Nursing in the north
Male nurse numbers increasing

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 25/98) - When Craig Lee refereed an exhibition hockey game between Canada and Russia in the early 1990s, he had to break up a fight between two aggressive players.

The cuts, bruises and bleeding he saw then he sees far more regularly now as a nurse in Fort Good Hope.

The number of male nurses in the North has risen in the past couple of decades, from just one in a hundred to four in a hundred, and Lee said any stigma once associated with the idea of a male nurse has been erased.

Originally from St. John's, Lee came North in January 1997 with his common-law wife Lori Clarke.

He took training at the General Hospital School of Nursing in St. John's and then worked in New Mexico and Fogo Island in Newfoundland.

"I like nursing because it's challenging," he said. "Every day is different. It's never dull."

Though on call one third of the year, Lee does not find it too much of a strain.

And he said he likes small communities such as Fort Good Hope.

Since Jan. 12 Lee has been in Yellowknife for an advanced nursing skills education program to learn more about community health, women and newborns and pathophysiology.

The six-month program teaches nurses more about diseases they may see more of in the North, such as tuberculosis, FAS or broken bones.