Thursday, January 22, 2015

Job Share it is!

After sleeping in, walking the dog and doing a very minimal amount of domestic duties….I'm sipping strawberry rhubarb David's tea, settled cozily on the couch gazing out on the grey harbour as a few snowflakes fall,  with the cat purring next to me, dog settled across the living room in the armchair and the lots of time to update the blog. My only decision is whether to turn on the fireplace or not. As you can tell, I am very much enjoying being at home for a while as it's been August since that has happened in segments measured in weeks not days and with a return to work date of March 11th or so (more on that later) life is good. 

The previous posting was just before New Years and highlighted the DTN course which seems a lifetime away now. In case you were wondering…I DID finish the essay, submitting it before the planned girls getaway. And although it was quite an effort, I do have to admit that I learned a great deal about malnutrition, feeding centres, humanitarian work and myself - in addition to the intense information of the on site lectures. According to my classmates (who are apparently more concerned about their marks than yours truly) the provisional results for exams are to be released tomorrow, the papers on Feb 6th, I'm still sticking with the plan to announce I made a 98% and have one LARGE celebration next month. Then again, there are no FB postings of me having a send off celebration before heading to an ebola treatment project in Africa either, such as the younguns are sporting so we'll just celebrate in our own ways. 

I am however, doing a free online course on ebola this two weeks. This one is through the London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene but there are various (all free) courses offered through 

An interesting one that began while I was vacationing (so I put my name on a future list) focuses on crime scene forensics….next time. I did register for one in March called Medicine in the Arts out of Cape Town. Although they're free you can opt to purchase a certificate of completion. I suppose if you have a spot on your wall that needs covering…

After January 7th my activities have been social versus academic though, as a buddy and myself headed out to Savannah for a girls week to celebrate my course ending. It was winter in Georgia too, but certainly a much milder version than the NS one, and since their cold 
Savannah Airport - can you imagine?
St. John the Baptist
season is so brief, most of the tourist attractions were open (Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House will have to wait for another time as it closes for January) and very uncrowded. We were the only passengers on the free ferry across the river and had most of the free bus to ourselves as we hopped on and off the people mover. As tourists we took the narrated city hop on and off tour, a riverboat cruise, toured the Ships of the Sea, Civil Rights and Telfair Art Museums, Visitors and Jepson Centre, First African Baptist Church, scenes featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Forrest Gump, attended a dance recital at the Lucas Theatre and shopped through the riverfront (the smell of those praline candy factories still haunts me), city market, Broughton St, areas and several 
Riverboat Tour
museum shops of spots we didn't tour. Savannah is more historic than Atlanta (as it wasn't burned in the Civil War) and a very friendly place. Highly recommend it if you're considering a visit. Spent a few hours sitting on the plane in Savannah while the mechanic checked the brakes before we left and a good number of the passengers missed their connections accordingly. We were pleased that only did the brakes work in the drizzly landing in Atlanta but we were able to grab something to eat on the way to the plane and actually connected to LaGuardia and onwards. Overnighted and saw a local Dr and his wife at the hotel in the am (small world moments) then dropped off gifts along the way and stopped for errands on the way home. 

Enjoyed having a 'crowd over for crustaceans' on the weekend. The shore captain saved 20 lobsters and 12 of us devoured them with greek salad, bread and beverages. Lots of catching up for us all. I was particularly pleased when the German pastry chef guest complimented me on the apple pies I made for dessert. It's one thing to receive a thumbs up from amateurs but when someone who's a professional baker thinks I hit the target, well…. Last night we had a double movie date and enjoyed The Imitation Game which was excellent. I managed to get the life partner there on time by (as required) subtracting 15 minutes from the departure time, allowing him to yak on the cell phone several times en route  then insisting he leave it in the vehicle. I drove and as we exited the car he was still sitting in the back seat engrossed in a work call so I said to other female "just pull his door open will you so I can lock  it electronically, hard to tell how long he'll be" and the three of us headed in to the ticket machine. He was saved by the two senior techno wizards attempting to (painfully) purchase tickets ahead of us and rushed in as we headed in the doors. We left him standing in line to buy snacks and as we headed in to the theatre the other male asked where the shore captain was "shall I call him?" he grinned - obviously didn't get the memo that guys are supposed to stick together. Was a good time. Promises all around to do it more often. These last two social events were more successful than the much anticipated New Years Eve celebrations. Note to self - do not take a sleep deprived non party animal with you if you'd like to party. Nuff said. 

