Great Graduates Archive

From London to the Antarctic

Dr Rose Drew studied for a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in London in 2009. She is currently on a two year career break working for the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit (BASMU) as the medical officer for Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Below she reflects on her experience as a student in London at one of the world’s top universities, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and provides an insight into life in the Antarctic.


Rose has extremely fond and positive memories of her time spent in London studying for the Diploma in Tropical Medicine. “The Diploma formed part of a year out that I took from NHS training to work as an expedition medic. I found studying full time again surprisingly enjoyable which was in part due the enthusiasm of the School’s lecturers. Being surrounded by such an eclectic and keen group of students was also great.”

Rose was particularly impressed by the experience that people on the course already had working in developing areas of the world and their future career ambitions. She says she has been “fascinated to learn what my fellow students have gone onto do since we went our separate ways and to see people make the most of the possible opportunities within the sphere of medicine around the world.”

Rose started the job with BADMU in May 2012. She points out that the “Antarctic isn’t an obvious location to go for anyone with an interest in tropical medicine but the experience of working as a lone practitioner in a remote environment, with the limited available resources, makes it comparable, in some respects, to the jobs that some of my fellow Diploma students went on to do.

The training for the two year post started with a six month training period in Plymouth, UK. Rose explains that this is “where doctors are trained up in specialities like dentistry, radiology, anaesthetics, orthopaedics and other areas depending on their previous speciality experience. Medically, the workload is light with minor injuries and dental issues making up the majority of what I see. Having said that, the potential for major injury is present and I have had to deal with a couple of significant orthopaedic trauma cases requiring medical evacuation whilst I have been here.”

When asked to reflect on the whole experience, Rose says “it has been an incredible, enhancing experience and one that I feel very fortunate to have done.”

Read more about the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, take a look at the courses on offer and contact the university directly with any questions you might have about studying there.


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