening.
A representative of Solstice Family Care, Barb Doty, presented the survey to the board.
Doty explained that Petersburg compared very well in many areas with the 15 other cities which were surveyed.
“Regarding geographic location,” Doty said. “Petersburg rated very well and better than many others that participated.”
She also said that the Petersburg City School system was a large plus for the recruitment of new personnel.
“It is shown that if you can get a new recruit to come into the community for at least 36 months, they are more likely to stay a very long time,” Doty stated. “Advancing into that first year with someone new to the community may really pay off long term.”
In the comparison of economic development Petersburg came in very high as well.
“In regards to income guarantee, moving allowance, sign on bonus makes Petersburg a strong competitor for recruitment,” Doty said. “With this type of payoff and strength, Petersburg can recruit a candidate that is looking at four or five different places in the state.”
She also explained that the organization can more than likely save money on turnover due to the possibility of retainment of future physicians and medical personnel.
“The cost of recruiting, especially for physicians, can be very expensive,” Doty stated. “The last thing you want to do is recruit someone that doesn't fit well and doesn't stay long because then you will be turning around and recruiting again and that is very difficult for a community.”
The survey shows that Petersburg is a very strong community that really responds to physicians, with a great school system and a strong economy.
“This is an opportunity to speak to a young physician, or a physician with a young family,” Doty stated. “These are the ones that are beginning their careers and can be looked at for a long term position.”
Petersburg rates high in the work force area. “This is a strong workforce driven community,” Doty stated. “The ability to work is high in this community, and you have a strong mental health support system.”
The score for the nursing workforce was low due to the amount of travelers that are employed in Petersburg at this time.
“Maintaining an adequate fully staffed nursing workforce can be a contributing factor,” Doty stated. “Petersburg has a high quality and hard working workforce in its nurses, but there just aren't enough of them for a rural community.”
In regards to community support and plans for capital projects, Petersburg rated fairly lower than some of the other cities surveyed.
“This rating could possibly be because many of the other cities are building brand new facilities,” Doty stated. “It doesn't mean anything is inadequate, it is just saying that you are not at a development stage at this time.”
The top ten variance factors comparing Petersburg with the rest of the state, and the strengths are: signing bonuses, internet capabilities, opportunities to interact with mid-levels, opportunities to teach, perception of the community of what it means to support a physician in the community, mental health support, moving allowance and income guarantee. “This could be a very attractive place for a new graduate,” Doty stated.
The largest challenges for Petersburg are: emergency room coverage and call coverage, specialist availability, referral of native versus non-native and rural versus more urban locations. “There could be a way to streamline the system a bit though and change this factor,” Doty stated. “This is not an urban area survey, so Petersburg is not being compared to a city such as Juneau or Fairbanks.”
Solstice Family Care recommends that this survey be repeated and compared with this one in order to get an accurate look at the true rating of Petersburg as a community and a possible recruiting location.