Was trying to distract myself from the sad news this week of the RCMP member who was murdered out west. Always hits too close to home with the RCMP history of the life partner. And as his name was released I was shocked to find that I knew this policeman. He had been a paramedic in this province and a previous Red Cross first aid instructor / instructor-trainer with me. Always sad, but worse when they're known to you. As I watched his wife weeping at a news conference, I remembered him sharing the story of how he'd met her. As a paramedic they have to do a certain number of deliveries and he met her in the case room as he delivered her baby. They got together, married and he adopted the boy and they had two more sons - good story for  the baby book. 

Now as promised earlier, here are the details of the position I accepted. I felt I had to wait until I signed on the dotted line and (politely) informed my former employer (never burn any bridges - even at this age) of the development. Beginning March 12th (well the 11th if you consider the commute) I will be job sharing a CHN (Community Health Nurse) position in Sachs Harbour, NWT. As you can see from this map on the right, it really is at the top of the world at 72 degrees north latitude. The flights run Edmonton - Yellowknife - Inuvik - Sachs Harbour and medevacs are out to Inuvik. There are flights three days a week from Inuvik to Sachs Hbr but a Thursday departure adds an extra day to the commute home (three in total) as the connection is too late in the day. The Wikipedia overview gives you the basics:

The sun hasn't returned yet - another five days before sunrise according to this website:

My job share partner (who is in community now) tells me there are usually approx. 70 people in community as the kids go out to school from grade nine and people are out working, so ignore the pop, 120 part. Also according to my partner (who is doing the research) this spot is very laid back, slow, fun, able to spend time with patients, whatever descriptor you choose - and she's a bit of a hard sell so I am already getting pumped to go. Especially as it met my primary criteria of apartment attached to health centre - these -47c days it is a bonus to have that 14 stair commute. The food mail option (my on the ground researcher tells me) means that your grocery list is phoned to Stantons in Inuvik with your credit card info, they pack and ship your order which arrives on the flight the next day, then Lloyd delivers it to your door which is better than walking to the store. Better than the $16 for 2L of coconut water she found at the grocery store for sure. She (having been a previous roommate) has shown me the way on many things, including applying for this job share - so I shall continue to learn from her. 

This is a two nurse station with a CHN and a NIC (nurse in charge) so staff are only first call every other night. No, there is no second on call nurse because….there is no need. If the bad thing happens, the 'other nurse' will just be located. Since it's a small fly in community, clearly that won't be too difficult. And apparently when on call it is customary to leave a message on the phone / note on the door if required to say "gone to the COOP" which is the only grocery store or "walking down by the shore, come find me if you need me" The collective agreement states GNWT reimburses for 225 kg of luggage every 8 wks and will pay the shot for my spouse to come in for a for a wk or so to visit every rotation. In addition to the usual government benefits there is a $2000/yr personal professional development budget (half of the full timers).  And I was pleased to learn that the health centre has a vehicle now as previously there were just a skidoo and an ATV. How would you transport a medevac patient? Tell the team to arrange themselves however they wished, layer themselves up and put the patient on top? I'll plan to get a work restrictions letter from my physio if there's a hint that this old gal be expected to drive off road vehicles. So I think all in all that this shall suit an old nurse who likes to do crafts and study a bit right down to the tundra. Might be the last 'paid work' job I have. Mind you, I've uttered those words before….

On my errands this week when I was buying craft supplies, I picked up some yarn so that a neighbour (who loves to do so) can knit some mittens for the teacher daughter's grade primary class and I have sourced some small winter hats. Winter weather requires hats and mitts for the little people who often lose or forget them and although Frenchy's is a great source of the former, the latter tend to go missing. Hats are (of course) non returnable to the collection (as the retired teacher who helped me dig in the bin reminded me) due to fear of that L word. I'll watch the weather and plan a trip to deliver the mittens when they're ready. Such is the ability of the semi retired nurse. Ahhhhh