Katherine-local Sam on his mission to break stereotypes and lead by example.

Sam Guempel-Crothers is originally from Katherine and currently in his third year at the Northern Territory Medical Program  (part of Flinders Rural & Remote NT), currently undergoing his studies at the Royal Darwin Hospital.

Sam was never too sure about what he wanted to do once he finished high school. He knew he had a strong interest in science and community engagement and that he wanted to help people. Sam chose medicine because it would offer him multiple pathways, and he loved the idea of life-long learning. “Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.” – he says.

Growing up, Sam did all of his schooling in Katherine, played AFL for the local footy team, and enjoyed the outdoorsy lifestyle. “The Northern Territory is my home. And although I was eager to head down south to experience something new, the opportunities and experiences on offer here in the NT are unique and seemed too good to pass by” – says Sam.

Although no specific event influenced him to study medicine, he was always motivated by overcoming the perceived barrier of entering medicine from a rural town. “I always wanted to challenge the stereotype that students from rural and remote towns could not excel and be selected for a particular university degree; something that drove me to achieve.”

What he values most about studying medicine in the NT are the unique experiences that he wouldn’t get anywhere else: “The NT offers an exclusive insight into rural and urban medicine as influenced by different cultures, socioeconomic factors, and diseases, all while being delivered in a small and inclusive cohort.”.

“Studying here presents new challenges, such as consideration of rural and remote medicine as well as Indigenous health, although it is these challenges and experiences that will set the degree apart from others.” The small study cohort is something that he also really enjoys: “it promotes a relaxed and inclusive environment.” says Sam.

In his third year of medicine, Sam has now entered the practical section of his degree. He is applying his theory knowledge accumulated over the previous two years and utilising it into hands-on skills. “I have thoroughly enjoyed each clinical rotation I have had so far. Paediatrics and infectious disease subjects have been particularly enjoyable, the reason being that they have challenged me to be outside of my comfort zone.”

So far, the biggest highlight of his course was a clinical placement in Nhulunbuy. “It was a fantastic experience from a learning perspective to have an exposure to the local Aboriginal Health Clinic. Also, the fact that we could see the beautiful beaches and country on offer right in our backyard.”

Although Sam is still unsure what aspect of medicine he wants to specialise in, he wants to remain dedicated to his craft: “I am completely unsure at this moment, hopefully I will figure it out along the way. I hope that I remain passionate and eager to learn, regardless of the career pathway that I take.”

Sam studies the Doctor of Medicine degree, which is a HECS-free degree supported through public funding. To find out more about the pathway streams and opportunities to study medicine in the NT, visit our website for more details, and contact our NTMP support team.

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Flinders NT Flinders NT Medical Program (NTMP)