Danica Dragon Jacimovic

Nurse in a northern clinic
Inuulitsivik Health Center, Hudson Bay villages

Danica Dragon Jacimovic

“I have been wanting to go up North since I was a student. I have always wanted to travel, to get to know other cultures. I had previously done humanitarian aid work in Cameroon. It’s always been a part of me, a way that I give my work meaning. I started working up North in 2011, in La Romaine, among the Innu, in an extended role.

In my career, I have worked in community health, mental health, with addiction and taught at the college level. I am interested in and passionate about many subjects. What I like doing the most up North is pediatrics. I am the woman who says she will never have children, but I like working with babies and I appreciate the contact with parents. I felt at home up North, so I came back. I like having a lot of autonomy, fully using my clinical judgement and feeling a sense of adventure. I want to be useful, not simply execute tasks.

At first, to learn, I settled in Kuujjuarapik. I like walking in the villages. Each village is very different and I like the variety. “

In short

"To work up North, you need to be sensitive and have a cultural openness. We work with a marginalized population that doesn’t have the same rights as the rest of Canadian citizens. It takes an open mind, respect and humbleness. The Inuit are a warm, curious people who are welcoming. But you need to show the same empathy to be able to reach them and be accepted."

The key words in my practice are autonomy, curiosity and the capacity and desire to learn every day. We need to question each other and to work as a team. I need to have the humility to question myself and use my critical judgement to the absolute best of my abilities. It’s as if I were an eternal student.

At first, you go through different shocks. When I went to a grocery store in southern Quebec, it was dizzying. In a pharmacy, I said to an employee: ‘Ms., do you realize there is a whole aisle just for shampoo?’ You get little shocks like that!

I travel based on the employer’s needs and based on my availability which I provide every quarter. I could potentially take a lot of vacation, which gives me a lot of control over my life. You have to find a balance between the northern-southern lifestyles. It’s very different from the 9 to 5 routine.