Nurse finds his calling in northern Canada

By Jasminee Sahoye

Nurse Milton Grace, originally from Jamaica, has published a book about his adventures.
Nurse Milton Grace, originally from Jamaica, has published a book about his adventures.

While many immigrants choose to live and work in southern Ontario, one man originally from Jamaica wanted to explore northern Canada and has been living and working there for 12 years.

Milton Grace is sharing his experience in a book A Registered Nurse’s Guide to Live and Work in Canada’s North and Arctic Communities, having worked as a nurse in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as Ontario.

Nurse's Guide
Nurse’s Guide

The 67-page, self-published book contains photos of him on and off the job in various communities along with anecdotes and descriptions of hi work. He also shares advice to nurses heading to remote northern communities on cooking, shopping, banking and accommodations and what to expect working in remote and isolated communities.

Grace told The Camera that even though the book is about his experience, it is intended to encourage registered nurses to take advantage of jobs in northern Canada. It is useful for any professional or anyone who would like to relocate to the north for work, study or adventure, he said.

He said he earns far more than his counterparts in Ontario. “It will help to reach your financial goals,” he said, adding that he earned about $140,000 last year. “There are lots of jobs in the north and not enough people to fill them.”

He said there are immigrants living in the north, adding that where he resides in the Arctic city of Iqualit, Nunavut, there’s a growing multicultural population. “People who live in major Canadian cities and have no desire of relocating will miss out on numerous job opportunities elsewhere in Canada.

“Working in the North, it’s so much better. You’re using more skills you’ve been trained with, you have to read X-rays and apply casts to broken limbs. You have to do advanced assessments,” he added.

“It’s just night and day. You’re like a family physician working in the North, only for less pay!”

Grace was recruited at a nursing job fair by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada. He spent 10 years travelling around the three territories and northern First Nations communities, patching up lacerations, setting broken bones, prescribing medicines and delivering babies.  He has also worked as a nurse at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit for the past two years.

Grace lived in Toronto for over 20 years and studied a law program at Centennial College. He has been involved in social justice issues and advocacy in Toronto and in 1999 was awarded a scholarship to George Brown College, where he graduated as a registered nurse in 2002.

For more information, visit www.northarcticnursing.ca.