Rikki Miller is a Primary Care Paramedic with Weyburn EMS and has been serving in that role for the past 10 years. She always held an interest in the medical field and knew early on that she would find a career in healthcare. Miller took her first steps into the world of healthcare as a Care Aide before discovering the allure of Paramedicine, and she hasn't looked back since. For this International Women's Day, we asked Miller to share her perspective on what it's like to be a woman in that field and what it takes to provide this essential service to her community.


Although emergency services are often assumed to be a male-dominated sector, Miller pointed out that the gender split for Paramedics is a lot closer than most people think. While some Fire Rescue and Police Services may suffer from an "old guard" creating resistance in the path of progress, the relatively new EMS program was built around more modern values of inclusion and equality.

"Historically speaking, Primary Care or Paramedicine is relatively new. It's only been around for two generations, right? So we're kind of fortunate that way, and I haven't really experienced discrimination in my career," Miller revealed. "Sure, it started out with a bunch of males, but again it's relatively new. So currently in my field there is 50/50 women and men, and it's a great balance."

The day-to-day requirements of the job remain the same for men and women, and recruits are trained the same to handle whatever might come their way, but gender is far from being dismissed as an important asset in this line of work. The oft-sensitive nature of Paramedicine benefits from having both male and female care providers readily accessible to meet a patient's needs, and Miller has seen that benefit firsthand.

"Male or female, everybody has to pass the same exams to enter the field. It can be stressful and laborious work at times, but they do a great job of training to make sure you're fit for the job," she said. "There's been lots of times when we've gotten to a call and people are thankful that a woman has arrived. Those preferences just depend on the individual and even their situation in life that day."


Not everyone can handle the extreme highs and lows of the job, let alone the long hours and unpredictable schedule that comes with being a Paramedic. It takes the right characteristics to navigate, but that uncertain territory is where Primary Care professionals like Rikki find their stride. It's not her strength or size, but a willingness to face adverse situations straight on and the ability to keep a level head that makes Rikki a perfect fit for the job.

"We have no idea what we're going to respond to each day, so there's really no way of avoiding what situations you're going to enter. The key is just remaining confident and true to myself. I know that I can do this job and I know that I can trust in my abilities," she stated. "It can be stressful for sure, but you have to remain calm when people are dealing with their worst days. They don't want to see anybody stressed out themselves, so remaining very calm is a big part of our job."

Miller admitted that despite her years of experience, some people have still held false assumptions about her ability as a woman. But choosing to use those moments as an opportunity to show them wrong is just an example of the tenacity that she carries each day.

"There have been times on calls where I've had to lift somebody up and they've looked at me and said, 'Well you can't do this!' So I just show them, and they're surprised, but I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to," said Miller. "If this is the kind of job you want to do, be confident in yourself. Stay true to yourself. If you work hard, people will see what your capable of and they will accept you."


Rikki continues to show up every day, exhibiting those values and beliefs that have led her to a successful career. Even though their service can sometimes be taken for granted, she wouldn't trade her experience as a Paramedic for anything and wears her patches with pride.

"It's a truly wonderful job. It's very rewarding at times and I've been so fortunate to find such a great career. Out in public we typically get mistaken for police officers, but I'll correct people and say we're with the ambulance, and maybe we're not so cool anymore," Rikki laughed. "But, you know, me being out there shows them that they can do anything they want as well. I like that."