Testimonials

Trust yourself, follow your heart and go for it! February 2022


Interview with Marie-Eve Laniel-Beauchesne


Your title: Nurse clinician, CLSC
Where do you work? The Inuulitsivik Health Centre, presently at the Umiujaq CLSC
Number of years of practice: nearly 4 years in the North, 10 years as a nurse

Marie-Eve Laniel-Beauchesne has more than 10 years’ experience in nursing. She has practised in Nunavik for the past four years. An inspiring role, no? Here we learn more about Marie-Eve’s career and experience.
 

Marie-Eve Laniel-Beauchesne, why did you want to work in Nunavik?

When I was a child, I had the opportunity to visit my father many times when he was working in Radisson, La Grande, so when I became a nurse, I always wanted to come and practise here, in Nunavik. It’s been almost four years that I’ve worked as CLSC nurse clinician, in the small village of Umiujaq.
 

And now you’re a nurse with an expanded role, correct?

Yes, I began in the North in the Puvirnituq care unit before taking training on the expanded role. It’s accessible; the training only takes one month. Perfect for those who want to leave their comfort zone! Working in an expanded role means a nursing practice that differs from that in large health centres due to the fact that a physician is not always physically present with us, in the villages, during our assessments. So we assess patients, initiate treatments and perform specific techniques, depending on the patient’s state of health and according to the institution’s treatment guide. Stitching wounds, for example.
 

What do you appreciate in your professional team?

Harmony in the team—we’re like a small family—and teamwork. Without this team, I wouldn’t have spent nearly four years here. At first, I was only supposed to stay one year. We go through so many intense experiences over a short time, living together in a small community. We’re like a bunch of floating electrons that took off on an adventure and ended up in the North, chasing after the same goal: enriching our experiences as nurses and discovering a territory and its unique culture.
 

For you, what are the advantages of working in the North?

Aside from the friendships I’ve developed, I appreciate my work schedule. I chose to work part time, so I work at one-month intervals (four to five weeks of work and four to five weeks of vacation), or six months a year. If you love the outdoors like I do, you can never get enough of it in the North. It’s a vast world and territory to discover constantly. The professional possibilities and opportunities are also rich and varied.
 

Tell me a story or a particular moment you experienced as a nurse in the North.

I’ll always remember one of my patients who gave birth at the CLSC, in a small village, without midwives or physicians. Just us, four nurses. That evening the sky was dancing with the Northern Lights. Those are powerful moments. I also had the chance to provide home care and support families. When I entered one family home, they were sitting on the floor—that’s how the Inuit prepare food, seated all together in a circle—preparing the goose they had just hunted. They were quite proud to show me!
 

Complete the sentence: When I accepted this position, I never thought…

I was so multitalented!! Haha! The possibility of doing all sorts of things and in so many fields in the practice of nursing. Community health, vaccination, following up child development, mental health, pre- and postnatal follow-up, liaison, public health (tuberculosis, sexual health, COVID-19). The fields of practice can vary depending on the CLSCs. Some of them have more resources than others, such as midwives, physicians, public-health nurses…
 

Thank you! (Nakurmiik in Inuktitut ;) )

Interview with Sophal Suos, nurse in Nunavik November 2021


Your title: Nurse
Where do you work? I particularly worked at the Kuujjuaq clinic but also in all the communities on Ungava Bay.
Number of years of practice: Ten years full time in the North (since January 4, 2010). I’ve been on leave for study purposes since October 2020, and my status is now part time occasional.
 

Sophal, you’ve been working as a nurse in Nunavik for several years now. What led you to take on such a job, at the very beginning? 

My leitmotif is to discover the unknown.

My primary motivation was just that: discover the unknown. As soon as I finished my technical studies in nursing, I wanted to go to the Far North. First I gained some experience by working in the traumatology centre of the Montréal General Hospital. Then it became a matter of logic: I met some colleagues at the Montréal General Hospital who had already worked for the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre (UTHC) and they were all starry-eyed when they told me about their experiences. I applied and I got the job.
 

And now, you’re a nurse with a broadened role. What does that mean? Was it difficult to obtain?

I acquired my broadened role in May 2010, five months after my arrival. Those five months enabled me to become familiar with the culture of health care in the Far North and with the population itself. Because of the geographic distances and remoteness, the broadened role is the logical path, as it enables the six communities on Ungava Bay to receive health care as governed by collective prescriptions (applied according to a consortium of physicians, pharmacists and nurses of the Far North). The broadened role means autonomy to its full potential. It allows me, even today, although I’m working part time because I’ve returned to studies, to exercise my clinical judgment and feel like I’m accomplishing something when the patient appreciates the care provided. It isn’t difficult to obtain the status of broadened role, as the subject is interesting and stimulating. I was passionate about the training!
 

Do you think that will be useful in your career’s future?

I’m presently taking integrated training on nursing at the University of Sherbrooke. My 10 years in the North as nurse in the broadened role represent much experience and knowledge. At present, the subject matter I’ve seen at university is not new to me and the courses are far from being arduous. My objective is to obtain my bachelor’s degree and then be able to continue as nurse practitioner specialized in front-line care. My colleagues who worked in the Far North confirmed for me that the “broadened role” greatly facilitated their master’s-level studies.
 

How would you describe your work environment? And your team?

The work environment is very stimulating, both physically and intellectually. Let me explain. Working in a remote region, you’re surrounded by nature—here it’s the tundra—and it’s common to see people arrive at work on crosscountry skis or on a snowmobile. Most are passionate about the outdoors; we have that in common. This form of camaraderie therefore carries over into the health-care setting. Mutual assistance is the first term that pops into my head. In a remote setting, we’re more attentive to the fact that when one of us is sick or can’t go to work, we function as a team, we’re together in adversity! Everyone I’ve worked with puts the northern population’s health first and foremost. We all come from different workplaces and have varied professional experiences that, put together, create synergy and promote health care of good quality.
 

Over the years, have you lived the life you dreamed about?

TOTALLY. I put that in capitals because right up to the present, I’ve always been touched by the people living in Nunavik and passionate about my work. I often say we LIVE in a remote region, which means a harsh climate and therefore the requirement to keep warm, something our patients contribute to. You often hear stories about alcoholism or violence. On the other hand, I can say right now, I’ve seen so many beautiful moments that it would take several pages to describe them. I’ll simply say, in a single sentence: this population’s resilience has shown me how we can LIVE with everything as long as you keep smiling.
 

In your opinion, what are the advantages of working in the North?

