Between Care and Traditions: An Internship at a Native Dispensary


Between Care and Traditions: An Internship at a Native Dispensary

When Audrey-Ann did her nursing internship at the Ekuanitshit Indigenous dispensary, she did not expect to have such a rich and transformative experience. From the first day, she was warmly welcomed by the community. A tour of the dispensary allowed her to meet the staff, all of whom were very dedicated to their work. What is immediately striking is the continuity of care: the dispensary operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The nurses take turns for periods of one month and live in apartments adjacent to the dispensary, ready to intervene at any time.

Day 2:

On the second day, Audrey-Ann had the chance to participate in a hare hunt. It was fascinating to learn how to set snares, an essential skill for Indigenous people who rely heavily on hunting for food. Although she did not catch a hare, a partridge got caught, adding an unexpected note to her learning. She also discovered bannock, a traditional bread cooked under sand and a fire, an ancient but effective technique.

Day 3:

The third day was particularly memorable for Audrey-Ann as she learned how to make earrings called "cabochons". She loved this craft activity, which allowed her to connect creatively and personally to Indigenous culture. But the most moving moment of her internship was the soul cleansing session. It was a deep spiritual experience where everyone shed tears, touched by the power and beauty of the ritual.

The Ekuanitshit dispensary is located in an Indigenous community in Mingan, far from major cities. This presents particular challenges, including a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, often linked to inadequate eating habits. In terms of care, Audrey-Ann discovered that Indigenous people combine modern practices with their traditional medicine, using plants and natural remedies to treat various ailments. Their deep knowledge of nature and ancestral remedies is impressive.

This internship also allowed Audrey-Ann to grow personally. Their culture is incredibly rich and their resilience admirable. She learned to appreciate and respect their traditions and way of life. Inspired by this experience, she even started to learn their language and make cabochons, finding it soothing and rewarding.

One of the most difficult aspects of this internship was the initial human contact. Audrey-Ann and her colleagues were strangers who did not speak their language and did not know their culture. Yet, despite this barrier, they were welcomed with open arms, and quickly, they formed a small family with them. Their kindness and open-mindedness made this experience unique and unforgettable.

In conclusion, Audrey-Ann's internship at the Ekuanitshit Indigenous dispensary was an extraordinary human and professional adventure. She discovered a rich culture, learned traditional healing techniques, and above all, she grew as a person. These people deserve to be known and respected, and she is infinitely grateful for the opportunity to have experienced this immersion.

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