When we come from the city, what do we instantly think about when we hear the term “rural area”? Probably about vast open spaces, peace, community… However, a number of us will probably never consider leaving large urban centres. But some people crave adventures and live by the motto “I’ll go wherever life leads me”! And these people have the gift of getting us to fall in love with remote regions!

This is why we wish to introduce you to Caroline Janelle, native from Saint-Guillaume and who, after her studies in Longueil and working in Beauport and Charlevoix, Québec, found herself at IRIS Les Escoumins, working as an optician. What convinced her to choose this profession? A suggestion from her dad, during a visit with her optometrist. To Caroline, he got it right: a field combining health, fashion and teaching, was perfection.

We asked Caroline to tell us about herself and about what it’s really like to work and live in a rural area.

Why did you choose to move to a rural area?
The old French adage “Qui prend mari, prend pays”, which translates to “She who takes a husband, adopts his country,” applies. But for various other reasons, I settled in a remote region. The first one: starting a family! In my view, it was obvious for me that raising children in a rural area, in a small village, would be easier. Proximity, but also fast services, the teacher’s implication and proximity, friends, neighbours…
Another reason why I chose to come live in a rural area: proximity with my patients. In the city, I found that it was difficult to really get to know them. Since the field of eye care is a service to which people refer to on average every two or three years, that made, in my view, the service rather impersonal and less targeted.

What would you tell an optician hesitating to settle in a rural area?
That I too hesitated because I found myself moving even further from my family, but nevertheless, social life is easier to develop, especially in small villages.
And, unlike what most people think, there isn’t a lack of services in a rural area or in a small village. Doctors, dentists, optometrists, massage therapists, beauty salons, food retailers and various services, many activities and shows are organized… we do not lack anything! Forget about waiting long hours in the emergency room, forget the traffic in the morning and in the evenings. The children or not left out of options either: figure skating club, soccer club, karate, gymnastics, pool… and what about teachers! Students benefit from more specialized supervision where physical activity and self-fulfilment reigns. People really get involved to give back to the community.

Caroline Janelle, optician in a rural area

What leisure activities do you partake in outside of your work that allows you to take full advantage of the area?
Snowshoeing, ice skating, jogging, fishing, cabin life…

Did you notice a difference practising your profession in the “city” versus a rural area?
Absolutely, as mentioned earlier, patients in small towns are different. They are welcoming, they ask about my career path, they are proud of their region. It’s pleasing to bump into them at the grocery store, the pharmacy… everywhere daily. It makes our service personalized since we are aware of their real needs.

In your daily life as an optician, what makes you happy? What do you love about your profession?
The fact that we have a small team makes our services personalized and allows us to have friendly conversations with our patients. What I appreciate the most is, of course, to see the satisfaction in their eyes! The most gratifying is when they come back to thank us or send their family and friends.

Are you convinced? Because we are! We are pleased to welcome at all of our locations any team member who wishes to explore rural living, to take advantage of a ton of outdoor activities, the chance to offer personalized customer service to a small community, and of a ton of services as Caroline detailed here. With its 150 locations across Canada, eye care professionals looking for adventure are welcome!

Many thanks to Caroline, we are proud to have her within the IRIS family!