For me, autonomy in my practice as nurse. Then I’d say the team. I haven’t found that anywhere else. We’re all passionate about the outdoors and adventure, chasing after the same thing. The schedule is such that we can travel, see our families and friends. After two months in the North, we have a full month of leave. I spent my first years travelling around the world, sailing in British Columbia on my sailboat that’s actually still there. This year, I’m building a log house while pursuing my studies and working part time. What job in the public sector would allow me to pursue all these life projects? I don’t see any other job where that would be possible!
 

Tell me an anecdote or moment from your life as a nurse in the North.

Without a doubt, medical evacuations by air were my exhilarating moments, and they still are! The opportunity to combine utility with fun is incredible: flying in a small aircraft (such as the Twin Otter, a bush plane, or the King Air 300) to provide care for a patient who requires more attentive care, in most cases en route to hospitalization in Kuujjuaq or Montréal, is not an everyday event.

One time, it was 9:30 in the evening, I was on duty for evacuations and I was watching a hockey game on TV. A call took me away from the game and I hurried out into glacial temperatures. We had to get an elderly patient who had breathing difficulties. We had to bring several oxygen cylinders. The flight captain severely chewed me out for having one cylinder too many. I only felt like doing one thing: refuse to speak to him until we landed. At one point during the flight, the first officer signalled to me to approach the cockpit and handed me an aviation headset. The captain wanted to apologize because he had been disappointed at missing the hockey game and explained that he had absolutely no reason to take his displeasure out on me. I smiled and we then enjoyed the most wondrous of all displays: the Northern Lights all around the plane!
 

What would you say to a nurse who is interested in a job such as yours?

If you’re interested in taking on the MOST intriguing challenges as a nurse, providing services for a northern community and especially living the most wonderful LIFE experience, the North will meet your expectations! Believe me, I’m still here!

 

Thank you!


 


Interview with a SW in youth protection: Maude-Émilie Drolet November 2021

Your title: Youth delegate (YCJA)
Number of years of practice: Three and one half in the North, five in intervention
Employer: Inuulitsivik Health Centre
 

My name is Maude-Émilie Drolet and I have worked in Nunavik for three and a half years in the village of Puvirnituq. I have had the chance to visit all the villages on the Hudson coast during those years. I worked for two years in evaluation/referral at the DYP before changing position to work as youth delegate with youths subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). In that time I also worked as clinical coordinator for intake and report processing as well as in evaluation/referral for a few months.
 

What is a typical work day for you?

There’s a lot of change and diversity from one day to the next. I communicate with my youths and check their follow-up, making sure they respect the conditions linked to their crime, perform their community work, participate in their probation follow-up. During weeks when the criminal court is held, I travel to the villages and collaborate with the attorneys and judges besides meeting with the families and youths. I explain to the latter how the legal process works. I write up presentencing reports required by the court to formulate recommendations when the youths are found guilty for certain infractions. I also follow up with detained youths besides working on their reintegration into the community.

Beyond my work as youth delegate, I often support my team when emergencies arise. I also perform crisis intervention when necessary.
 

How would you describe the situations you encounter in youth protection in Nunavik?

The situations are often in a context of crisis intervention with the various collaborators. We intervene in situations with unbalanced, vulnerable families. For us that means moving, emotional moments with the clientele. It takes some time to establish a relationship of trust with the community, but once established, we’re able to work with the families on their difficulties to make sure the children are safe.
 

Do you feel you’re making a real difference?

I know I’m doing my best and hope my interventions or follow-up make a difference. My goal is to be honest and available for my clients by offering them the best possible support. Because I’m aware that our realities are not the same, I try to support them the best way I can. I also learn very much from them.
 

Is there a lot of support among colleagues? 

During an emergency, we quickly see the power of the team; each member supports the others. As we all live with the same reality at work and outside of it, we can easily support one another during the more difficult moments. Each one in turn can feel extenuated or stressed, but it is always possible to count on the others’ presence. In the communities with smaller teams, we develop stronger ties with our partners and collaborators for support.
 

What are you learning from this work?

I had just finished my master’s when I arrived in the North, and I was still mostly immersed in the theoretical aspects. I definitely had to adapt my work and my methods. This experience especially helps me develop personally and sheds a different light on how I function.
 

For you, what are the advantages of working in the North?

Aside from meeting extraordinary persons and discovering a fascinating culture, the working conditions are quite advantageous. The number of weeks of vacation allow for travel and the salary is sufficient for setting money aside for other projects. For me, this is an opportunity for ‘international-style” social work but in my own province.
 

Tell me a story or a particular moment you experienced at work.

One of the most powerful moments was in March 2021, when the Ivakkak dogsled race ended in Puvirnituq. I’d never seen so many persons at once, greeting the first teams, with the Puvirnituq team in front. The ground was shaking with the people’s cries and excitement at seeing the first team arrive. A feeling of pride and belonging came over me. I was part of a community and I was experiencing a unique and memorable moment. We—the entire team—all went together and we happened to run into our clients. Everyone was out together to celebrate the final, with no distinction between clients and interveners. It was a magical moment I’ll never forget!!
 

Complete the sentence: When I accepted this position, I never thought I:

- would develop such solid friendships and unforgettable memories;
- would fall in love with Inuit culture;
- would buy a four-wheeler and make it my primary means of transportation.
 

A parting word?

Although the work is demanding, it’s an incredible experience that I’ll never regret. I’ve met a welcoming and funny people, a culture that made me reconsider my way of thinking besides creating exceptional friendships. In a way, my heart will always belong to the magnificent northern territory that is Nunavik. All it takes is a bit of time to appreciate everything it has to offer.
 

Thank you!


Interview with a SW from Youth Protection: Margot Ruiz November 2021


Moving to a new continent for a new professional and personal experience is an adventure many embark upon. Margot Ruiz did not expect to end up in Nunavik, where she is now raising her family and working as head examiner in the Department of Youth Protection of the Inuulitsivik Health Centre. What has she gained from her experiences? Learn more about her in this interview.
 

Margot Ruiz, head examiner for youth protection of the Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, tells us about her work. 

I’ve been working at the Puvirnituq DYP for six years now. Time flies. As a newly arrived foreigner in Canada, I saw many job ads for Nunavik. I had no idea what I was getting into or where I would end up. In 2015 I decided to take the leap and apply.
 

How would you describe the situations you encounter in youth protection in Nunavik?

