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Dr Sophie Doherty

31 May 2021

 

Dr Sophie Doherty is a Darug woman and a second year FRANZCOG trainee working at Bankstown Hospital. When she is not studying for exams or involved in College committees, she is exploring Australia, where she enjoys discovering waterfalls and swimming holes, especially in the Far North.


 

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Sydney, and grew up in Perth, where I went to high school and university, at the University of Western Australia. I interned in Albany, a rural town in the Great Southern region, and Perth. I then decided to up and move to the opposite end of the country to be an RMO in Cairns, knowing no one at all! I ended up spending two years there because I absolutely loved it, and its where I met my partner. In 2018, I moved back to Sydney to get serious about my career with a role as an SRMO at Westmead Hospital.

Where do you work? 
I’m in my second year of training through the Liverpool training network, currently at Bankstown Hospital, I love moving between hospitals and places, and finding a fresh perspective on things I thought I knew. 

Why did you choose medicine? 
I first thought about medicine at a young age because it was one of the few career pathways I knew about. My grandfather was the first GP in Mullewa in rural WA, which I thought was incredible. He had some amazing stories growing up. One day, I decided it’s what I wanted, I think in early high school.  As I became more educated in health disparities between First Nations Australians and the wider population, I realised as an Aboriginal woman I had a chance to provide frontline and culturally safe care if I pursued a career in medicine.

Why O&G, in particular?
From early on in medicine I knew I wanted to be able to do something with my hands and leaned towards a career in surgery. During medical school and early in my career as a doctor, I found myself more and more passionate about women’s health and advocacy for the health of those normally marginalised by health services. I felt that a career in obstetrics and gynaecology was one where I could advocate for change by working to use the diagnostic side of medicine and also do what I enjoy so much about this job, which is surgery. 

What field do you work, what are you passionate about in your field and why?
I’m hoping to take the path of generalist in obstetrics and gynaecology, and in particular, I would like to become skilled in services that aren’t as widely available to regional and rural areas such as procedural ultrasound. I would also like to contribute to an increase in regional specialist service provision to address closing geographical gaps where I can. Many Australians, especially First Nations, living rurally and regionally, must travel to metropolitan areas to receive investigations and services in O&G, which can be difficult for cultural and social reasons. Part of holistically addressing health disparities must include bringing services where possible, to those living regionally.

What does a ‘normal day’ involve?
At the moment my normal day involves a mixture of theatre, clinics and deliveries in a secondary Sydney hospital - and a whole lot of study for the upcoming exams.

What challenges do you face? What are the wins?
This career is one which I think can rollercoaster between challenges and wins on nearly a daily basis - I am still learning how to take away something positive from the challenges, and I’m lucky to have a supportive network of friends within the training program to debrief with when things get really tricky or when I’m questioning this choice - but the way this job can reward you, even when you’re having a hard time, helps me see the value of staying passionate. I’m always satisfied even if I’ve made the smallest difference to someone’s healthcare experience, and if they’re happy to see me again!

What are your future goals?
Short term – pass my exams! I have a rough idea of where I’d like to end up - but I’m also not one to shy away from change or opportunities as they come knocking, so watch this space. 

What activities are you currently engaged with at the College?
I’m currently part of the Well-being Working Group and the RANZCOG Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Health Committee. I hope to get more involved in the College in the future, once I am less focused on exams. I have had to hold back from applying for more committees as I’m known for trying to bite off more than I can chew! I’ve always been involved in committees and societies throughout my career and medical school. I find it a meaningful way to effect change if you’re passionate and you want to advocate for your peers, even when they’re not aware you’re doing so. It’s so important to have passionate and forward-thinking people involved in the College to advocate for, to educate and to look after doctors. 

How do you wind down?
I think my partner will tell you that I don’t know how to wind down, but I find such great joy in spending time with family and friends, and an opportunity to talk about anything and everything with loved ones generally helps to centre me. 

What do you do outside of work?
Best not to ask me that right now as I’m supposed to be studying! But I enjoy Pilates, spending time with my partner and our families and friends, and of course, any good glass of wine. I love spending time in any body of water. if I’m lucky to find myself in the northern part of Australia, you’ll find me in remote areas exploring the beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes. You never regret a swim.


Dr Sophie Doherty
 



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