Have you ever thought about working in remote region in nursing? After more than 6 years in the emergency room in Joliette, Quebec, Samuel Demontigny decided to try adventure. For a little over a year, the 27-year-old nurse has had contracts in various James Bay communities, in northern Quebec.
“The main advantage is independence,” he explains. “When a patient arrives, I don’t just do a short assessment as I would have done in triage at emergency, I do a complete clinical examination, much like a doctor would do…” Doctors intervene much less in his work than in a large centre, he adds. In the Far North, nurses have an expanded role. They can do diagnoses and prescribe certain medicines. The care of the patient is complete.
“It’s not like in emergency where I would look after a patient for a day and then he would disappear into the system,” he says.
A valuable role
The weeks are demanding, acknowledges the young nurse. But even if he works 20 hours more than in a large centre, he feels less exhausted, due to the value he draws from his work.
“You get the impression of being really useful, being used to your full potential,” he explains. “In a hospital, I had the impression of doing mass production work. I felt like a number. Here I am Samuel, both to my colleagues and my patients.”
The salary is not insignificant either. In six months the young nurse earned what he made in one year in emergency, allowing him to take more vacations.
Not for everyone
Working in a remote region has many advantages, but it’s not for everyone, cautions Francine Charron, founder and director of Solution Nursing, a nursing training and placement firm in the Far North.
“We take the cream of the crop,” she emphasizes. “Not only are strong professional skills and excellent clinical judgement needed, but also a personality that fits with the North.”
But for those who get hooked on it, it can be difficult to return to work in a hospital centre. For the time being, Samuel Demontigny live in the “pace of the North”, a pace that lets him take the time necessary to care for his patients properly…