“When I go into someone’s house and I know they’re having their worst day ever, and I can make a difference by reassuring them and caring for them,” Virginia says, “that’s the best.”
BCEHS is currently looking for more people like Virginia who want to make a difference in people’s lives. To strengthen the ambulance system in B.C., BCEHS has launched a nationwide recruitment campaign to bring paramedics and dispatch staff to B.C. A new video promoting careers at BCEHS is now running on platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
BCEHS has been undertaking the biggest hiring push in its history. In keeping with the collective agreement with the Ambulance Paramedics and Dispatchers of BC, CUPE local 873, BCEHS considers qualified internal candidates before recruiting externally, and we’ve already filled many positions with internal applicants, including nearly all the full-time positions that have been posted in both rural and urban areas across the province in 2021.
However, with so many new positions available, and some still open, we need more applicants. This new recruitment campaign is intended to reach potential applicants across Canada who want to build a career working for BCEHS.
Virginia (pictured left), and her emergency medical responder (EMR) colleague Allison Stiglitz (pictured right) both live and work in the small community of Tahsis situated in a breathtaking inlet on the western coast of Vancouver Island. Tahsis is quite literally at the end of the road – a 64-kilometre gravel road that winds through mountain passes.
Virginia and Allison have both recently stepped into new roles created during BCEHS’s ongoing hiring push. Previously they worked on-call shifts where they didn’t have a regular schedule and only made their full salary when they were called out to an emergency.
Now both work in scheduled on-call (SOC) positions where they work eight hours based in the ambulance station and 16 hours on-call for emergency response, on three-day rotations. This year, SOC positions have been added in rural and remote communities across B.C. as part of a new staffing model.
For the first time in their careers, Virginia and Allison have regular, predictable schedules and reliable pay. These new positions also make it possible for them to work in their communities promoting health and wellness.
Allison has begun leading wellness classes at the local school with plans to teach more.
“It’s amazing to be able to get out in the community and host these kinds of engagement activities,” Allison says. “Whether we’re talking about wellness, or providing CPR or naloxone training, these interactions really go a long way in rural communities, particularly for seniors and other people who may be isolated.”
These new positions also give Virginia and Allison more opportunities to grow professionally and connect with paramedic colleagues and other health care workers.
“I feel much more connected to my job now,” Virginia says. “I have more time to review my skill sets and practice with my partner. I also get to see the nurses who work in the community more often and build relationships with them.”
Many of the paramedic positions available in B.C. are in smaller communities like Tahsis, that are off the beaten path. Although Virginia and Allison recognize that living in a remote area isn’t for everyone, they both note there are many benefits to living in a small town.
“A lot of people want to get away from the chaos of everything right now,” Allison says. “There is a transition period when you move to a small community, but once you settle in, it’s incredible to be able to reconnect with nature and disconnect from the craziness of city life.”
Being a frontline health-care worker is also uniquely meaningful and rewarding when you know many of your patients.
“In a rural area, you really have a connection with the community. All our patients are our neighbours,” says Virginia. "It’s so different from being in an urban area where you only get to be with each patient for a short time.”
Interested in building a career as a paramedic, emergency medical call taker or dispatcher in beautiful B.C.? Head over to bcehs.ca/joinus where you can learn more about the different career paths available at BCEHS and sign up for our mailing list to get the latest info about open positions. You can also join BCEHS Careers on Facebook to get links to the latest job postings and news about hiring at BCEHS.