They’re daily challenges. We go through intense interventions and moments, both good and bad. It’s true that we’re confronted with human and social misery but it’s important not to forget that we also meet wonderful families and witness fine values and especially wonderful cultural traditions. This open door to the families is in fact a privilege.
 

What is a normal day at work for you?

That’s the thing, there’s really no such thing as a normal day. Our day-to-day is filled with surprises, sudden developments, emergencies and the unexpected. Nevertheless, we try hard to be organized and plan ahead, but life here consists of unexpected things. That’s actually what we like most. Even though we might complain sometimes, it only takes 24 hours with no emergencies for me to feel bored!
 

What is your daily life like outside of work?

Well… for my part, I have a baby and another on the way! So free time is quite rare. However, and I insist, it is essential to take the time. Life in the North is not all work, although sometimes it can seem to occupy so much of our time. It’s so important to have a life, a real one, outside of work. After six years, I have a solid network of friends who are in fact my northern family. We organize dinners often, spontaneous evenings. That’s another thing, the beauty of the North, it’s never complicated to organize a dinner together, campfires, camping in the summer to watch the Northern Lights or crosscountry skiing in midwinter when it’s -50!
 

Complete the sentence: When I accepted this job, I never thought: 

- I would cool off a baby bottle by going outside and getting some snow
- I would struggle through a blizzard at -60 with two babies in my arms because the car wouldn’t start
- I would fall in love with Nunavik au to the point of raising my children here
 

Thank you!


Interview with a SW in youth protection: Gabrielle Tremblay November 2021

Gabrielle’s love for Nunavik is no recent story. This social worker’s path to her dream job and preferred lifestyle was a step-by-step process. Learn about her passion in this interview.
 

Gabrielle, your first job in the North was as a nanny?

Yes! My beginnings in the North are somewhat unusual. In 2016, I began working as nanny for an adorable family; the parents are both employees of youth protection of the Inuulitsivik Health Centre (IHC). I often heard them talking about their work, and I found it inspiring!

I was a nanny for two and a half years. At the same time, I was completing my studies by correspondence. With diploma in hand, I was torn between leaving this family and starting my career. But I went ahead. I therefore started part time as external educator and I haven’t left the North since. I’m now a specialist in clinical activities.

I have to say I’ve fallen totally in love with the North. The landscapes, climate, rhythm of life, population, culture, etc. I don’t feel like ever leaving this place.
 

What does a specialist in clinical activities do?

As specialist in clinical activities, I provide field support for interveners and train new ones. We assess the child’s and family’s situation to find the best intervention possible, culturally adapted, to respond to the child’s needs. We find solutions. We need to be creative in order to compensate for the crying lack of resources in Nunavik.

Between our daily tasks, the unexpected and emergencies, no two days are ever alike or without challenges. It’s very stimulating and gratifying work.
 

What is a typical day like? 

One thing is certain, here we’re never bored! A typical day is filled with unexpected developments, meetings with our clients, notes, laughing, singing (yes, we sometimes sing in the vehicle on our way to see a client or going from one office to another for a meeting ). There are moments charged with positive emotions and sometimes more difficult moments. We create strong ties with our clients and their families, with our work colleagues, and together we get through what each day brings.
 

How would you describe the situations you encounter in youth protection in Nunavik? 

We deal with all sorts of situations. The families we work with face challenges and are going through difficult times. Whether in Nunavik, Québec City or Saint-Alphonse, the DYP assumes a role of protection for the children under its responsibility, who generally come from families dealing with challenges. This can lead to a multitude of different situations. In general, once they get to know you and trust you, the people we work with are welcoming, honest, sensitive, strong, accepting and warm, and they like to laugh.[KP(2] 

There are situations where we meet with a child, his parents, the entire extended family. There are interventions in emergency situations required to ensure a child’s safety. We accompany clients to all sorts of appointments, we visit them at home or meet them in our offices. Right until the file is closed!

As our intervention is very intrusive in people’s family lives, emotions often run high. And understandably, as a child or her parents as well as the extended family can sometimes be very open to cooperation and appreciative of our services, just as sometimes they can be very frustrated or fearful and so forth. One thing is sure, the bonds that form during the course of intervention and follow-up are solid. Some families can even be disappointed when we tell them that their file will be closed.
 

Is the work always very busy?

I’d say it comes in waves. There are quieter weeks when we barely do any overtime and others when we feel overwhelmed.

We spend our free time camping in the tundra, organizing dinners with friends, playing board games in the evenings, sitting around campfires, going out four-wheeling or snowmobiling. Personally, I enjoy visiting what we call “Canadian Tire,” the town dump. There I look for wood, parts for recreational vehicles and plenty of other little treasures that are still in good shape. With the wood or salvaged parts, in my free time I like building wooden furniture or repairing my snowmobile.
 

What do you have to say about your colleagues, or the support you receive on site?

I work with people with hearts of gold! And our strength is our teamwork. We are a very close-knit team: we have fun together, other times we pull up our sleeves and share the efforts. Our service heads provide us with much support; trust and respect are the basis for our professional relations.
 

Tell me a story or a particular moment you experienced at work.

I’ll always remember the time when we had to intervene with several siblings. We had to spend a few nights in the office with the children because we didn’t have a foster family for them. One of the children was excessively fearful and suspicious, we couldn’t even look at him without him shaking his head no, crying, screaming and going off to hide. We had an even harder time approaching him. He refused to eat or remove his coat. At one point he tripped and hurt himself. We couldn’t even get close to him because he was too fearful and would flee from us. So I began playing with one of his older sisters. We would run around a partition that separated the kitchen from the living room. I noticed that the girl copied each of my movements. A few minutes later, the other child began following his sister, who was following me. So I added to the game: a few obstacles to get over and a spot with food. Each time I went past, I would take a mouthful. In turn, the older sister and the child in question would do the same. This game continued for some time, until it was time to go to bed. So that set me wondering, all that fear in the little child’s eyes, his mistrust, as if the multiple traumatizing events he’d experienced had stolen away his childhood. I was happy that at least everyone had finally eaten and that they had had a little bit of fun in spite of the circumstances. Today, three years later, this child is stable and his eyes have regained a spark. He says hello to me each time we see one another and I’m even treated to a sincere and spontaneous hug! It still surprises me today.
 

Do you feel you’re making a real difference?

I believe the story above best answers that question.

I truly believe we’re making a difference. There are times when we pour ourselves body and soul into our work and don’t get the hoped-for results. Then there are all the other times when our intervention has an impact and yet we’ll never know.

