Supporting Doctors from Refugee Backgrounds

18/Aug/2020     Health

We met Dr Manal Aqrawe last year, she is a qualified doctor with over 20 years of experience in her home of Iraq but had to flee suddenly when the city fell to the Islamic State.

After arriving in Australia as a refugee Manal began searching for a job in her new hometown of Brisbane and after undergoing a medical observership through the Refugee Health Network at Mater Hospital we are pleased to report she has found a permanent position.

Now working at Redcliffe Hospital as a Resident Medical Officer Manal is doing a medical and surgical rotation.

“The position is still very much as teaching one, during each term we are assessed by our direct supervisors who provide feedback on our performance, strengths, weaknesses and help us plan to move forward,” Manal said.

“Fortunately, all my assessments have been satisfactory, and I am getting great support from my colleagues, supervisors and all the staff in the hospital.”

Manal says this position would not have been possible without the support she received from the Mater Refugee Health Network.

“Myself and Dr Jean from Burundi met with Mater Refugee Health and were offered two observerships where we worked across the Emergency Department, Infectious Diseases, Anaesthesia, Cardiology and Mater Refugee Complex Care Clinic,” Manal said.

“The initial three-month observership was extended to six and then nine months, allowing additional time to learn and engage.   

“The observership included access to medical education opportunities, direct mentoring and support by members of Refugee Network and clinical teams which was a positive experience. Particular attention was given to cultural nuances and cross-cultural communication.”

Manal explains she received additional support to lodge her applications and was able to provide Australian doctors as referees and demonstrate she had experience in an Australian hospital environment.

“I received extra support through practicing interview skills and addressing scenarios with experienced clinicians which is very valuable especially in terms of unpacking cultural expectations and interpreting Australian clinical guidelines,” Manal said.

“At the end of my nine-month observership I was offered Junior Officer positions at Redcliffe Hospital. I also received additional support from Mater to assist with paperwork and the whole process has been invaluable.”

Manal explains to advance her career she must gain AMC Certificate by successfully completing the AMC 2 exam or through a Work Based Assessment (WBA) program. 

“Following the general registration, I will have a wide range of opportunities and pathways to work in,” Manal said.

“My goal is to become a general practitioner allowing me to help as many people as I can and eventually get back into the anaesthetic department covering the challenging cases and under different situations, successfully. 

“Finally, I would like to thank all the great people at Mater Hospital who made my dream come true, and they also continue their support in our difficult and challenging journey.”

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