Beverlee Barr is the Quesnel Health Care Recruitment Co-ordinator, helping new health care professionals feel welcome in the city. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel’s health care recruitment earns praise

Beverlee Barr, the Health Care Recruitment Co-ordinator, presented to the hospital district Aug. 21

Quesnel’s doctor recruitment efforts were given high grades by their regional peers.

The Quesnel Health Care Recruitment Co-ordinator, Beverlee Barr, presented to the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District on Aug. 21, detailing her efforts to welcome health care workers to the community.

“I’m jealous,” 100 Mile House Director Mitch Campsall said. “It makes the rest of our communities look bad.”

Barr said finding housing for new workers is one of her biggest challenges.

“The Quesnel rental vacancy rate is around zero, and most families choose to rent initially,” she said. “Once clients are in their rental, I help them problem solve.”

Since starting in January of 2019, Barr said she has worked hard to foster relationships with landlords and property owners, who now reach out in advance if they have a spot available.

There is even a furnished apartment available to workers for short-term stays. Barr said the apartment has been occupied for 14 of the last 16 months.

“I think it’s been a big difference maker for those arriving,” she said. “A lot of the doctors don’t want to leave when they get [to the apartment].”

READ MORE: City of Quesnel will try subletting apartment to health care professionals for one year

After a doctor is set to arrive, Barr’s work begins. She assembles a welcome basket with local goods, helps organize airport pickup and gives advice on vehicle and furniture shopping. She even set up an emergency dental appointment for a new worker.

“The first few months can be so exhausting for a new doc,” she said. “There’s so much to learn, so quickly.”

Barr said her job changed completely when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“COVID-19 has forced all of us to improvise and adapt, which is challenging in a program like this, which is really about outreach and connection, but I’m finding ways to outreach safely,” she said.

Barr put together updates on business closures and gave local travel recommendations.

Barr added she expects a new doctor to arrive in Quesnel in the fall.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s program to attract and retain new residents

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