Running the Recruitment Fair Gauntlet
Recruitment fairs are commonplace in my neck of the woods. Communities are looking for doctors, and are eager to lure new grads to check out what they have to offer. This can range anywhere from free housing to locum physicians to incentive grants and pens with the community's name embossed on them. Woo-hoo.
Last week, we had a local one. It was restricted to communities from the north, so not as broad a scope as the annual "Physician Recruitment Fair" that tours the academic centres in southern Ontario every fall. As I am still unsure of what my future holds, I decided to attend. And since he gets as much say in it as I do, Mr. Couz came along. And we brought The Bean, which was our excuse to make a speedy getaway if needed.
I was quickly reminded why I hate these things. Picture a long hallway, flanked on both sides by booths plastered with posters staffed by eager recruiters reaching out at unwitting candidates as they pass by. Sometimes they are joined by physicians from the town in question, or various local politicians or hospital CEO's. Often they have tables covered with pens, corkscrews, canvas bags and other various pieces of junk emblazoned with the community's name.
According to Mr. Couz, I am far too polite at these things. I was really only interested in two particular communities... towns that were large enough to have an emergency department that had dedicated emergentologists (as an aside, I'm not sure if that's a word... in Quebec, however, I'd be an 'urgentologue') rather than family doctors who staffed the emerg. Plus Mr. Couz and I have a longstanding agreement about how far away from our families we're willing to be. Our view is that if we're going to be far enough that air travel is required to see them, we might as well move to Victoria where the cherry blossoms bloom and the weather is perfect all year round.
In spite of the fact that we went to the event with the intention of just speaking with those two communities about their return-of-service agreements and whether or not they're hiring this year, I managed to get waylaid by nearly every small community in attendance. And I always feel compelled to politely hear them out, even if I have no intention of moving my family to whatever godforsaken place they're selling.
I don't know why these things make me so damned uncomfortable. I feel bad for the communities trying so desperately to recruit doctors. It's one of those things that makes me feel guilty for not practicing family medicine. But I know I'm not what they're wanting.