Hearing services calls out for audiologist

Amid a national shortage, Yukon hearing services is seeking a new audiologist. Nevertheless, Rochelle Zral, audiologist and supervisor of hearing…

Amid a national shortage, Yukon hearing services is seeking a new audiologist.

Nevertheless, Rochelle Zral, audiologist and supervisor of hearing services, isn’t worried the shortage of trained audiologists will hinder the process of recruiting a new specialist in Whitehorse.

“We have a shortage nationally, but if we find an applicant we will be fine, we will be back up to speed very quickly — just like we have been ticking along these past few years,” said Zral.

 “Things have been going along just fine; we’ve hit a little speed bump right now, but I suspect everything should rebound real quick.”

Having two audiologists in the territory is enough, said Zral.

“It’s definitely busy, but we certainly don’t have any waiting lists when there is two of us,” she said.

But there is a wait with just one audiologist.

“There is a bit of a wait time for sure, you can’t phone today and book for tomorrow, but we’re seeing people as quickly as we can and we’re shuffling quite a few patients in a day,” said Zral.

Audiology requires a masters of science degree. In Canada, there are three English schools and two French schools that offer a program.

Zral estimated those schools graduate a total of about 45 students a year.

“There’s heavy competition to recruit those people that are being put out,” she said.

“The North is almost an attractant for some people, so I don’t think we’re going to have any problem.”

The audiologist spot became vacant at the end of November and hearing services has been advertising nationally.

The recruitment period will end February 2 and, hopefully, somebody new will start soon after that, said Zral.

 An audiologist is trained in hearing and balance disorders.

They assess hearing difficulties, select and fit hearing aids and design and implement rehabilitation strategies for hard-of-hearing clients

An audiologist can also specialize in occupational audiology and will do noise assessments.

Some may specialize in balance disorders.

They also conduct referral services to speech and language pathologists.

“Our scope of practice is pretty broad because we are the only clinic in the Yukon, so we sort of have to take on a little bit of everything,” said Zral.

Union hashes out

new contact for YTG employees

By Leighann Chalykoff

News Reporter

More than 4,000 Yukon government employees are working without a formal contract as the government and Yukon Employees’ Union negotiate a new collective agreement.

The current four-year contract expired on December 31.

“The understanding and intention of the agreement is that it stays in place until a new contract is negotiated,” said the union’s vice-president Loralee Kesler.

“Everything that’s in there remains in force for both sides.”

The union started pre-bargaining talks with the government on January 8.

More talks are scheduled for January 29, 30 and 31, and in February and March.

“Bargaining is a process, and negotiations are a process,” said Kesler.

“We are, in fact, very pleased with the schedule and the pace that we have right now,” she said.

The employees union will release progress reports, including details about items agreed to by both sides, after they are signed-off by both parties.

Yukon government union members interested in learning more about the bargaining process can call the office at 667-2331 or visit its website at www.yeupsac.com.

The Yukon Teachers’ Association ratified its collective agreement in April.

Under its three-year deal, which expires on June 30, 2009, the association’s 700 members will see a three-per-cent general wage increase in each year of their contract, among other changes.

Whitehorse has ratified its collective agreement, although the terms have not yet been made public, said city administrative services director Robert Fendrick.

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