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Quirky campaign to woo US emergency doctors

Media Release

Date: 5 October 2012

Quirky campaign to woo US emergency doctors

Viscom crew Bee Pears (communications), Jeremy Tritt (design) and Andre Chivell (web) with the lightweight banners ready for Jenni Yeates to take to the States today. Absent: Mark Forster-King (photography).

Snorkels, skis and stethoscopes don’t usually belong together, but for a recruitment campaign in Colorado next week, Emergency Department doctors have been strutting their recreational gear in front of Waikato DHB’s photographers.

More than 6,000 emergency physicians will be in Denver, Colorado for the 2012 American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly from 8 to 11 October – and it’s a great opportunity to persuade some of them to come and work in the Waikato.

The annual ACEP conference is a huge event and involves two concentrated days of conference sessions plus a parallel ‘trade fair’ with many hundreds of stands trying to catch the eyes of conference attendees.

Clinical director John Bonning and clinical nurse manager Jenni Yeates and duty nurse manager Jenny Wolfe will be at the Waikato Hospital Emergency Department stand as well as attending some conference sessions.

John and Jenni worked with the DHB’s web, photography, design and communications team to come up with a quirky visual theme featuring ED doctors in half-work, half-play gear. The resulting banners and website images feature John Bonning (mountain bike and skiing “scrubs”), and senior registrars Mary Reed (snorkel and fins) and Gaynor Prince (waterskis), and an invitation to work and play in a beautiful corner of the world.

Conference attendees with smart phones can use the QR code on the banners to link directly to web pages specially created for the campaign. “We are starting to use more social media techniques to help get the message out there. This conference was a perfect case to use QR codes to drive potential candidates to the information they require by using their mobile devices“, says Viscom webmaster Andre Chivell.

For the Viscom team, it was an opportunity to show what they can do with a small budget and plenty of imagination in a tight time frame.

“Once we knew what John and Jenni wanted, we brainstormed ideas and came up with the concept of our real emergency doctors wearing their recreational gear,” says communications consultant Bee Pears.

“We want to show Waikato ED as being a fresh, individual, energetic type of place, with people you can talk to easily and become friends with. We hope the unusual images will make passing doctors take a second glance. It’s a very Kiwi look. It’s fun and it’s different.

“But the biggest asset at the stand will be John, Jenni and Jenny – they are the ‘real deal’ and will be doing a great job to inspire doctors to come here.”

It’s the second year running that Waikato DHB Emergency Department have had a presence at the ACEP conference to help recruit emergency physicians to Waikato Hospital. Last year’s effort resulted in US physician Mitch Cordover joining the hospital’s emergency department team for seven months – an experience he enjoyed so much that he has contributed a presentation to this year’s recruitment drive at the conference and on Waikato DHB’s website.

“We don’t necessarily expect American doctors to migrate here permanently. We are happy for them to come for a year or so and enjoy it – like an OE, says Jenni Yeates. “Maybe they decide to stay longer or maybe not, but if they love it they will tell others about us and so our pool of recruits will grow,”


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