The past 3 months of summer have gone by so quickly! I am finishing the last few days of my contract and I can’t help but reflect on all of the amazing people and adventures that I have had. I have worked in outpost for the better part of the last decade and historically I have only worked in coastal communities. I had taken the past few years off from working outpost and was more than a little weary when I was told that this summer I would be working the majority of my contracts in the Kwadacha and Tsay Keh Dene communities. Like many nurses, I had heard that these communities can be “rough” and “dangerous” to work in so they were on my no fly list for my entire outpost career. My experience was so different than what I had expected and I thought it might be worthwhile to share it with anybody else who is hesitating to take contracts in these communities.
Kwadacha is located in the Rocky Mountain Trench at the confluence of the Finlay, Kwadacha and Fox Rivers. It is a migratory path for many birds. I felt very safe in this community and walked to work each morning, frequently stopping to admire the beauty of the mountains or the song of the birds. The other nurses would pass me on their drive to the clinic and joke that I was having another “Julie Andrews moment”. The hills really are alive with the sound of music here and the beauty of this place truly captivated me!
Upon arriving in Kwadacha, I looked out from inside the plane and saw a blonde woman with a HUGE smile on her face and I thought, “I guess that is the nurse who is leaving.” This was the nurse in charge, Amy, not the exiting nurse. Amy is a spectacular emergency room nurse who calls Kwadacha her second home. She loves this community and it is apparent in many aspects of her work including the perfectly organized clinic. As soon as I stepped foot into the Kwadacha clinic I took a moment to pause and appreciate how intuitively it was set up. I needed very little orientation to this clinic; if ever I was wondering where something was, I would look in the place where I would naturally think to put it and every time there it was!
Kwadacha is a stunningly beautiful community with many unique features. In addition to a local grocery store, the community has three large greenhouses that grow delicious organic vegetables (that are graciously shared with nurses!) The community is also one of a kind in BC with an operational biofuel plant making them less dependent on diesel to power their community. I have worked in nearly every nursing station in BC and I have to say that I have never been more pleasantly surprised with how incorrect my assumptions were coming into this community. The rumors that had kept me from taking contracts in this community could not have been more incorrect and it is so unfair to the community for the record to not be set straight. Ironically, this is now my favorite community and top choice for contracts.
Bridget Z., RN(C)