3RNet Blog

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We’re celebrating National Rural Health Day and the #powerofrural by celebrating rural facilities who have been successful in their recruitment efforts. Recruiting health care providers can be a challenge—especially in rural areas. So, we're recognizing rural facilities for their recruitment excellence! Today we're highlighting McKenzie River Clinic in Blue River, Oregon. McKenzie River Clinic was able to recruit a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner through 3RNet! Congrats!

Read more about their community, facility, and what they believe makes them successful in their recruitment efforts:
Tell us a bit about McKenzie River Clinic.
The McKenzie River Clinic is Oregon’s first federally qualified Rural Health Clinic and has been in continuous operation for forty years. It is a well-respected, vital part of a rural community in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Total patient load averages about 2,500 patient visits annually.

The McKenzie River Valley is known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreation, including whitewater rafting, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, ski areas, and good boating lakes. The McKenzie Community Track & Field, near the Clinic, hosts track meets as well as year-round fitness classes. Tokatee Golf Course is open to all. Community activities include art festivals, chainsaw festivals, driftboat events, and community potlucks. The McKenzie River School system offers K-12 levels and small class size, on a small campus in Blue River. It’s a 35-mile drive to Springfield and Eugene, the closest cities.

Our rural community has a mix of all income levels, year-round and summer residents, and all ages, although it has a higher proportion of retirees and older people than nearby Eugene. A significant percentage of our patients are on Medicare, Medicaid, or subsidized insurance plans.

Why do people enjoy working at McKenzie River Clinic?
We live in a small community and that adds to the friendly atmosphere in our clinic.  We know most of our patients and we can address them as not only clients but as friends as well.  “I like being immersed in the community.”  “The variety of what I get to do and see is great.” “Feels like I am able to give back to my neighbors.”

Why do you think you’ve been successful with your recruitment efforts?
We considered the qualities that might be drawbacks for some people, and advertised them as our strengths. Our community is rural and remote—we highlighted our excellent whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and hiking. Our community is small, with an aging population—we described the chance to build strong patient-provider relationships, including patient education about prevention and management of chronic conditions.

When our candidate flew out to visit us, our usually blue skies were filled with smoke from forest fires. The school had cancelled classes because of poor air quality, and it was being used as an evacuation center. This was not the picture I wanted our candidate to see. I told her that she could see how our community pulled together in a crisis and helped each other out. The school principal gave our candidate a tour of the closed school.

We welcomed the candidate’s new ideas about improving patient care and promised her full support in implementing those ideas at our clinic.

How does McKenzie River use 3RNet in their recruitment efforts?
As an independent nonprofit clinic, we signed up directly for 3RNet.org. We knew about 3RNet.org through our Oregon Office of Rural Health and Stacy Reed, program manager for recruitment and retention. Stacy had talked with the candidate we eventually hired, had an idea she might be a good match for our clinic, and referred her to us.

Recruiting can be hard. What advice would you give to others trying to recruit?
Put some effort into your listing. Use photos and describe the qualities that make your community unique. Rural communities and clinics across the country are very different from each other. Be honest; you’ll have a better chance of getting someone who is a good fit. Be open to new ideas your candidate brings. Ask what they would like to see and do during their visit.  For example:  do they want to meet with a realtor, meet with patients, the current providers, Board members, etc.  We hosted our candidate in one of our homes and it offered down time to chat and get a real sense of who we were.


A few staff members from McKenzie River Clinic.

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