With time, we also understand that we aren’t here to save anyone. Our work aims to protect, safeguard, end the child’s present situation of compromise. We’re here to support, provide resources, accompany, sometimes teach, but it is just as important to respect our clients’ pace, accept them for who they are along with their present situation, all without judging, with benevolence.

So, this difference has what impact, what extent? It’s up to the clients to judge. “Making a difference” doesn’t always go as we would have liked at the beginning of our career. But we’ll never be the ones who will make the biggest difference in the lives of the children we meet. It’s their parents and their families.
 

For you, what are the advantages of working in the North?

The list is long. One advantage is quick and easy access to the outdoors, with the fauna and flora so different from what we’re used to. Another is the discovery of such a rich, amazing and lively culture. The different pace of life. Creating new friends who, over time, become your northern family. Sharing knowledge, values and morals. Winter as it should be, with plenty of snow, long summer nights when the sun doesn’t quite go down, the transparency and honesty of the people here, the simplicity of things, the human contact that is still very present. Here, like when we were children, people don’t have a cell network, conversations go on around the table. You don’t always call before visiting a friend. You arrive and you enter, it’s that simple.
 

Are you satisfied with your choice of job?

Satisfied is a euphemism. I can’t imagine myself being anywhere other than here.
 

Thank you!

Albert Roy: Nunavik Pharmacist October 2021


Albert Roy, ejoying the scenery of Torngat Mountains National Park, on a few days off work.



“Working in Kuujjuaq gave me the chance to broaden my field of practice.”

Albert Roy has been pharmacist at the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre for more than four years. Based at the hospital in Kuujjuaq, the largest village of Nunavik, Mr. Roy is among a handful of pharmacists who have helped ensure that the local population receives appropriate pharmaceutical services. Quite the job, you might say! We met with this amateur of wide open spaces and adventure to learn more about his practice in Nunavik, and here we share our conversation with you.
 

Mr. Roy, you’ve been working with the UTHC pharmacy for some years now. What originally led you to take on the job?

I had already been doing replacements in several regions of the province when I arrived in Nunavik for the first time in March 2017. I’ve always had a taste for adventure and I was looking for a new professional challenge. I was interested in many sectors, including management and hospital pharmacies, but I decided not to pursue my studies toward a master’s in advanced pharmacotherapy. Working in Kuujjuaq gave me the chance to broaden my field of practice.
 

How would you describe your work environment?

We’re a small team, but the clinical practice is very stimulating, as the medical teams rely on us enormously. The environment can be unpredictable, so you need a good capacity to adapt and be flexible.
 

What can you say about pharmacy work in Nunavik compared to a similar position elsewhere in Québec?

The environment is unique: besides practising in a remote region with limited resources, you need to be able to ensure services both at the community pharmacy and at the hospital. But the proximity with other professionals really facilitates the work. What really makes the place authentic is the population. We have much to learn from the Inuit. They’re a very endearing people! The culture and the language can be barriers, but you adapt.
 

Tell us a story from your practice.

There are many, but a number of times I’ve been required to travel to the other Ungava communities to optimize pharmaceutical care. I was in Wakeham Bay for observation, where a patient was intubated. As the villages do not have a permanent pharmacist, I found myself actively participating in the intubation, checking doses and preparing medications. Resourcefulness is essential in an environment like ours!
 

What challenge or challenges are you proud of having dealt with successfully? What northern experience or experiences have improved your own practice?

In 2018, I became acting head pharmacist while my colleagues were on parental leave. With my limited experience, managing a full department with an unstable team was, for me, a huge task. Finding myself outside my comfort zone, I was forced to develop a solid capacity for problem solving. It was an extreme learning situation, in terms of both project management and human-resources management.
 

What are the main advantages of practising in Nunavik?

Nunavik is a little known region, but it’s one of the most beautiful in Québec. Living here daily is a privilege. The four months of vacation and the enhanced salary are also considerable advantages, but it’s especially the quality of life that’s unmatched.
 


Over the years, have you led the life you’d hoped for?

Beyond my expectations! Work led me here, but it’s life outside the pharmacy which has kept me here all these years. Besides unimaginable outdoor expeditions, it’s the people I’ve met who have marked me the most. I have a second family, because the friendships I’ve developed are so lasting.
 

What would you say to the pharmacist who might take your place?

Don’t hesitate, take the leap. For an extraordinary experience in the North, you have to jump right in. There is much to learn from experiences in the Far North!


Thank you Mr. Roy!

The first nutritionist at Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre November 2017

Four years ago, on a summer evening spent on a Montréal patio, a friend told me about a position for a nutritionist posted for the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre.

My first reaction was “What? Move and work in the Far North? No, that’s too far away for me, my friend.”

I went home that evening and, out of curiosity, I looked up the posting online, for which the deadline for application had already come and gone.

I read and reread the job description and criteria and realized that the job corresponded exactly to my qualifications. Moreover, I realized that I would be the first nutritionist at the health centre and that my task, should I obtain the position, would be to set up the service, which would include both clinical and preventive components. This, I thought in spite of my remaining doubts, was a worthy challenge.

I discussed with my friend Carole, and she convinced me to apply and helped me draft a cover letter. Thus, and still somewhat hesitant, I applied for the position on a Sunday evening before going to bed.

And so, a few weeks later, I was hired. I have to admit, I was stressed and had not at all expected the hiring process to be so quick. In fact, I received a call from Kuujjuaq informing me of the moving details before I even received the letter announcing that I was hired. And that was how I learned I was to live and work in the Far North.

So, on the day of my departure, November 18, 2013, the agent at the First Air counter told me that there was a possibility of landing in Iqaluit rather than in Kuujjuaq due to bad weather. “What?” So what would I do? I thought maybe I would get to see a polar bear on my first day in the North. Alas, no. It would take three years before I would see one, an experience that few people have a chance of having. I also learned quickly enough that working in the Far North requires much patience and confidence given the almost omnipresent uncertainty, especially with regular travel between the villages.

From a professional point of view, when you work in the Far North, you constantly face psychosocial challenges such as the high suicide rate, consumption problems, the housing problem and certain medical problems, tuberculosis being one example. However, as nutritionist, I must admit that the challenge is just as daunting and even greater than I had expected. Covering all the aspects—clinical and preventive, health promotion, even food security—for the entire population of the Ungava subregion requires organization, discipline and creativity. But the most important thing is understanding Inuit culture and the challenges that the population must overcome to stay healthy. To succeed here, you need to be aware of the local needs and especially remain humble. And when the youths in the village start calling you Mr. Smoothie, you know your activities have had some degree of positive impact on them, and that is reassuring.
The Far North is this vast, beautiful territory with its hidden surprises and numerous challenges. I had the chance to discover it thanks to my work as nutritionist, which has enabled me not only to experience its grandiose landscapes but also to meet some wonderful people.

