Come for the adventure. Stay for the people.
VIDEO: Interview with Pascale Lanthier-Labonte, Deputy to the Chief Pharmacist, about her experiences with the CBHSSJB
My name is Pascale Labonté.
I’m a pharmacist. I’ve been a pharmacist for nine years, but I’ve been a pharmacist for the Cree Health Board for seven years.
However, I started on a part-time basis for the Cree Board, and now, I’ve been working full-time for a year and a half.
Basically I had just returned from a year-long trip.
I wanted to start working again, but I felt a bit intimidated to start working in the South again, so I decided to
come and… continue to travel, but within Quebec.
So, I looked into job opportunities as a pharmacist a little bit.
Then I said ah, well, maybe with the Cree communities, it could be really interesting.
It would allow me to learn about a new culture, to be… to have friends from a different culture, to not just be a tourist passing through, but to really get involved in the communities.
So, that allowed me to come back and work in Quebec in a way that was a little gentler than going back to work in Montréal for example.
For me, working in the North, has advantages in two ways.
On a professional level, there’s a lot of work.
Sometimes, we say, we work hard, and then we’re in a bit of a hurry, but, on the other hand, we can take the time, in the end, to say, okay, no, this is important, I’ll spend some time with my patient or I’ll get involved in such and such project.
On a professional level, it has really allowed me to explore avenues that I was interested in, and learn more about things, other than the pharmacy. For example, employee management, inventory management, etc. So, several fields of interest on a professional level.
Then on a personal level, well, I’m able to achieve something different than just being a pharmacist, by having four months of vacation per year. We do about two months then we have a month off or maybe sometimes a little bit less.
So, it really helps you to grow, on another level, on a personal level. Not being a pharmacist 100% of the year, and having four months out of the year, where I can be someone else.
I can say I travel or I’m a skydiver, for example. It’s fun to be able to say that I’m more than a pharmacist, and to grow in a different way.
At the level of the Cree Board, what’s truly unique, is that our colleagues are Cree, they’re from that place, in the absolute.
So, we are totally immersed in the culture. We’re invited to celebrations and to eat traditional food.
So, of course sometimes, there’s a little adjustment to make, you know.
Our clients, our patients are Cree. So, sure, there are small adjustments, but when you get beyond that, it’s very rewarding.
Then, in the end, it allows us to grow and to question ourselves, even our values and to add other different values, like the importance of family and friends and taking time.
I would say that it feels really good. And, of course, being surrounded by nature is great.
It is really easy to access nature.
That’s something I find important. There’s no traffic, you can get to work on foot, on a bike or on a scooter.
So, for me, that’s a big advantage.
It’s really important to have fellow pharmacists who come to work for the Cree Health Board especially those with expertise in certain areas.
I think we have a responsibility as Quebecers to say that we really want to standardize pharmaceutical care and access to pharmaceutical care. So, there is a real lack of staff to be able to provide pharmaceutical care to the entire population.
I believe that, as pharmacists in Quebec, we must say no, this doesn’t make sense and not just focus on our personal environment.
Instead, we must really get involved in providing pharmaceutical care everywhere.
I know that some people are very much involved in humanitarian aid, etc. But, in the end, there are real needs, even within our own province. And, of course, it takes people too, who are even experts, not just pharmacists with somewhat general knowledge but to go find people who can develop, then we can even train the rest of the team.
In terms of staffing as well, technical assistants, and pharmacists who come and get involved, not only for two or three weeks as substitutes, but with the intention of really staying for a few years. It secures them.
It helps them want to outdo themselves, and to want to provide their community with the best service.
So, I think it’s really important to be aware of this, and then say, I want to get involved too.
For some, it’ll happen at the beginning of their career.
For others, it might be more at the end of their career, or there are those who think, well, I’m willing to give, let’s say, six months because I’m coming in on a deferred basis.
Well, all the options are good, in the end. It’s saying I’ll go and do my part. I think that’s how we’ll be able to build a great team.
VIDEO: Interview with Ran Shu, Pharmacist, about his experiences with the CBHSSJB
Reporting to the head pharmacist, the pharmacist will primarily be responsible for providing pharmaceutical care to patients in the 9 Cree communities.
Full-time and replacement positions are available at our pharmacy locations in Chisasibi, Mistissini and Waskaganish.
Candidates must be members in good standing of the Quebec Order of Pharmacists. The language of work in the north is English.
Benefits and Compensation
- Furnished accommodation provided – heating and electricity paid-for with possibility of accommodation for a family
- Moving and storage at the expense of the employer
- 3 to 4 annual return trips to your hiring location in Quebec and up to 4 weeks of vacation
- Insurance plans and defined benefit pension plan (RREGOP)
- Hours per day/week : 8 /40
- Shift type: Rotation: Day / Evening / Week-Ends
- On-call periods
Remuneration is based on the 2022-2023 MSSS - APES collective agreement, in addition to a northern premium, as well as retention and cargo bonuses.
A one-time bonus of $25,000 is available to pharmacists who accept a minimum 2-year commitment.
Additional compensation may be offered to compensate for regional disparities, number of dependents, housing, and travel.