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Women in Canadian Paramedicine:
Stronger Together

Table of Contents

AM2021 – Guest Editorial

Guest Editorial By Cheryl Cameron and Tyne M. Lunn We acknowledge the traditional homelands of the many diverse First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples whose ancestors walked this land since time immemorial. In the spirit of reconciliation, we are learning to honor and celebrate the traditional territory of Turtle Island and are grateful for all peoples – Indigenous and non – who live, work and play on this land. This edition of Canadian Paramedicine magazine themed “Stronger Together” marks the

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Stronger Together: Recognizing our Biases, and Working Together to Become Agents of Change

By Shauna Speers and Melissa Vose Over the past few decades, women have entered the vocation of paramedicine in increasingly greater numbers. In BC, female practitioners currently compose approximately 39% of the 4300 paramedics working for the provincial EHS service(1). Our paramedic subculture has evolved to embrace this as normal, and it is no longer the case that women consistently encounter overt opposition to their place in prehospital care. However, women still face an arduous task as we work our

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Improving Paramedicine Practice Through Social Accountability

BY LAURA HIRELLO AND CHERYL CAMERON What is social accountability? Over the past few decades, health and medical researchers have begun to recognize the role external factors play in an individual’s health. These factors, now called the determinants of health (DOH), include cultural and societal structures like living conditions, income, birthplace as well as personal attributes including race, gender, and ability. (1,2. The impact the DOH have on individual and population health has led global organizations to call on healthcare

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Microaggression in Paramedic Practice

By AMY LANGRIDGE Micro aggression is a relatively new term (circa 1970) and although discussed as a way of articulating the act of subtle and unconscious racism by Pierce et al [1] the concept has evolved to include sexism, homophobia, ageism and many other aspects of aggression that are experienced by marginalized  groups within society.  The very notion that microaggressions are unconsciously emitted without intent to cause harm by the perpetrator makes it a troubling concept to remedy or even

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Call to Action: Antiracism in Paramedicine

BY TYNE M. LUNN, SARAH LOGAN, MELANIE DOIRON, CHERYL CAMERON We acknowledge the original homelands of the many diverse First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples whose ancestors have walked this land since time immemorial. We are grateful to live, work and play on the traditional territories belonging to the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples of Turtle Island. “It is a privilege to educate yourself about marginalization rather than experience it.” – Dr. Farha Shariff (intersectional feminist and antiracist educator)

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The Miss-measure of Sex and Gender in the Evidence that “guides” Paramedic Practice

BY BECKY DONELON Providing excellent care for every patient, regardless of sex, gender expression, socioeconomic status, or location, experiencing a health matter is the commitment of every paramedic. A better understanding of paramedic practice is emerging where practice can now be framed within the variabilities of practice, as relational and across the health and social continuum.1 Healthcare provided by paramedics most often occurs within the patient’s environment, and while usually within a model of clinical oversight, is dependent on the

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Female Leaders in Paramedicine: Sharing the Hive or a Sting in Their Tale?

BY ALEX ULRICH AND GEORGETTE EATON Literature surrounding the topic of gender and ambulance services has been historically scarce and has focused more on discrimination and even such subjects as whether women are physically able to life and carry patients, drive vehicles and deal with the emotions associated with emergency care. In more recent times however, gender discrimination and stereotypes are becoming more subtle. Whilst this is positive as it signals an improving picture, it is becoming increasingly difficult to

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Caring for Our Communities: Women in Paramedicine Improving the Wellbeing of Canadians

BY MEDAVIE HEALTH SERVICES Every day across our country, women in paramedicine are making extraordinary contributions – playing a pivotal role in delivering integrated care programs and bringing high-quality care to patients directly in their homes and communities; more important than ever in the age of COVID-19. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose to Challenge”, recognizing that from challenge comes change. We invited some of our champions in health care at Medavie Health Services to tell us how

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Lowering the Ladder

BY SUZANNE MAYNARD As a woman, it can be a precarious climb up the ladder. Along the way there are many things that can make us slip and falter. Those missteps shape us, it is part of what makes reaching the top such an incredible reward. But there is something so much more than our own challenges teaching us lessons. We learn, it isn’t just the view from the top, but it’s what we see when we look behind us.

