Meet 35 year old Rosie Dwyer and you would most likely get the impression she is warm, empathic and studious. Rosie, from Australia, also represents a minority in her field of work. Having spent time living in the UK to be trained with Magpas Air Ambulance, in Cambridgeshire, Rosie now specialises in bringing hospital level care to patients in life-threatening conditions at the scene of serious medical emergencies, whatever they may be.
Interestingly, 2017 figures (cited in the FPHC and IBTPHEM direct) reveal that only a quarter of Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) trainee doctors in the UK are women and only 14% of Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care members are women. With 10 plus years of intensive training involved, what's in it for Rosie and why could becoming a PHEM Doctor appeal to other women?
"I really enjoy the work, it's challenging yet rewarding. My training enables me to make a big difference in a very short space of time, I can really help people when they are at their most vulnerable."
Rosie's mother is a professor of Public Health and her grandfather was one of the first anaesthetists in Australia; so it's easy to understand why Rosie was drawn to studying a medical course at Monash University. Her aim was always to find out more about the practice of delivering emergency medicine to patients outside the hospital environment, which prompted her to travel half way across the world to pursue it further. Rosie explains, "The UK has a good reputation in PHEM and a colleague spoke extremely highly about the standard of training the charity, Magpas Air Ambulance, provides its experienced doctors and paramedics (from around the country) who deliver their PHEM service across the East of England".
Over the last year, she has split her time between Magpas Air Ambulance and working at Northampton General Hospital. Rosie describes what the experience of working in PHEM has given her, "Being part of a highly professional team and caring for critically unwell or injured patients at the earliest possible point, in the course of their condition, has been incredibly rewarding. It's also really satisfying working in a team where each member can add true value to a patient's care".
Rosie says that PHEM isn't the only medical specialty that has traditionally been dominated by men. However, she makes the point that lots of improvements have been made in Emergency Medicine and PHEM, in gender parity, over the last few years and how important it is for that to continue. She says, "Certainly having a more balanced gender representation will lead to a more diverse workforce, which will be beneficial in the development of the PHEM specialty. PHEM can offer a flexible and rewarding working environment that I thoroughly endorse".
However, Rosie admits that Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine can be pretty testing, "Perhaps some of the most challenging incidents to be called out to are those involving young children. One incident that will always stay in my mind is a major road traffic incident involving a lot of fatalities within one family and a very unwell little girl who was left trapped. We worked hard to give her the vital advanced care she needed at the roadside."
Despite her impressive dedication to the PHEM cause, Rosie remains very modest about her achievements. Instead, she highlights how she's been given the opportunity to work with some great clinicians. She goes on to say, "I'm not sure I'd describe myself as an inspirational woman, but from a female point of view I have been able to really grow as a clinician, as well as being able to build resilience and confidence whilst dealing with what would otherwise be some truly chaotic situations. This has been an integral year in my development and I would encourage more women to take the same step".
Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity which brings crucial lifesaving care, by land and air, to patients in life-threatening emergencies across the East of England and beyond. Magpas Air Ambulance is not a state-funded service and relies on generous public donations and committed volunteers to continue saving lives.