Pushing the boundaries for women in PHEM

In recognition of International Women’s Day, Magpas Air Ambulance in the UK has brought attention to the work of Dr Rosie Dwyer, an Australian native who helps to deliver critical care services across Eastern England. According to Magpas, figures from 2017 reveal that only a quarter of pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM) trainee doctors in the UK are women, and just 14 per cent of pre-hospital care members are women.

When asked why she chose to work in the field, Dr Dwyer said: “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.” Dr Dwyer’s mother is a professor of Public Health and her grandfather was one of the first anaesthetists in Australia; so it’s understandable why she 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 halfway across the world to pursue it further. Dr Dwyer explained her choice of the UK as her chosen destination: “The UK has a good reputation in PHEM and a colleague spoke extremely highly about the standard of training Magpas Air Ambulance provides its experienced doctors and paramedics (from around the country) who deliver their PHEM service across the East of England.” She added: “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.”

PHEM isn’t the only medical specialty that has traditionally been dominated by men. However, Dr Dwyer 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 said: “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.”


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