I came for … and I stayed because … with John Short

John Short, site manager for the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre in Masset came for a short time but has now been on Haida Gwaii for more than a decade.

You never know what sort of sea creatures you are going to find on Haida Gwaii. John found a starfish on one of his adventures around the island.

He came to Haida Gwaii for a short time … that was a decade ago.

John Short, site manager for the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre in Masset, came from Toronto, Ont. to Haida Gwaii 10 years ago with a short stay in mind.

“I was working as a temporary nurse with a staffing company in 2009 and was placed in Masset for three weeks. Two days into the placement, I had a feeling that I was supposed to be here. It felt like home. I discussed future opportunities with the nurse manager. I worked in nearby communities for the next few months, but came back to Masset.,” Short said.

With that, Short officially started as a Northern Health employee on May 1, 2010,

“I fell in love with the community and people on Haida Gwaii. Living in a small, rural community was very new for me and I quickly became appreciative of the relationships I was building. My partner relocated with me and was creating his own experiences. We’ve been fortunate to have developed many meaningful relationships. By chance, we developed a strong friendship with a local Haida elder (matriarch) that led to both of us being adopted into her clan. We continue to have a close relationship with her and her adult children and many cousins. We had a naming potlatch and I was given the name Dangid Giigang, which means ‘always smiling’,” he said.

“There was a lot of potential for career advancement in Masset. The nurse manager that hired me recognized my leadership potential. She invested time to orientate me to her role so I could cover her vacations and provide support to the department. This motivated me to further develop my leadership skills. After she retired, I was hired as the nurse manager. I was in that position for two years until the opportunity to be the site director came up.”

The initial plans for a short stay on Haida Gwaii are now plans for a lifetime.

“Moving to Masset has been a great adventure. I look forward to coming to work every day. I love seeing when others develop their own connection to Masset. After getting our matriarch’s blessing, we acquired property outside of town and we plan to build our forever home while we live off-grid on the property. We are settlers here and don’t see ourselves ever wanting to leave Masset. This is home. I am very thankful that a temporary nursing assignment brought me here,” he said.


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