Daniel Watkin Story

Please could you answer the following questions:

What do you do? And what is a typical week for you?

I worked in New Zealand as a medical registrar. Despite being a PGY4 (following the foundation programme and a clinical fellow role in acute medicine), I was able to work at the level of a medical registrar in New Zealand, which offers a significant step up from the equivalent work (as a senior house officer) in the United Kingdom. A typical week would involve a daily round of the team’s patients, usually with the consultant. Unlike the UK, New Zealand is team based, so you could potentially have many patients, or few. Roughly once a week, we would be on call, meaning we would hold the medical referral phone and clerk new patients in the Emergency Department.

Much the same as the UK, we would do long days roughly once a week. This again would mean you held the referral phone, reviewed and clerked all new admissions, and attended to sick patients on the ward. We would also usually have a medical outpatient clinic in our speciality once a week, which was interesting.

What qualifications and experience do you have?

New Zealand has a different set up than the United Kingdom, which means that once you have around 12 months dedicated experience in a speciality, you can work as a registrar. I had foundation programme experience in emergency medicine and intensive care and undertook a year working as an acute medical senior house officer which gave me enough experience to work as a medical registrar. Fortunately, the consultants are friendly, and easily contactable out of hours!

What’s the most interesting aspect of your job?

Because the population density in New Zealand is low, the peripheral hospitals are relatively small and consequently see an extremely wide variety of disease. It meant that as a medical registrar, you could be dealing with anything from an acute stroke to a diabetic ketoacidosis. The variety in presentations was probably the most interest part of the job. 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking a work experience in New Zealand?

Working in New Zealand is extremely rewarding. Although the hours are similar to the United Kingdom, the pace of work is slightly less, the day-to-day variety in cases is greater and the work life balance is excellent. Although the visa application is somewhat onerous, the experience is unparalleled, and I would highly recommend anybody considering.

Daniel Watkin




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