Embracing the challenges of rural healthcare

Dr Carrie McKenzie. Photo: supplied

As an accomplished medical professional and proud Indigenous woman, Dr Carrie McKenzie (BMBS (GradEntry) ’10) has made significant contributions to rural medicine and education. Growing up in Darwin, she developed a strong affinity for rural living and recognised the need for improved healthcare in these areas.

“I have always enjoyed living rural and find cities a little overwhelming. Rural people deserve top quality healthcare as much as anyone,” says Dr McKenzie.

Dr McKenzie’s path to medicine was unconventional, working as a veterinary nurse, an emergency department nurse, a registered nurse in the Royal Australian Air Force, a security guard and even as a DJ, before embarking on her medical studies.

A pivotal moment in Dr McKenzie’s career was her time as the sole doctor in an Aboriginal community outside Katherine. As Senior GP in the Katherine Hospital Emergency Department, she utilised her local knowledge and commitment to improving healthcare access to play a key role in establishing the Big River Region COVID outpatient response during the pandemic, ensuring vital information and services reached rural and remote areas and under-served populations.

Currently based in Mount Gambier, Dr McKenzie serves in a multi-faceted role, supporting and guiding aspiring medical professionals. As Regional Director, Clinical Director Regional Training Hub and Clinical Educator, her expertise and experience is invaluable in helping medical students and junior doctors navigate the complexities of the medical system and ethical challenges they may encounter.

“I was a Flinders graduate, having done my third and most of my fourth year in Mount Gambier. Now, I have moved back with my family and I’m so honoured to be working with the University that took me on as a medical student,” says Dr McKenzie.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Dr McKenzie finds enjoyment in her hobbies, such as caring for animals on her property and indulging in creative activities like sewing and smocking. With each smocked garment taking up to 40 hours to complete, Dr McKenzie jokes that it is teaching her the value of patience!

In providing advice to her younger self and Indigenous students aspiring to study medicine at Flinders University, Dr McKenzie emphasises the importance of taking risks and pushing boundaries. She encourages others to apply without doubting their abilities, seek support through scholarships and tutoring if needed, and embrace the challenges that come with pursuing a medical career.

Posted in
2023 MPH Alumni Magazine College of Medicine and Public Health Health Medicine

Leave a Reply