Boots to Scrubs: a new pathway for rural women in medicine

  • Chloe Campbell and her red boots

Boots to scrubs

By
Chloe Campbell
Australian Medical Students Association
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The battle to bring more rural doctors to the bush has a new warrior. A new innovative program through the Australian Medical Students Association provides young women from regional areas across Australia significant and targeted assistance to pursue a career in rural medicine - for the very first time.

The aptly named ‘Boots to Scrubs’ Rural Women in Medicine Scholarship’ has already attracted strong support from a range of organisations including the Rural Doctors Network (RDN) and the NSW Medical Women’s Society (MWS) and has launched a comprehensive digital information and resource platform for prospective women this July.

The ‘Boots to Scrubs’ concept is the brainchild of AMSA Gender Equity Advocacy and Policy Officer, Chloe Campbell, who is a third-year rural medical student at Charles Sturt University (CSU). Chloe says the idea of providing targeted education scholarships for rural women from remote and rural areas, along with a range of easily accessible student resources and professional mentoring from some of Australia’s leading rural medical practitioners, is all about creating more accessible and more easily negotiated pathways for regional students considering a career as a rural GP or country doctor.

The ‘Boots to Scrubs: Rural Women in Medicine Scholarship’ aims to inspire, empower, and support rural women to pursue a career as a rural doctor.

Chloe believes that by actively supporting and inspiring more individuals from rural backgrounds to pursue medical careers, the pressing need for rural doctors that our communities urgently require can be addressed.

“Having grown up in a secluded town where the availability of mentors or individuals with firsthand experience in pursuing a career in medicine was limited, I have personally encountered the challenges and obstacles that rural women face in accessing such opportunities. At school I was never the smartest in the class and struggled with dyslexia, never quite finding traditional learning easy, so I never considered that I could study a degree like medicine. I did, however, find a love for healthcare; the joy of working in rural communities and giving back to the country is a feeling that will never get old. I was lucky enough to have a doctor tap me on the shoulder and suggest medicine while I was training to be a nurse. I had never even considered medicine and had to navigate the pathway to becoming a doctor alone. Through Boots to Scrubs we want to be the tap on the shoulder women need to consider medicine and feel supported to venture into this amazing career.”

Boots to Scrubs is looking for individuals, groups or organisations that share their passion for rural health to partner with them. They are actively seeking sponsorship to make a meaningful impact on aspiring medical students. To assist them, please contact Chloe at [email protected]

For more information on how to apply for accessing the Boots to Scrubs free education resources and details on the scholarship opportunities for 2024, please visit https://bootstoscrubs.amsa.org.au/. Or follow us on social media at @bootstoscrubs on Instagram or “Boots to Scrubs” on Facebook.

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