Could a medical career in the defence force be for you?

Joining the defence force has long been a dream of mine. I began the application process after finishing high school but as I was unsure of what career I wanted, I never completed it. But the idea always remained in the back of my mind.

After six months of studying medicine and seeking more information on where a medical career with the defence force could take me, I picked up my application again and decided to join.

I joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and my current rank is Flying Officer, posted at Amberley.

Rosannah swearing in

The selection process was very competitive with numerous interviews and medical appointments but the recruiting team were extremely helpful. They set up meetings for me to visit medical officers so I could ask them any questions I had about the role, the training, and the lifestyle. The final hurdles were the Officer Selection Board and a fitness test.

Before joining the defence force, many people told me that I would be sacrificing my autonomy but as I spoke to doctors in the defence force I discovered that the role is a fantastic opportunity and the support is unparalleled.

Being able to study medicine without any financial worries and knowing that I will be supported to specialise while working in a truly unique organisation is very exciting for me. I also love that there is a strong culture of comradery and physical fitness.

Throughout the application process I found that the more I questioned and experienced life in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the more I began to see myself in that role. I also applied to the Army and received an offer from them but I felt that the culture of RAAF was more aligned with my personality. The RAAF’s values are respect, excellence, agility, dedication, integrity and teamwork. These values align with the virtues upheld by doctors and are ones I aspire to.

Once I graduate, I will complete an internship in a civilian hospital as a Flight Lieutenant. After Postgraduate Year Two (PGY2), I will put on a uniform full-time and complete my return of service at a new posting as a medical officer.

I plan to specialise as a Rural GP and thankfully the RAAF is very supportive of this. I will also have the opportunity to train in unique areas of medicine including; aviation medicine, evacuations, advanced and acute trauma care, among others.

One day I would love to work in a non-governmental organisation such as Médecins Sans Frontières, and I truly believe that my career in RAAF will best equip me for this – perhaps even more than any training possible in a general hospital.

I am currently a member of The University of Queensland Medical Society (UQMS) and I am grateful that they hold an ANZAC tribute each year. ANZAC Day is an important day of mourning, of gratitude, of reflection, and of remembering the sacrifices made by many people so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today. Medical staff have made tremendous contributions to Australia, both onshore and abroad, and in humanitarian missions and conflict.

It is very important that we, as a medical community, remember their lives and their work. We have many medical staff serving Australia currently and it is important to also honour them, especially on ANZAC Day.


Last updated:
24 April 2017