Bear Encounter #1

So everyone who voiced concerns about my technical difficulties can stop holding their breaths. I am back online — struggling with Windows 8 but back online.

Now – to the bear. Monday I spent most of the day in a hospital wide orientation and it was cold and rainy, so I drove to the hospital. At lunch I ran home to get a sweater, sitting all day in a conference room was uncomfortably cold. I sacrificed my sweet parking spot and was stuck much further back.

I didn’t leave the hospital until closer to 2000h. I did 4 hours in ER then had a telephone conference call with my tutors back home and my preceptor here. So it was getting pretty dark while I walked through the lot to my lone car at the back.

I caught movement in my peripheral vision while reading a message on my phone while walking. I looked and froze. Maybe 10m away was a black bear, hanging out in the smoking area on the edge of the lot. He wasn’t smoking 😛 probably looking for food. By the time I loosened up and tried to open the camera on my phone he had (literally) rolled over and started back into the woods. uh huh- there it is! I was pretty freaked by the way!


Let me share with you a little of what I have learned this week in hospital orientation. First I want to say that it is a shame attending this type of orientation is not available to students. I would not have learned this information had I not also been hired on as an RPN.

Prior to 1993 there were two hospitals in this small area. One provincally funded and one federally funded. Anyone have any thoughts as to why? For those not in healthcare did you know that the FIrst Nations’ Peoples do not have OHIP cards like we do, their healthcare is funded federally. Ahh.. now you get it…  and let me remind you we are in the early 1990s.

Negotiations were sensitive and an amalgamation agreement was not made until 2002. The new health campus where I am spending my time now, opened its doors in 2010.


This map provides a great visual of the number of people this hospital provides care for. Everyone thinks I’m north, but there is so much more beyond Sioux Lookout with residents who are also entitled to quality health care.

I am conflicted with idea that I have so many options to obtaining health care, the furthest and most inconvenient for myself is booking an appointment with my family physician, then I have to drive 35 minutes from Hamilton to St Catharines and sit in the waiting room for a while until he can see me. To contrast that one of my first ER patients was a tween from the north who ingested Tylenol tabs while drinking. This young person reported to the nursing station in the community, treatment began but so did alot of other processes. Telephone calls to doctors, a doctor somewhere in the country spoke to the ER DR in SL and we had to accept this patient. Because this patient was a minor an escort needed to be found and travel arrangements made. This tween had blood work drawn and medical treatment began. It was almost 9 hours before they arrived in the department and was seen by a physician and mental health worker. There is a hostel on site for patients like this. We know this is not something that can be fixed in one visit on one day, so the patient and escort stay on site and when ready transport will be arranged for them back home.

It has been such an interesting transition not only being here but into a new nursing role. Now I recognize how much of a challenge it can be to not only come to a place like this, but how I’ll have culture shock again when I come home in a few months.

I’d love to hear some thoughts, let me know in the comments below.

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6 thoughts on “Bear Encounter #1

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog Rhiannon. Way to go. I can not even imagine how different life is there. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your next post. As a side note why would you stop to take a pic of the bear? I would be out of there so fast….


  2. You are so brave. I admire how you are not only embracing the nursing role within a rural community, but also learning about the health system and the surrounding culture, as a whole. It is gut wrenching to hear of the atrocities that have taken place, and to learn that these were discontinued very recently. There is a lot of work still to be done.

    I also recently had an encounter with a bear (almost!) but I’ll tell you about it when you get home 🙂 Thanks for keeping us up to date!
    Love, your sis


  3. You are north of Kenora. On my way through Kenora by car going to Winipeg , I remember seeing bears and a moose along side the woods by the highway. It is an exciting countryside.


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