Dr Nikki Stamp is a cardiothoracic surgeon based in Sydney, Australia. Nikki is a graduate of the University of Western Australia and has completed training in cardiothoracic surgery with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Nikki wants to share with people an approach to health and well being that is backed up by science and good quality evidence. She has a particular interest in all things related to heart health and in particular, women’s heart health.
Nikki is also a strong advocate for women in surgery and other professional positions. She enjoys mentoring and encouraging young women into roles that are traditionally occupied by men. Nikki enjoys education and thoroughly enjoys teaching young doctors and other hospital staff. She also is committed to advocating to doctor’s well being and prevention and management of mental health issues amongst doctors. We asked her to talk about her experiences as a woman in the male-dominated area of cardiothoracic surgery.
I am absolutely delighted to be involved with Level and I am beyond impressed that these young women want to change the conservation.
In Australia, 9% of surgeons are women. This underrepresentation is not limited to medicine, but found in business, law and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). In recent times, we have seen more and more women graduate from medicine, yet they remain a minority within surgery.
As a medical student, I always wanted to be a surgeon. I really loved it and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. There have been times however, that it was pointed out to me that it’s not a great career for a woman. Gender, whether we like it or not, still plays a huge role in how society perceives us and how we perceive ourselves. During my training, there has been a paucity of women and therefore it has been very hard to identify with another female role model. That being said, I have been very fortunate to be mentored by several men who have brought out the best in me.
I have been involved in two social media campaigns, #ThisIsWhatWeLookLike and #ILookLikeASurgeon that have been incredible tools in bringing like minded men and women together to inspire others. Together, we have been able to change the conversation to a positive and empowering one to encourage young women to pursue their goals. Since the campaign started, we have made new friends, new colleagues, challenged social norms and improved awareness as to the power of gender in the workplace. Having positive role models is now much easier as we connect with inspiring people in many fields around the globe.
I often get asked for my advice and it’s pretty simple. Be yourself, don’t be afraid, work hard and do something your truly love. I think that if you can maintain these qualities, you’re more than halfway there to achieving your goals