Chrissy Munro’s work on deployment to La Loche has re-energized her passion for nursing.
Munro has been a nurse since 2004, working in Regina in everything from long-term care to Labour and Birth, and most recently in Public Health.
Munro got a taste of pandemic work while helping to get one of the COVID-19 testing centres up and running in Regina.
"While working there, I felt a strong connection to what I was doing, and it began to revitalize my love for nursing,” she said. “I felt rejuvenated. I was excited to see the immediate effect my care and attention was having on people. I loved the work, I was connected to the process that was occurring, I was contributing to improving the process, and I was proud of the work I was doing.”
When she was asked if she would be willing to volunteer in La Loche, to assist with the outbreak, she knew it was something she wanted to do. So she kissed her husband and two children good-bye and headed north.
So far, she’s worked every day but two since she’s been in La Loche, helping with testing for COVID-19 in the emergency drive-thru, testing out in the community, and contact tracing.
“I have learned an immense amount, having dipped my toes in so many facets of being in this job,” she stated.
The scenery around La Loche is “breathtaking,” Munro noted. “I’m sure I look like a tourist, given the number of photos I take,” she laughed. Having never had the opportunity to travel that far north in Saskatchewan before, for the first time, she’s seen bears up close, as well as cranes, hawks, bald eagles and many unique birds. While the scenery is gorgeous, it’s the people in the community who have claimed her heart.
“The town of La Loche is a close community of families,” she explained. “Many of the women here have lived their entire lives in this town. These beautiful women – mothers, wives, grandmothers and sisters – took us under their wings and have treated us like family.”
La Loche is different from many southern communities in that there are no street addresses for houses.
“The people here know where all of the community members live,” Munro said. “If we ask about a person, one of our locals, as we affectionately call them, can tell us their family members, where they live, and usually a little story about them.
“I am amazed at their memories. They have been our saving grace in this community.”
La Loche is truly a community of families who care greatly for one another, Munro said. “The love here is palpable.”
Her advice for other staff going on deployment is simple: Drop your preconceptions, be open to learning and meeting new people, and learning from them.
“I have been humbled by the generosity of this community, and the acceptance from the staff of this facility and the people living in La Loche. I’d encourage any nurse starting out in their career to spend time in the north. The lessons learned here, being immersed in the culture, learning in a small, yet exciting facility, will stay with you for the rest of your life. I know I will never forget this experience.”
Chrissy Munro, RN, BScN, Public Health Nurse