Jo Trezise commenced in her role as the new Director of Nursing for the ‘Joyce Palmer Health Service’ on North Queensland’s remote Palm Island on the 8th of April.

The Hospital was named after a well-loved health worker who dedicated 40 years of her life to supporting and improving the health of the Palm Island community, leaving a wonderful legacy and very big shoes to fill in the minds and hearts of the 3000 people who call Palm Island home.

Due to the complex and challenging nature of the work, the remote location and the very specific expertise required to be successful in the Director of Nursing role, the right candidate was not easy to find.

Liza Tomlinson, the Service Director of the Indigenous Health Services Division within the Townsville Hospital and Health Service (THHS) engaged a recruitment agency for the first time for this role after traditional recruitment methods had failed to identify a suitable candidate.  Liza observed that when recruiting roles in regional and remote locations, “Senior leadership roles are often the hardest to source.”

Liza heard how Davidson had successfully undertaken a number of very challenging assignments for them, including securing the ideal person for the ‘Executive Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Health’ and also placing outstanding candidates in the ‘Executive Director, Digital Health and Knowledge Management’ and ‘Service Group Director – Surgical’ roles.

“Because Palm Island is a remote Aboriginal community and because Davidson took the time to understand the critical elements of what we thought were the important things the individual needed, including the community expectations around those individuals, and also because Davidson had demonstrated experience in this space, I saw a synergy.” Liza engaged Davidson Exec & Boards on the strength of their track record in placing exceptional candidates into challenging roles in remote locations.

 Principal Consultant Marcus Engeman from the Davidson Executive & Boards team in Queensland recalled his approach to candidate attraction and selection.  “Due to the really specific criteria for the role, I knew it was going to be a very special candidate that would be successful in this role.  Initially, I reached out to over two hundred people with experience working in remote indigenous communities, assessing their interest in and suitability for the role. I spoke to over 50 potential candidates, drilling down into their experience to understand whether they had the right blend of nursing and management experience, resilience and cultural awareness to be successful in the role.  When I spoke to Jo, I knew she was an exceptional candidate, having proven experience and very positive relationships in the remote communities she had previously worked.

I was thrilled when she was successful in the interview process and offered the role and I’ve since spoken to Jo and she is incredibly excited to take on this opportunity, which has huge potential to make a positive impact on the health of the Island’s population.”

“I would describe the experience as very professional.” Says Jo, “Marcus was not only there to support the employer and find the best person for the role, but also to provide me with valuable information which was exactly what I required to ensure I was going to be a good fit for the position.

Even after commencing my new role, Marcus continues to correspond and support my transition, which I have found to be invaluable. I cannot fault the experience I had with my Davidson consultant and I would highly recommend the process.”

 $16.5 million has been spent on vital infrastructure for the Island’s 3000 people in the last two years, including the construction and opening of the ‘Primary Care Centre’, a purpose-built hub for improving mental, physical and social well-being in the community.  This facility will enable early engagement with the health service for the Island’s population, playing an integral role in primary health and prevention.

There will also be a new business and retail precinct opening soon in the same location, comprising six shops, providing the community access to services including a hairdresser, pharmacy, café, and takeaway food, as well as offering local employment opportunities.

Davidson and the Indigenous Health Services Division within the THHS wish Jo all the best in the Director of Nursing role and look forward to seeing improved health outcomes as a result of her leadership and the additional resources available to the residents of the Island.