LUSK – “When I got accepted into the program I was full of emotion. I knew that this is what I was supposed to be doing. However, I was nervous to go back to school. I knew it was going to be hard, and I didn’t really know anyone going into it. I was starting over completely in a new town and it was intimidating.”
Niobrara County’s own Katelynn Miller is a 2018 graduate of the Laramie County Community College Paramedic Program. Affable by nature, Miller, who decided to step away from Lusk roughly a year ago to pursue her paramedic degree, is a 2011 Niobrara County High School graduate, a previous employee of the Niobrara County Treasurer’s office, an EMT on the Lusk/Niobrara Ambulance Service, and a past Councilwoman for the Town of Lusk. On December 8, 2018 she was able to add nationally registered Paramedic to her list of successes and commence her new career path.
Following Millers graduation in 2011 from Niobrara County High School, she originally began her college track at Chadron State College where she sought a dental degree. After a little over a year and a change of heart, Miller chose to take a break from school to find her true passion in life. She accepted a position at the Niobrara County Treasurer’s office and not long after, joined a friend in attending an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training course for the Lusk/Niobrara Ambulance Service.
“I didn’t know I wanted to be an EMT until I started doing it,” Miller said. That was five years ago.
Towards the winter of 2017, Miller made the earnest decision to follow the EMT path; “I loved what I did as an EMT and wanted to further my education to be able to help people more. I am very passionate about what I do and I wanted to pursue that to make a career out of it.”
Originally, Miller entertained the Casper College Paramedic Program, however as she puts it, “An opportunity in Cheyenne arose and I fell into the program there.”
After a lengthy application process to the Laramie County Community College Paramedic Program, Miller was accepted among fifteen other peers. She made the move from Lusk to Cheyenne in January of last year.
The paramedic program was a year-long course that included both hands on and classroom work while also requiring a trip to Oklahoma City, Okla., for volunteer hours plus an additional—minimum—five hundred hours of ride along time on assigned local ambulance services and roughly a thousand hours of clinical time.
“The entire program was very difficult and time consuming. It was very hard for me to balance work, school, and life” Miller said.
Of the sixteen, herself included, that started the course, only twelve graduated and were able to walk across the stage to accept their diploma.
In a career-period of efflorescence, Miller’s newly earned title is EMT-Paramedic NRP, ‘NRP’ standing for Nationally-Registered-Paramedic. Per Miller, her class through the LCCC program is the first class to receive the national registry by default. Walking across the stage, Miller explains that a culmination of emotions overtook her,
“I felt relief. I had this huge accomplishment; I felt a lot of different emotions,” she said. “My hard work had finally paid off and I was just happy”.
With the whirlwind of last year and her diploma in hand, Miller expresses that her dream job is a flight paramedic.
“After I get some experience I would eventually like to go flight. I have a lot to learn still and there are many paths I can take to further myself in the medical field.”
Still associated with the Lusk/Niobrara Ambulance Service, Miller currently works for the American Medical Response (AMR) Cheyenne Operation in Cheyenne where she lives and plans to stay for the foreseeable future.
“It is a great place to get experience and I am already familiar with the way the system in Laramie County works”.
As Miller adds of her entire journey, “The support I have had throughout this year sticks out to me. My family, friends, and the community of Niobrara County have been ever supporting of me and I couldn’t have asked for more backing and/or support. I truly couldn’t have done it without all of you. Niobrara County will always be home”.