By David Chilton
Special to the Toronto Sun
The federal government may be cool to the provincial premiers' recent suggestion of a national pharmacare program, but that hasn't -- and won't -- lessen the demand for pharmacists.
| HELEN ZIEGLER
Looking for pharmacists
Wal-Mart Canada, for one, has hired Helen Ziegler and Associates in Toronto to recruit pharmacists from Britain and South Africa to cope with shortages in the profession.
Helen Ziegler herself won't say how many pharmacists her firm has been hired to bring to Canada, but given the size of the retailer's presence here -- there are 12 Wal-Mart pharmacies listed in the Toronto phone book alone -- the numbers could be substantial.
Everyone wants nurses
But it's not just pharmacists who are in demand. Everyone wants nurses, of course, whether they're fresh out of school or have specialized in obstetrics, palliative care, intensive care or any other discipline.
As Andrea Ziegler, president of medhunters.com, says, "To fill an intensive care unit position in Ontario is extremely difficult."
Tanpreet Sachar, a recruitment specialist for Comcare Health Services, agrees that employment prospects are bright for registered nurses and registered practical nurses, a view backed up by evidence from medhunters.com.
For instance, of the 25 healthcare-related vacancies at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga that were posted on the medhunters.com website the first week of August, 14 of them were for RNs. There's also keen competition for rehabilitation specialists, Sachar adds.
Another occupation in high demand is that of personal support worker. At an upcoming job fair in Brantford, Comcare hopes to hire 100 PSWs to fulfill new contracts, Sachar says.
Spencer Nimmons, director of business development at Spectrum Health Care, says demand for PSWs hasn't softened even though there's now a larger pool of men and women trained to provide for the infirm.
"Care has really moved out of the hospital and into the home," Nimmons says.
Kay Dryden, a human resources representative at Credit Valley Hospital, says there's a steady demand for staff at her hospital.
RNs are the largest hiring challenge, Dryden says, noting that 25 staff vacancies across all disciplines is "fairly typical."
Nor does she expect hiring to slow down. Credit Valley will open a new regional cancer centre next May, Dryden says, and is just starting to post jobs.
Registered nurses continue to be in high demand at home and abroad.
Job prospects for physical therapists and technologists in all areas are good to excellent.
In the first week of August, 36 hospitals or health care providers in Ontario had posted 838 job vacancies at medhunter.com.
A shortage of pharmacists in Canada means companies are recruiting abroad.
For the adventurous and qualified, the Gulf states offer high, tax-free salaries and multiple fringe benefits.
Later this year, the first shovels will go into the ground for Credit Valley's new Maternity and Children's regional centre, she continues, a development that will provide even more employment.
Despite the good news for many in health care, there's a smallish dark cloud hovering for others. Faith Shur, a personnel consultant at PD Bureau, a staffing agency, sees reduced prospects for medical receptionists, medical secretaries and, especially, medical transcriptionists. Shur can't pinpoint why there's been a decline, but suggests hospital cutbacks could be one reason.
High demand abroad
Although it doesn't help those with fewer prospects at home, Canadian medical personnel continue to be in high demand abroad.
Helen Ziegler has contracts for operating room nurses, x-ray technicians and physical therapists in Britain, and RNs in Canberra, the Australian capital. And, she notes, "Saudi Arabia continues to recruit everything."
As do all Gulf states. Ghassan Ibrahim,
director of International Hospital Recruitments, says there's been no lessening of demand or interest in the region despite the war in the region.
Doctors and nurses are wanted across the board, Ibrahim says, "But name it and we have jobs for it. There are constant openings."
Big brother is watching you
Jumping on the 'brand' wagon
UP & RUNNING- Build a better business than your boss
HEALTH CONNECTION- U of T hosts ALS chair
YOUTH FORCE- No Grade 12 diploma not an obstacle
Think work is boring?
THE NATIONAL JOB FAIR- A world of opportunities
THE NATIONAL JOB FAIR- A world of knowledge awaits job seekers
THE NATIONAL JOB FAIR- Put your best foot forward
THE NATIONAL JOB FAIR- Maximize your prospects