Fair Isle, a remote island off the coast of northern Scotland, covering an area of nearly 3 square miles is the most isolated inhabited place in the United Kingdom. The tiny island has been populated since the Bronze Age, and the remains of its ancient inhabitants can still be found in the isle.
During World War II, the British Army built a radar station on Fair Isle, and today the island is home to major high-tech relay stations and continues to be an important communications center. The population, which has decreased significantly in recent decades, is mainly employed in crofting, fishing, and knitting.
Fair Isle is noted for its bird observatory, built in 1954 and used for the study of a vast number of rare birds that visit the island as part of their migratory flights. The number of Fair Isle residents today is now less than 60, dropping from 400 from the beginning of the 20th century.
Recently, a problem arose for the islanders when the only nurse on the island decided to leave Fair Isle, leaving an open position for a new nurse. So the authorities are now looking for a new medic professional to take care of the sparse population. The advert for the job states that they are looking for an enthusiastic practitioner who will be the only medical professional on Fair Isle, as there is no doctor on the island.
The working hours are 37.5 hours per week, and the salary would be between £26,565 and £35,577 (US$33,902 and US$45,403), depending on the experience of the candidate. The candidates need to apply by 24th April, 2017, and the new nurse will receive £1,721 (US$2,196) per year as a distant island allowance and relocation assistance up to £8,000 (US$10,210).
The rest of the advert states the following: “Living within this small island community, with a resident population of approximately 60, you will be responsible for the provision of a healthcare service in line with local and national standards, ensuring that all islanders have access to appropriate healthcare to meet their needs. The post holder will carry continuing responsibility for the assessment of care needs, the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs of care whilst working within a specific caseload.”
Elena Mera-Long was the previous nurse on Fair Isle, but that wasn’t all she did as she was also the church organist, she helped in knitting, taught music and led the Christmas choir. She lived in a house which included the clinic where she received the islanders. Both the house and the clinic are now available for the new nurse. The island has no pub, and there’s only one small shop, so finding a new nurse might be hard, taken into consideration the harsh living conditions.
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The winters on Fair Isle are long and dark, and the island often has no power at night. As reported by the BBC, ferries are often canceled due to rough sea conditions and the airport is closed until the snow disappears from the island. The authorities have plans to increase the population and are modestly aiming at attracting ten more people to move to Fair Isle in the next few years.