General practice has many attractions – being in the community away from the big health care institutions is refreshing, part-time work is common and you can really see the positive difference you are making to patients’ lives – because you provide continuity of care over time and often see the rest of their family as well.
Thinking about general practice as a career option? Get some inspiration by viewing the general practice section of the Inside New Zealand's documentary called "Practising Medicine" which aired 22 August 2012 on TV3.
Moving into the specialty of general practice can sometimes feel like a big jump. But we’d like to reassure you that it’s worth it!
Before starting work in general practice, it is important to have had experience in a wide selection of hospital specialties. Our vocational training programme entry requirements state that you need to have done runs in six of the following:
|Ear, nose and throat surgery||General medicine (please specify)|
|General practice rotations||General surgery (please specify)|
|Obstetrics and gynaecology||Opthalmology|
|Rural General Practice
The College runs a three month attachment in rural general practice for postgraduate year two and three house surgeons, known as the PG Rural Programme.
This programme provides one-on-one teaching from a GP teacher, regular facilitated teleconferences with the other trainees on the programme, and plenty of hands on experience. The learning environment is supportive and stimulating, and the programme is popular and well evaluated by trainees and teachers alike.
If you would like to find out whether general practice is the career choice for you, or just fancy three months away from the hospital discovering more about primary care in a rural area of New Zealand, then please email us.
New Zealand medical schools include several weeks of general practice experience. The number of weeks and their spread varies between the universities.
At the University of Auckland, Year 5 students may apply to study on the year-long regional-rural programme (Pukawakawa) based in Whangarei and small surrounding rural environments in Northland.
Otago University also operates a Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) for medical students. It integrates primary, secondary and tertiary medical care through real life experiential learning. During the year students have the opportunity to learn under the guidance and mentorship of experienced general practitioners, rural hospital generalists and tertiary hospital specialists. The rural community becomes their own learning and living environment.
There are a variety of options open to you, and we can assist you to find out which one is right for you.
You can apply to be a registrar on the General Practice Education Programme and undertake the programme whilst continuing in your current job. Previous experience in general practice in NZ (or some other countries*) may be credited so that the overall length of your programme is reduced.
If you have a substantial amount of GP experience, you may be eligible for the Experiential Interim Pathway (EIP). This route acknowledges your previous experience and does not require you to engage in the training programme, but consists of a short series of assessments.
Contact Us if you would like more information.
We have specialist staff who can advise whether your overseas vocational qualification is recognised in NZ. We can also assist you to apply for recognition of prior learning for our GP or Rural Hospital Generalist training programmes. Email us with your questions and we will do our best to assist you.
GP experience in these countries is recognised by the College as comparable:
The Medical Council of New Zealand is the regulatory body for doctors and produces resources which you may find useful. We suggest you visit Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) to obtain a copy of:
General practice is a medical specialty that enables you to work in primary health care in a wide variety of contexts, with all sorts of people, all over the world!
To become a GP you need to complete a medical degree, work for two years as a junior doctor, and then undertake three years of postgraduate training in general practice.
Your careers advisor will be able to help you with choosing suitable school subjects in order to study medicine at university. Details of the entry requirements to medical school are available from Auckland and Otago universities.
You might like to ask your own GP whether you can spend some time at the GP practice discovering what the job is like.