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Helping rural hospitals overcome staff shortages to serve their community better

Helping rural hospitals overcome staff shortages t
Photo: Rural hospitals
Merridee Seiboth, Director of Nursing & Midwifery for the Loxton Hospital Complex in South Australia, discusses the challenges that rural hospitals face in recruiting staff and how the Australian Government-funded Rural Locum Assistance Program (Rural LAP) helps them overcome staff shortages to serve their community better.

Please click here to watch the video or read the transcript below.

“I'm Merridee Seiboth. I'm the Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the Loxton Hospital.

Loxton Hospital is a small rural Hospital in the heart of the Riverland area in South Australia. We're a very dynamic rural Hospital.

We have an after-hours casualty service. We have maternity services. We have surgical services, general medical services. We have a co-located aged care facility as well.
There are many areas across rural South Australia, as well as nationally, that face challenges today about recruiting staff in a rural community.

Often staff feel that they can't take leave as frequently as perhaps they're due to take leave because they don't want to put the service at risk if we're having any difficulties.

So we need to be creative at how we ensure that our local staff are well cared for and that's where Rural LAP comes in.

One of the benefits as a manager is knowing that it's a federally funded initiative. It's great to know that the staff cost no more than the staff that we're already providing, so that provides an equal platform for all staff and I think that's really important.

The staff that come choose to come here and I think that is a great benefit. They want to be here, they bring with them a professionalism that they're willing to share, are aware of our needs, they have background and one of the other benefits is we often get recurring staff coming back.

Rural LAP are also able to provide a wide variety of skillsets: the acute care, the maternity, the casualty and outpatients.

But we've recently been utilising Rural LAP for our aged care facility. And so we've been really pleased to have the support of Rural LAP in providing registered nurses for our aged care facility and they come with the skills and the understanding of the needs of our elderly citizens.

They know that we're here to serve the community and when Rural LAP staff come, they join in that team”.


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