That was how I discovered the Far North. Now I invite you to discover it in your own way.

Alain Ishac, Nutritionist
Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre

An incomparable professional and personal experience October 2017

Since the beginning of my northern adventure, I have often been told: “You work for the DYP in the North? That can’t be easy…”
In effect, the work represents great challenges and exposure to human suffering, but it is not easy to find words to describe such an enriching experience. 

Working in supportive relations in a foreign language and culture requires constant thought about the actions to privilege. The experience and autonomy acquired here represent unequalled assets. When I see individuals come up with original solutions to their difficulties or develop their adaptation abilities, I am filled with joy that compensates for the difficult moments. The work here is filled with surprises: living according to the flight schedule, eating freshly killed caribou offered out of gratitude, being unable to meet the fathers in a certain village because it is beluga-hunting season and so on. Working in psychoeducation in an intercultural context was my motivation to work and live in the North; each day is a new professional challenge.

In northern Québec, your work colleagues become your friends. The solitude I had expected never really affected me. Nothing but wonderful moments spent appreciating the beauty of the climate, going for hikes in the tundra, snowshoeing, enjoying the warmth of a campfire, watching the Northern Lights and even spending rare days on the beach! The North pushes us to face our limits, surpass them and, by that very fact, get to know ourselves better. Being immersed in Inuit culture is also unforgettable: spending time with individuals who continue to share their ancestral know-how with arriving newcomers who become friends and then move on, and those who come after them and so on and on...

For me, the harshness of the North sometimes contrasts with its infinite beauty, but there is no doubt, my professional and personal experiences here are among the most enriching of my life.

Marilou Brière, Psychoeducator
Tulattavik department of youth protection
 

The adventure of my life September 2017

The adventure of my life began in June 2016 in the patient-care unit in Puvirnituq. With the aim of personal and professional development, I had been seeking information about the reality of Nunavik for some time. Based on what my friends told me, what I read in the media and my own vision of northern Québec, I finally took the plane for this remote village with only one thing in mind: learning!

And I have definitely learned! This experience took me out of my comfort zone from the very first moment I set foot on the permafrost. Through the breathtaking landscapes, the authenticity of the Inuit, and the strong family and community values, an inner voice told me that this very special place would profoundly affect me… and it still affects me to this day.

Nunavik is definitely a place for introspection, a place to take your time, something that is often neglected in the frenetic pace of life in the city. You take the time to contemplate the sky, the Northern Lights, the clouds… you take the time to appreciate your courage and your luck at having the chance to live such an enriching experience.

Before you know it, a wonderful year has gone by, a year of meeting friends, self-discovery and never-ending learning. Nunavik is like a form of therapy: through it, you discover your interests, broaden your horizons and gain maturity. Each situation you confront makes you a better person, day after day.

Even now, Nunavik continues to reveal itself to me. Its cultural diversity, welcoming communities, endless sky and moments of introspection are now part of me. Like it or not, this experience has changed me forever.

Now employed at the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, I am fortunate at having developed my skills in several areas in order to work in the field that has intrigued me for a long time. In that sense, this magical experience enables any determined person to find his or her “true north” in the North.

In brief, I recommend this experience to anyone who wishes to surpass his or her limits and who seeks personal and professional development. Don’t place too much stock in what others say. Take flight; there is nothing more rewarding!

Simon Rioux, Nurse Advisor, Programs for Children, Youths and Families
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services

My stay in Nunavik August 2016
Nakurmiik, Nunavik.

I waited until the last minute to start writing about Nunavik. And now, at the Kuujjuaq airport, minutes before my departure, I finally make an attempt.

I had this fear of clumsy wording, of being unable to convey adequately the moments lived and the discoveries shared, of writing in a way worthy of my grandiose learning experience of the past six weeks. Talk about an amazing experience.

There is a certain form of magic, of wisdom, of unfathomable history in this part of the world. A barely describable feeling, but those who have spent time here know it. It is not easy to convey in words.

Before I arrived, people spoke to me of a remote region. Quickly, they corrected themselves. No, no, not a remote region but an isolated one. No road or rail links. Accessible only by air, and by boat if the weather permits in summer. I then learned with a certain gladness that the Kuujjuaq airport is the third largest of the province, after Montréal and Québec City.

Definitely an isolated region, but so connected with its terrain, its waters, its winds, that here you feel fulfilled, accompanied, nurtured. You forget that the “South” is a mere two or three hours away by air, the feeling of distance being so pronounced. The nights are short, the sky remains blue until the wee hours, well into the night, but then a new dawn arises with each new day.

The region’s fierce beauty grounds you. Quite solidly. There is so much to feel. Gusty winds blow, so fresh you feel it in your bones. Water everywhere, fresh and drinkable. Trees, gnarled and twisted but they persevere. And open spaces. Infinite, and more. The beauty is endless.

It’s an opportunity to visit Nunavik, and my training gave me the chance. It is not easily accessible, but oh, how I would have prolonged my stay! I’m already dreaming of returning. My project went well, but personally, I want more. Nunavik has not yet shown me all its secrets. I’m leaving with even more questions than when I arrived, an even greater desire to understand this cultural heritage, this part of our history that we too often try to forget, trivialize or transform.

Northern Québec is often described as a difficult region, poor, violent, harsh, whipped by temperatures in the minus fifties in the dead of winter. But I wished to describe it in other terms. I’ll admit that my six weeks were but a mere instant, but I had the impression of living life here more fully than anywhere else. Of reconnecting with myself. With forgotten dreams.

There is frequent laughter, people who welcome you with arms wide open, unbelievable hunting stories. Here you have a notion of suspended time. The Internet connection is intermittent, at the mercy of the vagaries of weather. The “small” salmon of some forty centimetres but plump, the pleasure of swimming in glacial waters, the taste of freshly killed game. There is respect for elders and children, the honesty of smiles, the deepest of gazes.

There is the chief of police who worked for the UN’s blue helmets. The Air Inuit fleet that performs miracles on rough landing strips barely wider than my living room. The people who taught me to fish, hunt, enjoy life. Spontaneous suppers, frozen caribou, the multi-generation bar in Kuujjuaq where you might see patrons in their pyjamas.

