By: Dr. Annelise Miller
Some of you may remember that I disappeared for 2 months at the beginning of PGY2, and then returned with little Kamiks (boots) on my stethoscope: the mark of my time spent in the Canadian North where I was privileged to work alongside with, and caring for, Inuit. I was one of 6 lucky PGY2s to go up to Baffin Island for a clinical placement at Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, NU. I also had the amazing privilege of going even further up island to Arctic Bay (Ikpiarjuk), NU for a week (FYI it's at 73 degrees north!). You may also know a few of the other residents who have been up/will be going up - Dan Myran (Civic), Kim McRae (Primrose), Rebecca Warmington (community), Sara Accardi (Civic), Suzie Lotimer (Bruyere!). So far they have loved the experience as much as I have, it seems!
Living and working in Nunavut was a life-changing and practice-changing experience. On a personal level, Nunavut and Nunavummiut gave me an appreciation of the beauty and the hardships of living and working in the high arctic. On a professional level, I appreciated the different perspectives on health and disease, in addition to the challenges of working remotely and in lower-resourced settings (MacGuyver, much?). Nothing can encapsulate that more than the experience of dense fog setting in: on one hand, flights get cancelled which means limited groceries/ supplies and cancelled flights, but there is nothing like a foggy 11pm sunset where the arctic flowers glow supernaturally.
I could talk/write for hours about the North (and I have) - so if you're curious, ask away! This qallunat (non-Inuit) is in love!