Dr Batool Albatat: Journey from refugee to doctor

When Batool Albatat arrived in Australia in 2001 unable to speak a word of English, she never imagined she would have the opportunity to study medicine at the University of Melbourne and eventually become a doctor.

Dr Albatat’s family arrived in Australia seeking refuge after fleeing from war in their home country, Iraq. She says she always dreamed of becoming a doctor and being able to help people.

She began her schooling in Melbourne while learning to speak English and went on to earn a biomedical science degree from La Trobe University, before studying medicine at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 2017.

Dr Albatat began her Northern Health journey five years ago as a medical student, completing her three years of clinical placement.

Following her placement, she tells us she was very excited to apply for an internship at Northern Hospital.

“I loved it because it was very multicultural and supportive, and I felt it was a place I belonged,” she says.

“It was the institution where I received excellent training from dedicated practitioners. I’ve been privileged to do my internship and residency year here, and be able to contribute to Northern Health’s culture and services,” she adds.

When asked what her favourite part about working at Northern Health is, Dr Albatat says “definitely the culture and diversity.”

“Northern Health provides a well-supported learning culture, with respect for one another in order to ensure the best care is given to the patients.”

“Northern Health is allowing me to gain a broad depth of essential knowledge and skills that allows me to grow into a dedicated doctor, under the guidance of senior clinicians who are very approachable,” she says.

She tells us she also has a strong passion for teaching and research, and Northern Health has provided her with many opportunities for both.

When asked how she would describe Northern Health in one sentence, Dr Albatat says – “Northern Health is a developing community that nurtures growth and strives for excellence.”

Currently a surgical resident at Northern Hospital, Dr Albatat says she has completed different rotations in a variety of medical fields and has found many areas interesting but still hasn’t figured out which field she would like to pursue.

“Even though I have a strong interest in surgery and obstetrics & gynaecology, I still feel there are so many more medical fields I need to undertake and gain the clinical experience before making the decision for my medical career,” she says.

“The journey has been tough, but I feel privileged to be a doctor now, and to be able to help people at the most vulnerable time of their life.”