Our Tofino Neighbours: Rhiannon Davis of BC Ambulance Service
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Frontline emergency workers have an incredibly important job, and the current COVID-19 situation is shining a spotlight on the hard tasks and responsibilities healthcare workers undertake everyday. Because of its remote location, Tofino’s medical services—the hospital and clinic, and the staff, doctors, nurses and paramedics—are a vital support system to the health of our town. And we are so lucky to have talented and compassionate teams here!
Currently at the head of Tofino’s BC Ambulance station, Rhiannon Davis is our local Unit Chief and Community Paramedic, and she says being part of the larger healthcare team is an aspect she enjoys most about her job. Alongside the problem solving it entails, Rhiannon says helping people and giving back to the community she lives in is what makes the job so rewarding. Of course, it comes with its challenges—the global pandemic being of particular note right now—but, having worked as a paramedic for almost 10 years now, Rhiannon says she makes sure she takes time to get up, move and take some deep breaths throughout the day to help get through the tough moments.
Rhiannon tells the story of her coming to Tofino as a “classic girl-meets-boy-with-an-accent” (and falling in love and staying forever) tale, but knowing its happy ending makes it no less heartwarming to hear! Mike and Rhiannon met at university in the UK (where Rhiannon is from), and, following graduation, she thought she’d try out a gap year in Canada. “That was 2004, and now we’re married with two kids!” she says. Now her days usually start with her five year old sprinting into her bedroom “a little too early for my liking,” and it’s having some quality family time that helps keep things in balance after a hard shift. (Though she admits to having an “unhealthy relationship with Grey’s Anatomy” which might be another trick of keeping an even keel.)
Outside of work, Rhiannon likes to get outside, travel, ski, ride bikes and surf. Surfing is actually part of what brought her and Mike together, and a large part of how she spent a number of her first years here in Tofino. Before she became a paramedic, Rhiannon worked at Surf Sister and the close-knit crew of women who worked there also travelled together, surfed together and “had an immense amount of fun and outrageous adventures together.” The strength of the female surf community continues to be something Rhiannon loves about Tofino. In addition, “I think it the number of women who have strong leadership roles in our town [is also noteworthy]. Be it our business leaders, doctors, teachers or politicians—there are so many incredible, strong women absolutely killing it in traditionally male-dominated positions. They are the people I admire and who motivate me every day.”
While she misses her family in the UK and the “British irreverent sense of humour,” we are glad Rhiannon calls Tofino home, grateful for the good work she does and positivity she brings to her role, and proud to highlight how important it is within our community.