There is fervour in work accomplished, a palpable desire to do something good and lasting. The knowledge of the changing environment, which is no longer what it once was. The glaring modernity mixing with ancient tradition. The way of relearning to ask questions, to juggle with predictable unpredictables. There is so much.

Finally, Nunavik showed me the earth’s serenity, the power of space, the will of time. I have much yet to share, from my growing passion for public health to my respect for these persons who warmly welcomed me and recounted parts of their past to my unique stay in Kuururjuaq National Park, one of the world’s best-kept secrets. In the meantime, and in all humility, I say thank you.

Claudel Petrin-Desrosiers
Medical student 
My Northern Adventure! April 2016

My northern adventure began on July 14, 2008, in Puvirnituq. After a two-year spell on the Basse-Côte-Nord, an experience I adored, I was hungry for more adventure, to work in a CLSC in a remote region and to get to know the Inuit in the true North of Québec.

An adventure that was initially supposed to last one year continues today… I was seduced by the tundra, the sunsets, the Northern Lights… but above all, the front-line work was a professional revelation. Unlike the other villages on the Hudson coast, here at the Puvirnituq CLSC, we have access to the laboratory and radiology department. That means that at night, after stabilizing the patient, we can transfer him directly by stretcher, as the hospital is attached to the CLSC. On the other hand, I’ve also spent nights awake, evaluating babies or stabilizing trauma cases! But when I leave the CLSC in the wee morning hours and see a magnificent display of the Northern Lights dancing in the sky, I quickly forget my fatigue.

I have learned so much during my six years working at the CLSC: learned not to judge, learned from Inuit culture, where people live in the present, unlike me, often wondering what I will be doing tomorrow or next week, learned to assume my place as CLSC nurse. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have created bonds with my Inuit colleagues, and am no longer another “Qallunaq” who will leave one day but, rather, Kévin the nurse of Puvirnituq.
 
In 2014, I was offered the position of head of the hospital unit and the operating area. Thus, for a little more than two years now, I have traded my stethoscope for a keyboard! This new challenge enables me to make sure both Inuit and “qallunaq” patients receive care of good quality from competent professionals. Supported by the operating area’s team, my task is to coordinate 28 weeks of operations in Puvirnituq. Our services have grown to the point where it is not unusual to have five nurses, two sterilization workers and one administrative agent on the operating-area team.

In the Puvirnituq care unit, nurses and northern-institution attendants work in harmony, and Inuit workers sometimes teach some of the basics of Inuktitut to new nurses; you have to admit, Inuktitut is far from easy to learn!

I can unequivocally state that my adventure, which continues today and which I hope will continue for a long time yet, have made me a better person and changed me for the better. It is important to arrive at your own opinion of the North and not let the media influence you, as what is often repeated in the media is but the negative aspects of the North; the truth is that there are so many experiences that you should discover for yourself in the North.


Kévin Dulong, Unit Head, Sterilization and Specialized Services

Katatyak (throat singing) February 2016
I would like to talk about an aspect of our Inuit culture in Nunavik: throat singing. It is one of my talents, and I will talk about how proud I am to keep this amazing tradition alive, a tradition that goes back to my ancestors. I am 27 years old and I started to learn how to throat sing when I was 13. I was very amazed when I heard it for the first time when our elders started to teach young kids including me. Our elders, Mary Sivuarapik, Aullak Tullaugak, Leela Qalingo, Lucy Amarualik and Nellie Nungak, taught us and told stories about throat singing. It is still very much alive and it is passed on to younger generations.

Today, we are asked to throat sing at every local event and in other communities. At Christmas time, at the Snow Festival, organized by our recreation committee every two years, at opening ceremonies, people do not want to miss throat singing because they really love to hear it. Some travel around the world to show our culture; it is one of my dreams to go to another country. Good thing I have a passport, if ever I am asked to go sing. Our teachers told us about their trip to Paris when they were younger, which is an inspiration for me. They first started to sing when they were kids, when they still lived in igloos and tents.

Inuit were nomads, moving around with the seasons and following animals. There were no sounds other than nature and animals, and the only musical sound was throat singing along with the drums made with seal skins. So, by imitating the only sounds they heard—wind, birds, the sounds of their handiwork—the women would throat sing. It was also a lullaby to put a baby to sleep.

Throat singing is mostly performed by women. Two women face each other, sometimes watching each other’s mouths, sometimes the eyes, and alternate rhythmic humming through the throat. If the women keep eye contact, both may at one point burst out laughing. In the case of a competition, the one who laughs first loses. One type of song is called qimmiruluapik (“puppy” in Inuktitut), because that word is repeated, or hummed, by the two singers. There are many songs that imitate animals: one imitates the sound of geese, and it really does sound like geese. Another imitates the sound of sawing wood; this is a favorite of spectators. Some songs follow a tune.

We hope more youths learn and keep this beautiful tradition alive. It’s part of our culture we share proudly with the world. My desire is to teach our younger generation and make young girls proud of themselves by throat singing.


Lisa-Louie Ittukallak, Puvirnituq
Holidays in the North! December 2015

I often jokingly tell my godson and niece that I live right next to Santa Claus and that I make sure their wish lists get to him on time for Christmas. They love it and I have to admit their excitement and the look in their eyes makes me believe for a tiny bit that I do live in a winter wonderland where all is possible… even meeting Santa Claus!

Staying in Nunavik for the holidays is an option more and more non-Inuit workers decide to choose, and I must say I prefer this option, having done it myself for the past four years. There is an aura of magic that settles in the villages as the season to be merry approaches. Many activities are organized, such as craft fairs, schools hold concerts, houses get decorated to the hilt, all while everyone is jolly and there is a real sense of community as everyone shakes hands and wishes everyone else Merry Christmas.

Needless to say, one advantage of being up here is that you are sure to have a white Christmas! Year after year the amount differs but we always have snow; we look out the window in the morning of the 25th to see light snow blowing, truly a magical sight. The daylight is of course short, but we make the most of it, putting snow pants over our pyjamas and heading out for a snowshoe expedition or a skidoo ride. Time seems to stop and you get to enjoy life to its fullest. Even for those hard workers who go to the office, the hours are quiet, slow, making it possible to tackle so much, all while chatting with your colleagues over gingerbread-man cookies and a cup of hot cocoa.

During the evenings many villages organize games where the whole town is invited to participate. Games you most likely never heard of but which definitely result in much laughter and many good memories, and all in a friendly, holiday atmosphere.

