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Paramedic from Golden wins international scholarship

Shauna Speers is the first Canadian recipient of the Zoll EMT scholarship, a $2,500 bursary that will help pay for her advanced care paramedic (ACP) schooling at the Justice Institute of BC.
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“I was really excited when I found out. It’s great to have a bit of a buffer to help with the financial burden of being in school,” said Speers, who is currently completing her ACP training in Victoria while her family remains in Golden. “I felt proud too. It feels good to get a pat on the back once in a while.”

Speers has worked as a primary care paramedic in her hometown for eight years and was compelled to pursue advanced training by her patients.

“I just wanted to do better for my patients. The more knowledge I have, the better I can care for people in my community,” she said. “I’ve always been self-motivated to learn as much as I can. Lives rely on it.”

Speers said a lot of the care Golden paramedics provide revolves around pain management because of their community’s distance from a major trauma centre.

For that reason, Speers helped successfully champion a trial of patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps in some Interior communities.

“I just really empathize with my patients and want to do more to help them,” she said.

Speers' motivation to do more extends to her crew as well. She often runs simulations at the station and created study aids to help keep new BCAS Treatment Guidelines top of mind.

“We don’t get as many calls out here, so we do different things to keep our practice up,” she said. “It’s about keeping that muscle memory going so when you do get that life-threatening call, you know what to do.”

Speers heard about the scholarship on Facebook and thought she would be a good candidate. The application process included a short personal essay and a reference letter from an EMS supervisor.

“It’s a great time to become an ACP,” she said. “The training is hard and most people can’t work so this scholarship will definitely help me and my family back in Golden.”

This is the second year the scholarship has been awarded. The application period for 2018 recipients begins in January. For more information please visit the ZOLL EMT Scholarship Program website.
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