Born and raised in Quebec, Amelie attended Laval University where she is earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Physiotherapy. After spending two years as a physiotherapist at a private clinic in Quebec, and another three years at a private clinic in Vancouver, Amelie saw a position open in Inuvik and decided to jump at the opportunity for change.
Beginning her career in the Northwest Territories two years ago as a Regional Physiotherapist for the Beaufort-Delta Region, she originally signed a two-year contract to test the waters.
“I’ve always wanted to visit the north! My first plan when I moved here was to only work for 1 year, but I ended up really enjoying it! I find that working here for 1 year just isn’t enough time to fully experience it.”
Most recently, Amelie has signed on for a full-time position so she can continue to soak up the professional and personal experiences, and is enjoying her new role as the Supervisor of the Rehabilitation Department at the Inuvik General Hospital.
Transitioning from private to public healthcare was a bit of an adjustment, but says her work carries a lot of excitement and diversity, so it made the change worthwhile. Amelie has also greatly enjoyed the opportunity to travel to communities across the Beaufort-Delta and Sahtu Regions including Tuktoyaktuk, Tulita, Tsiigehtchic, Norman Wells, Aklavik, and many others.
“You have to do a lot more – managing your waiting list, connecting with doctors and nurses in the community, and so on. I find that you have a lot more responsibility, but it also expands your professional experience and knowledge and provides a lot more variety in your work.”
One of the most rewarding aspects of her work is the relationships she builds with clients.
“I find that in big cities, there isn’t as strong of a connection with your clients. In these smaller communities, clients are inviting you over for tea or for family celebrations. They’re really open to sharing their experiences and lives with you, and it’s an incredible experience.”
Though she hasn’t taken up the invitation for tea or family gatherings, Amelie has had the pleasure of connecting with other healthcare professionals during her community travel clinics, and has been invited to social gatherings and community events.
“My colleagues are very supportive, and open to helping – especially when you’re new. It’s easy to develop a close bond with your colleagues here, and they become your second family.”
In the last two years, Amelie has felt great pride in her work and the opportunities to implement change. When she first joined the team in Inuvik the waitlist for physiotherapy was quite long, but Amelie presented the idea of physiotherapy being added to the walk-in clinic services. Since this idea was implemented by her managers, Amelie and the rehab team have noticed a significant improvement in their client’s wellbeing and treatment, noting that the opportunity to provide clients with tools and exercises while they wait for longer-term support has reduced the likelihood of clients developing chronic pain.
“I noticed that a lot of clients were waiting for a long time, and had they been seen sooner the issues would be easier to remedy. So I was looking for an idea to put in place to ensure we could see clients faster. We now have a Friday afternoon walk-in clinic for clients to see a physiotherapist in a timely manner, in order to alleviate their wait for more extensive treatment.”
Another proud moment for Amelie was the collaboration between herself and the Public Health Nurse, where they worked to build an information sheet of pelvic floor exercises for clients that were pre-natal/post-partum.
For Amelie, Inuvik is the perfect combination of community spirit and quiet engagement with nature. In her personal time, she enjoys attending the community events and festivals such as craft markets and the Muskrat Jamboree.
“It’s so fun to attend community events! Because the community is small, you get to see your clients selling their crafts and artwork, and it feels like it completes the circle. You’re helping your clients to get better and you’re able to see them getting back to what makes them happy. You don’t get to see that in a bigger city.”
She also loves spending time in nature and has been leaning in to saying “yes” when presented with fun activities and going out on the land. For Amelie, being an active member of the community and engaging with the opportunities available in Inuvik helps her feel more connected to her clients.
She shares this advice with those thinking of making the move to the north:
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions – your colleagues understand the impact of living in a small community, and are happy to lend their knowledge and experiences with you to make it an easier transition.”
“Be open to the opportunities presented to you – say yes to everything. The more you engage with your community and connect with the land, the closer you can become with your clients.”