I must mention our special treat in Kuujjuaq: the annual candy drop. Rumour has it that this will be the last year but we are crossing our fingers that the rumour is exactly that, a rumour. The candy drop takes place on the 25th in the morning: Johnny May, a renowned Inuk pilot, flies his plane at very low attitude (having the special aviation permit to do so) while Santa Claus throws candy and gifts through the open door to the crowds below. The gifts are small items or tickets that match a prize held for you at the Forum. The atmosphere is electric; there is much competition to catch something but the mood is always happy.

Some may worry that there is something sad about being away from your families and friends during this time of the year. I can understand that, but I must say that you make your own little family in the North and getting to celebrate those special days with them is quite an amazing feeling as well. There is nothing quite like gathering with all the people who stayed, close friends or not, and organizing a potluck where everyone contributes to the feast. You get to know each other even better and best of all, there are no traffic jams on any highway, or even a traffic light ! Just that makes it the perfect Christmas gift ever.

Happy Holidays to all! Be merry and be happy wherever you are.
Caroline D’Astous
Communications Officer, NRBHSS 

Summer in Kuujjuaq August 2015

During the summer, the offices are definitely emptier, and with reason: it’s nice out, time for summer vacation, and most organizations slow down with a minimum of human resources. Most employees hired from the South leave to visit their families, not seen for many months, and the Inuit head out to the land. On the other hand, some employees from the South (including me) take full advantage of this all-too-short season. There are so many landscapes to see, fishing trips to organize, tides to navigate, walks and hikes, sunsets and sunrises, fauna and flora to observe. Luckily, summer days in Kuujjuaq are much longer than in the South. On the summer solstice, the sun barely sets… the days are endless! What opportunities for those who wish to make the most of summer for outdoor activities. You almost get two days for one. You’ll pay later, in deepest winter, but for the moment, there isn’t a minute to lose.

The hardiest take advantage of these perfectly sunny days when the mercury rises above 25 degrees to dive headfirst into the river at the end of the day’s work or on the weekend on a camping trip. Happy hour on the beach? “Bring a pallet for the fire and we’ll have an impromptu supper…”

What to do on the weekend? Camping? Yes, definitely! Find a quiet little spot out on the vast territory and pitch a tent for the night. Don’t forget mosquito netting, a bucket of deet and a smouldering fire to keep away the bloodsucking hordes once the wind dies down. There won’t be a soul for kilometres around, except perhaps for a grey jay, curious to see what you’re up to, or maybe an otter, unhappy because that fish you caught was supposed to be its next meal. The sun dips down to the horizon, you drink a toast… this is the life.


Marc-André Lamontagne
Emergency Pre-hospital Services and Emergency Services
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services

Medecine in Nunavik: a unique experience! May 2015

Family medicine in the Far North has no equal: transculturalism, versatility, teamwork. Some 12 years ago, when I was still a student, I arrived in the North for an internship and discovered a humane practice with broad horizons among a local and very welcoming population. I launched my practice here some years ago and I am still fascinated and stimulated daily by my work.

Aeromedical transfers, various emergencies, hospitalization, case management, house calls, support for other professionals… our field of practice seems to be boundless, like the tundra. There is always the impression of being something of a superhero when we climb into a small, twin-engined aircraft—the legendary Twin Otter for the initiated—to pick up an unstable patient in another village. We assume full management of each patient who consults, from newborns to village elders. All that enables us to maintain our skills in all the areas of medicine: pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, traumatology, women’s health and so forth. There is no such thing as a typical work day in the Far North; we do not live with a routine. Our only certainty is that anything can happen! During the same work day, I can facilitate home support for a patient near the end of life over the telephone in a community that has no permanent physician as well as stabilize a multiple-trauma patient who was victim of a traffic accident. There is no day more gratifying than one when I spent the entire previous night stabilizing a patient in critical condition and then seeing him transferred aboard an air ambulance headed for a tertiary-care centre in the South. With limited resources and the possibility of multiple unpredictable events, we have to be able to question ourselves, adapt and be creative.

Over the years, I have developed close ties with patients and their families. What I find most heart-warming is when I return from leave “in the South,” as the local expression goes, and several community members greet me with “Welcome back home, doctor!” I enjoy privileged access to the daily lives, beliefs and values of the Inuit, thanks to my work. I have returned from a house call with an entire goose—beak and feathers and all—given by the patient’s family! As long as we have an open mind, cross-cultural work can teach us much about ourselves.

Besides the stimulating work, Nunavik offers an incomparable natural environment for adepts of outdoor activities. Cross-country skiing, ski kiting, kayaking, hiking, off-road cycling, camping, the possibilities are endless. The vagaries of the region’s weather, with its sometimes-violent winds and blizzards, will occasionally test our ability to roll with the punches. The skies of Nunavik present breath-taking displays year round: magnificent sunsets, a red moon during the endless summer dusk and the mythical Northern Lights. There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than nature…


Geneviève Auclair
Family Physician and Head of the Department of Medicine,
Inuulitsivik Health Centre, Acting Head of the Nunavik RDGP

Hiring process and orientation training March 2015

Under the Perspective Nunavik banner, you will find all the necessary information concerning work in the field of health and social services in Nunavik. Our network consists of two health centres and a regional board (the equivalent of a health and social services agency):

  • Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre (UTHC) located in Kuujjuaq and which manages the services on the Ungava coast;
  • Inuulitisivik Health Centre (IHC), located in Puvirnituq and which manages the services on the Hudson coast;
  • Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), based in Kuujjuaq.
 

Although the three organizations post their employment offers on Perspective Nunavik, each has its own recruitment department and its own hiring processes. An application not accepted at one health centre will not necessarily be rejected at the other; however, an applicant must apply at both centres. As each organization is an independent entity, the hiring process must be followed at each one and at all levels: interviews, references, health examination and so forth.

On the other hand, the working conditions at the three organizations are very similar, as the health centres’ northern benefits are based on the CSN and FIIQ collective agreement and those of the NRBHSS on the government’s working conditions for unionizable but non-unionized personnel. Northern benefits for management personnel are identical to those for other employees.

Besides salary, other very interesting benefits are offered, such as:

  • Isolation premium;
  • Cost-of-living allowance;
  • Retention premium according to the agreement.
 

For persons hired more than 50 kilometres from their place of residence, we also offer:

  • Four annual trips out (for those with dependants, three annual trips per person);
  • Furnished housing (possibility of being obliged to stay in a transit or shared housing at the start of employment);
  • Reimbursement of moving and storage (for personal effects in the South) expenses.