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The Women of the North

BY JENNIE HELMER In this article, we are celebrating four female paramedic stories, the Women of the North: the first female Director to lead the Northern Region, a Rural Advanced Care Community (RACCP) blazing trails while also playing the trumpet, a Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) who moonlights as a rad mountain biker and a Community Paramedic (CP) with a passion for giving back. All of them eagerly embrace their work in Northern BC, where resources are scarce, the independence extreme

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My Life as a Disabled Paramedic

BY TORI CUTHBERTSON This story is meant to bring awareness and a shift in thinking towards individuals with chronic illness/disabilities encountered by persons working within a paramedic service, not to shame, assign blame, or disrespect anyone. I do not assert that all paramedics have the bias or devaluing belief. Service Dogs (SD) are increasingly recognized as an effective tool for managing many chronic conditions including mobility, diabetes, seizure alert, autism and more. The most common associated image of working dogs

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Stronger Together

BY BRITTANY SHAW When undertaking my paramedic degree, I can vividly remember my first lecture. Our lecturer stood in front of the class and started explaining the journey we were about to embark on. He told us about the challenges we would face and described the highs the job can bring. We sat wide eyed, as he finished the lecture with a simple sentence. “Start here, go anywhere”. Now at the time I thought he meant maybe a station assignment

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A “Paramedic-Athlete” Model for Improving Mental Wellness and Resilience in Canadian Paramedicine

BY ALYSSA KOHL AND AMAN HUSSAIN Like athletes, paramedics are required to perform at their best, regardless of the circumstances. In a sense, they are always expected to be ready to utilize their knowledge and skills at a moment’s notice. Collectively, paramedics (and other First Responders) face heavy work demands which often involve routine and/or prolonged exposure to various physical and psychological stressors.1,2 Unlike athletes, however, some of this routine work could often involve traumatic stressors, such as having to

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Reintegration: A new dawn, a new day

Photo Credit: Scott Ryan, 2020 BY REAH BELL When many first responders close their eyes they can hear the sound of a radio crackling, see the bright lights of the truck, and even imagine the high pitched wail of the siren. For many, these sights and sounds are a routine part of the job, while for others, it can be a psychological trigger causing a harmful emotional reaction. This trauma and accompanying emotions may result in members taking time away

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Sistering

BY HEATHER COOK In 2016, author Glennon Doyle narrated a short film that illustrated how centuries old building techniques were used to sustain the strong supports that hold up greater structures after – or before – they have become weakened by heavy loads. The carpenter must connect a board to the left and right to strengthen the joist so it can continue to manage the load, together.  The term for this is Sistering. (1)  Women in Paramedicine While women tend

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Interprofessional Reflections: Pandemic Duty to Care

BY LINDSEY BOECHLER, NATASHA HUBBARD MURDOCH, HEATHER NELSON The social contract or the ‘duty to care’ is variably addressed in health professional programs. Students and practitioners may describe a deeply rooted duty to serve embedded within their internal ethical value system. This arises from a sense of a calling, an obligation to family, history or community, or a commitment to upholding the relationship between healthcare professionals and society. The Covid-19 pandemic has publicized ethical discussions within and between professionals; changing

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Shifting the Paradigm for Systems Thinking in Pre-hospital Care

BY ANGELINE ABELA Several authors are credited with founding contributions to the field of systems thinking (ST) and systems dynamics, however, it is Barry Richmond who is credited with first devising the term ‘systems thinking’.1  Richmond used the label to describe the need to consider how different components impact and influence each other within what he saw as increasingly complex and interconnected systems.  Since then there have been attempts made to accurately define what is meant by ST.  In 2015,

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Association News – AM2021

With the evolution of paramedicine as a field of practice, we have seen in its growth, the rise of impassioned women into many roles. Educators, advocates, champions and leaders; women are shaping the present and the future of the profession in ways that elevate it to its highest level. The Ontario Paramedic Association is proud to showcase the incredible women who volunteer their time on the BOD and Wellness Committee, advocating for advances that improve and strengthen the profession and

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