Nurses in Nunavut work more independently than nurses in a more structured hospital environment and they are often asked to perform above and beyond the call of duty. There are no resident doctors in our community, but a doctor and dentist travel throughout the central arctic on a circuit, coming to Gjoa Haven three or four times a year. The doctor/dentist will stay for a couple of weeks and treat whatever patients need attention. In the mean time the nurses are asked to administer to the medical needs of the community. Since there is no drug store or pharmacists, the nurses dispense the prescription drugs after they've made a diagnosis. They often make the decision on the care and severity of injuries and illnesses whether a patient can be treated in the community, should fly down to the hospital in Yellowknife, or needs to be medi-vacced immediately in an emergency. A nurse is on call 24 hours a day and sometimes nurses will have to travel out on the land to attend to someone who was injured or became ill at their camp.


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