Moreover, a tax credit is available for new graduates working in a remote region.

 

You’ve applied, what next?

If your professional profile and qualifications correspond to the organization’s needs and you are contacted for an interview, the interview will be conducted in the South, in either Montréal or Québec City.

After your interview, if your application is accepted, the full hiring process takes about one month, the time to check your references and for you to undergo your medical examinations.

However, as with any other job, the need to fill the position may be urgent and the hiring process may be shorter than mentioned. In Nunavik, it is always necessary to be prepared for any eventuality. Regardless of the situation, the human-resources personnel will discuss your needs with you.

 

You’ve made the leap, you’ve accepted the job offer, now for the next step…

To facilitate integration and adaptation in a new job, new employees hired by one of the three organizations will receive two-day orientation training in Montréal before they assume their new positions in Nunavik. The training is provided by an Inuk and employees with experience in the North, who can answer any questions you might have.

Those two days follow the schedule below:

  • The first day deals with Inuit culture as well as learning a few words in Inuktitut essential before your arrival;
  • The second day deals with the organization of services in the network’s three organizations, preparations before leaving for the North and a brief presentation on cultural adaptation.
 

And now… safe flight! Nunavik is waiting for you!
If you wish to experience professional life in a northern region, we invite you to join one of our teams.

Mental health has many faces in Nunavik February 2015

It is the schizophrenic woman who succeeded in adopting a little girl who herself is intellectually impaired… It is that same little girl, 20 years later, who brings me a Kraft jam jar filled to the brim with pills and capsules that her mother has not taken for one month because she does not know what to do with them… It is the man in his forties, ravaged by a mental illness due to drug abuse, who wanders the village all day, going from the hospital to the school board to the regional board, wearing rubber boots and a coat insufficient against the weather, because his small apartment is often taken over by youths who go there to party and who bully him… It is the young woman, recently become a mother, also schizophrenic, in distress over the needs of her newborn and overcome with the challenge…

But…

It is also the dynamic, innovative and devoted team of physicians, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists and community organizations working together and succeeding at supporting the mother and daughter by changing the medication from oral to injectable, as well as supporting the family at home until the mother’s death, thus enabling the daughter to maintain her autonomy. It is that team supporting new treatment and residential resources that provide the man with a room to himself, safety and an income, and enable him to eat sufficiently. And again, it is that team working jointly with the team of the referral centre to organize medical and social care as well as day-care services for the child so that the young mother can recover properly and is able to raise her young child appropriately.

Working in the North, whether in mental health or another field, is complex due to the lack of resources and the cross-cultural aspect that is an integral part of our reality. On the other hand, that work is enriching for those involved in terms of the cultural experience and supportive relations. When I think of some of my patients who succeed in living with their mental illness, who manage to work, who have their own lodging, who are no longer subject to the judicial system and who have not been hospitalized for years, I am proud that my contribution has had some part in their success.

Every person who works in the field of mental health in Nunavik has the chance to make a difference in the life of one or more Nunavimmiut. Are you up to the challenge of making a difference?


Nathalie Boulanger
Family physician at the Ungava Tulattavik Health Centre (UTHC),
Medical advisor for the mental-health team of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS)

Living in the North March 2014

The North, a vast and isolated territory that remains little known to outsiders, calls to the imagination… In fact, most people (including myself, before I took the big step and arrived here) imagine the North as an undefined extent that includes everything north of the 55th parallel. But go beyond the Arctic cold, the tundra and its wild expanses, and you will find a land of possibilities, an extraordinary environment and a warm people. Those are what motivate me today, after nearly three years working in youth protection in Nunavik.

My work with Inuit children and families is a constant source of learning and mutual exchange. For us workers from the South, as we are called, integration into this environment requires a very open mind and constitutes a test of our abilities to adapt. Although our work is governed by the Youth Protection Act, the same statute applied throughout the province of Québec, we must adapt that work to the cultural reality. Allow me to say that within this different and unique culture, that short clause in the YPA is subject to some very different nuances…

Working in the North means being open to questioning yourself, being confronted by your own ignorance through the absence of the usual personal and professional landmarks, opening yourself to the unknown… going beyond what you know, your “southern eyes,” your preconceived ideas, and taking the time to get to know and respect Inuit culture. In that sense, teamwork with our Inuit colleagues leads to an enriching exchange where each learns from everyone else. Even more, the collaboration with community members and resources and the involvement of the elderly are primordial in the spirit of community empowerment. Work in the North requires much humility and a sense of teamwork but also the creativity necessary to foster community mobilization through our actions. The experience is an excellent exercise in letting go; here we learn to make do… That may sound simplistic, but the philosophy is reflected in the most basic aspects of everyday living, aspects we take for granted in the South. Make do… with the quantity of potable water that remains in the reservoir (municipal trucks deliver potable water and remove sewage); make do… with what remains on the shelves at the grocery store; make do… with the weather conditions and the harsh climate that sometimes cause delays or cancellations in the flight schedules. Be aware that Nunavik is not linked to the rest of the province by any land route: the only way to travel there is by air, which is also the only way to get from one community to the next. Imagine my excitement the first time I took a flight to travel to another community for work: quite extraordinary indeed!

The North teaches us much about ourselves and provides many valuable life lessons… In my work, I am confronted with the limits to my intervention, a lack of resources, culture shock, conflicting values, the language barrier (the first language of the Inuit is Inuktitut, although the vast majority of them also speak English or French), but those are all things that make the overall experience so enriching and remarkable. It is also in dealing with such limitations that I am inspired by the great strength and resilience of the Inuit people, a legendary race that had to adapt and survive in an arid climate and which even today must adapt to change and the loss of its cultural landmarks. And still, the Inuit remain warm and welcoming, proud of their rich culture, quick to laugh and fun-loving. The population is a young one (60% under the age of 25 years), which constitutes a challenge but also much hope.

Living in the North goes well beyond holding a job there… Much more than a place of work, the North harkens to a different lifestyle. The all-surrounding natural beauty, the pure air, the proximity and the spirit of mutual aid combine to create an unequalled quality of life. The North invites us to return to what is essential, to simplicity and the richness of human encounter. It is a stimulating experience, an opportunity to grow, to evolve both personally and professionally.

Prepared to make the leap? :)
Leave the beaten path
Unfurl your sails
Explore
Dream
Discover


Jessica Boudreau 
social worker, clinical advisor
DYP, Inuulitsivik Health Centre