Thursday, 13 March 2008

Planning again

I can't tell you the number of times I've begun to write here, only to stop for lack of anything meaningful to say. Part of it is that I've presumably convinced Laurie to write the next portion of the trip out (Ireland)... but then that's no excuse not to write on other topics. Part of it is the fact that I've really not been home for extended periods recently. Between the fact that I'm working full time, and all the out-of-town trips I've been making, I'm generally too exhausted to write.
Which should leave me with a lot to say... or not. I don't see myself as having a lot to tell people, especially since the whole thing was started with the intent of updating far-off family and friends on my travel adventures. But I suppose it's about time to make things official here... I have every intention of leaving again. Alone this time. The tickets will be about as much as travelling to Australia, but I'm staying in the country. For those that haven't already learned this in person: I'm going to Iqaluit. In all honesty, I began thinking about travelling again before the plane even arrived back in Winnipeg from the Round-the-World trip in September. At that point it was a vague thought of heading North sometime after Christmas. I felt like I had been gone too long not to spend Christmas with my family. And with that thought came the fact that I really ought to find a job in the meantime. So I searched around... trying desperately to get into the Children's hospital in a term position. That failed utterly, and so I went back to the ward I had been on last year for the last three months before we set off to India. Now don't get me wrong, I really love the ward I'm working on, the staff is some of the best I've ever worked with, the morale is great, I feel like I'm learning and growing here. But at the same time there's a vague discontent that I'm not where I should be.
Maybe I'm just too accustomed to changing jobs. I think the longest full time job I've ever had would be the 9 months I spent as a Nanny... unless you add the three months of practicum to my 6 months on RR6. Other than casual positions, all my jobs have been terms or had an end in sight (ie: my making plans to travel). I suppose, in some ways, much as I may say I hate change, I impose it on myself. I am a drifter that needs to move on. This whole drifter mentality made it hard to get a job in the fall, because I was very honest about my plans to move on in the spring. I had many people telling me that I really shouldn't tell my employers my future plans... but I couldn't in conscience keep it too myself. And so I found a term position on the Trauma Unit at the Health Sciences Centre, amidst people I had worked with before. Here, I am comfortable, I am enjoying myself, and I am dreaming of where I will go next.

Side note: I've discovered one of my favorite things... other than skills such as putting in IV's, NG tubes, foley's... other than those ahHA! moments when something about someone's medical condition or symptoms suddenly makes sense in my head... is actually talking with people and getting their stories. I like to hear how they got to the place they are now, what they think of it, and why they're scared to go home again. And I find it all the more intriguing when they're slightly off the wall or unusual. (Some might call them crazy or needy or unique). I get my kicks from listening to someone's story. There was one night about a week ago when I went in to bring evening medications to a patient, and I knew I had some time to spare, so I got talking with her about her going home the next day, and whether she felt ready... 20 minutes later she was still talking and I was injecting regular "uhhuh"'s and "really?"'s etc. One of the other nurses came and interrupted the conversation to check my patient's bloodpressure, pulse etc. And we just kept talking for another ten minutes after the other nurse left. I let her have her say, on anything she wanted to say. The nurse who interrupted later told me she was trying to "rescue" me. This is often necessary with situations like that when you have a lot to do and little time to spend with people. I must admit, every once in a while, these drawn-out conversations give me a really good laugh later, especially the one I had with a man who told me there was nothing wrong with him, and proceeded to explain away every single worrying symptom. But for the most part, I'm overly intrigued by the stories of the people I meet.

My story, on the other hand, is one that I only know one step in advance, if that. In the fall I only knew I wanted to "go north"... having looked into the hospitals and other opportunities available to me, I've narrowed it down to Iqaluit. What can I tell you about this choice? It's in a relatively small town of ~6000 people, and I really do want to go to a small town. It's also the capital of Nunavut, our largest territory (1/5th of canada's landmass), and as such has a lot of "southern" amenities. It has a number of grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and even a movie theatre. 50% of the population is Inuit, most of whom speak Inuktitut. The hospital is brand-spanking-new as of October. It's a 35 bed hospital, meaning I wouldn't be the only nurse on duty at any time. There are regularly scheduled surgeries (I do still enjoy my surgical patients), and low-risk births (I'd love to get to do obstetrics). Oh, and there's a Northern Allowance, though from what I hear most of that will go towards the extra cost of housing and food... and plane flights if I want to visit family/friends down south. And I'd like to go for a year, starting in June. I haven't decided if I'm going to use an agency to get a job or simply get a job with the Government of Nunavut. There's actually an awful lot I still need to figure out (like whether or not to get a furnished place and what all I'll need to bring with me, whether to store or give away all my extra stuff, whether to get a cat before or after I go to keep me company...) I can't help but plan, it's what keeps me sane some days, even though I can't know it all, I can figure out as much as I can and make educated guesses as I go along. And so I research, plan, and most of all, I dream.

The countdown has started already:
- 2 1/2 weeks until I need to apply for the job (I spoke with the recruiter in Iqaluit who told me to contact them 6-8weeks before I wanted to start working there)
- 20 shifts, or 5 1/2weeks left in my current job
- 2 1/2 months until I'd like to be leaving for Iqaluit

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