Nursing in a First Nations community

Nursing in a First Nations community


(Soft music) I’ve been working as a
Community health nurse for a few months now. I came up originally
as a senior nursing student doing my last clinical
placement. So I was up for a couple of months in the winter
and then I came back as a registered nurse a
few months ago. I’ve been practicing in
First Nations and Inuit health for 22 years. I’ve practiced as
a community health nurse for the first two years and then
after that I became the nurse in charge, so I was the manager”. “I learned to incorporate
traditional as well as western medicine in my practice, gaining
a great deal of respect for First Nations and people of the
community. One of the reasons why I stayed
in this role is the diversity of your day to day work as well as
your diverse role in the community. Day to day you can
see patient that are chronic care, prenatal care, pediatrics,
immunizations. You do triaging in emergencies –so it’s ever
changing and requires a fast pace and I really enjoy that. You’re whole day is
focused on whatever walks into the door and emergencies you
have to deal with or working in clinics drawing blood…it’s
only as limited with what the needs of the community are. Professionally, a challenge
with working with a remote First Nations community would be the
lack of modern equipment that hospitals have as well as
diagnostic testing and stuff like that or specialists who
patients need to see. Nurses are always on call
during the night for emergency services.
Some of those can be lengthy emergencies going as far as
three days for example, if the weather is out and we can’t get
a patient out. Often communities go weeks at a
time without a medical physician. So you’re doing a lot
of phone consults with doctors down south or on-call doctors.
So they rely on you a lot for accurate information as well as
comprehensive patient care. The challenges personally with
living in a remote First Nations community would be the lack of
modern amenities that are in the community you can’t just run to
the mall or go to the movies with your friends you can’t go
to sports games, none of that is accessible to you. Another thing
would be, is that your friends and family are often quite a
distance away. So your support system is changed. It’s a whole different way
of life and the challenges of the job and you’re continuing
to learn something new every day. I feel that having the position
as a remote community health nurse is an accomplishment in
itself. I’m proud to say that I work in this community and
have a role such at this. The community loves
them and they love being up there. How often can you have a job
where you live on the lake and be like on the cottage —
when you’re not at work. “So this is a spot in Poplar
River that’s about a 5 minutes’ drive away from the nursing
station where we come to fish and spend time because it’s
extremely beautiful and very peaceful. Absolutely I would
recommend this experience to everybody. I went up and I was
supposed to have gone for one year term and I simply
never left. To learn more and to apply visit
Canada.ca/NursesforFirstNations A message from Health Canada
and the Government of Canada (Music: Oh Canada jingle)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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