National Nursing Week – Working in the Arctic
National Nursing Week kicks off in Canada on Monday, May 12 and runs until May 18.
In honour of the hundreds of nurses working in Canada’s remote northern regions, we bring you one of Eye on the Arctic’s most popular feature interviews, a video- profile of Minnie Akparook, one of the few Inuk nurses working in the Inuit self-governing region of Nunavik in northern Quebec.
Nurses are on the frontlines of health care in Canada’s remote Arctic regions. Often working in isolated nursing stations, these health care professionals are part nurse, part emergency room doctor, part counsellor, part social worker and part mid-wife.
Most positions are filled by nurses from southern Canada who may not be familiar with local aboriginal languages or culture. This leads to high turnover and positions remaining vacant for long periods.
Many locals crave a stable work force staffed by aboriginal health care workers that understand northern culture and can deliver health services in local languages.
But despite this great need, there are still only a handful of such nurses practising in the Canadian Arctic. The road is often not easy for them. But once they begin working, they are able to bridge the cultural divide between southern medicine and holistic aboriginal culture.
To find out more, Eye on the Arctic sat down with Minnie Akparook in 2011 to talk about the obstacles she overcame to start her career and the health challenges facing Canada’s Inuit population today:
Related stories from around the Arctic:
Canada: Bridging the Divide (VIDEO), Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Finland struggles to deal with diabetes explosion, Yle News
Greenland: Researchers must be honest with Arctic peoples about food contaminants: doctor, Eye on the Arctic
Russia: Why such high suicide rates in Arctic Russia? Deutsche Welle’s Ice-Blogger
Sweden: The Sami Health Paradox (VIDEO), Radio Sweden
United States: Inuit Circumpolar Council discussing food security in Arctic, Alaska Public Radio Network