Supporting patients with ultrasound in the Northwest Territories

Woman points to Inuvik on map

Danielle Jackson points to Inuvik, Northwest Territories where she spent three weeks providing ultrasound care

February 8, 2024

Limited health human resources are a reality facing hospitals across Canada, including in the Northwest Territories where patients have limited access to ultrasounds. For Danielle (Dani) Jackson, an ultrasound technologist at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), it was an easy decision to support those patients. When the opportunity to spend three weeks in the Arctic Circle emerged, approximately 4,000 km away from home, she took it.  

Jackson provided care for a variety of patients in Beaufort Delta region of Northwest Territories. While there, she performed ultrasounds for pregnant people, as well as those experiencing abdominal pain, pelvic pain and breast cancer. “Most of my patients were from the town of Inuvik itself, but others flew in because most of the roads were closed when I was there,” she explains. “Patients were flying in for their appointments and flying back out.”  

“I really like to test myself as a sonographer, I think that any opportunity to grow is one we should take,” says Jackson. “It was a great opportunity to learn a new machine, and help out individuals who I learned, don't always get access to this type of care.”

After taking four planes, in October 2023 Jackson arrived in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, a town of 3,000 people.  

It took more than a year of planning to coordinate the opportunity and identify appropriate resources at the site before her arrival. “We had several meetings to find out what Inuvik Regional Hospital’s needs were. Once we understood they required an ultrasound technologist to provide care, we worked together to see when and how we could make this happen,” explains Marcia Trieu, Director of Medical Imaging at Victoria Hospital. The two hospitals collaborated to determine the process, travel requirements, and itinerary.  

LHSC ultrasound technologists were invited to submit applications expressing their interest in the three-week opportunity. Jackson submitted her application highlighting her personal and professional desire to use her skills to support patients and to learn more about the challenges of servicing remote locations.

The opportunity provided Jackson with unique challenges that helped strengthen her skills, expertise and confidence as an ultrasound technologist. Working in a remote region, with limited support compared to what she is used to at LHSC, and learning to use a different machine enabled her to grow both personally and professionally.

“I was able to use my skills and knowledge to help patients get the care they needed, and that opportunity is something I will always treasure,” says Jackson. It is an opportunity that she encourages others to take on and would also do again herself.  

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