Wonder what it's like to be a GP?

We chatted to a few first year GPEP registrars and GP Fellows about why they decided to pursue general practice and what it means to them to be a GP.

Dr Audrey Robin

GP and Fellow

Why did you choose to be a doctor?

The reason why I wanted to be a doctor was to make a difference.

I believe medicine is a way to help create change and try to be influential towards improved health outcomes.

At a young age I lost my mother under hard circumstances and realised that the impact of health services on whanau and Māori in particular required different strategies, such as Māori working for Māori.

If I can help others and be a role model, then maybe someone else will be inspired to do the same.

What does it mean to you to be a doctor?

It’s a privilege to be a GP. For me it’s about connecting, being compassionate and advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

I’ve always enjoyed finding solutions, helping and caring for others.

GP has allowed me to naturally give as much care to each individual that maybe required over a short or continuous period of time.

The great yet challenging thing about being a GP is you are constantly learning.

You never forget that you sit in a privileged position for your whanau, your community with the aim to help those in need.

Dr Emily Ross

GPEP year 1 registrar

Why did you choose general practice?

I thought general practice was a good choice in that you never know what you’re going to see. You get to see kids, older people and everything in between.

As a GP you’re working to keep people well. In the hospital you’re often treating illness. I see the role of a GP as a teacher, an educator – teaching people how to stay healthy.

It’s a very different environment when it’s just you and the patient in the room. You build a rapport on a different level. They tell you a lot more about what’s going on.

Any advice for students choosing a specialty/vocation?

There’s no pressure. You don’t need to know in your first year as a house surgeon what you want to do. It’s about trying out lots of different runs and finding what environment you work well in.

I came into general practice after second year as a house surgeon. I was wondering, have I done enough hospital experience? And someone said to me “You really learn GP in GP.” It’s so different from the hospital and the GPEP programme is amazing at training you and preparing you for what you need to do.

Dr Maryanne Ting

GPEP year 1 registrar

Why did you choose GP?

I’ve been interested in GP for a wee while, mainly for the varied kinds of presentations that we see. You never know what’s going to happen in a day.

I really enjoy the longevity of the relationships, and building that with patients. Getting to follow them in their health journey. I also like the flexibility GP offers – not only in lifestyle. If we have specialty interest areas that we want to move into, we can chop and change throughout our career.

What does being a doctor mean to you?

I’ve always felt like I should be helping people in some way. My dad’s a GP in Palmerston North so it was always in the forefront of my mind that I would have a career as a doctor.

Growing up, especially in the church community, people would come to him with questions. Seeing him help them, reassure them, seemed to be beneficial.

Dr Alvin Mitikulena

GP and Fellow

What does it mean to you to be a GP?

General practice for me is a way of life; it’s a way of being.

It’s a career choice people need to be prepared to have for a good amount of time.

It’s a lifestyle choice as well. I love the fact I can work as hard as I like.

Having a 9 to 5 and not having to carry a pager around. There’s this ability to be more flexible.

What makes a good GP?

You’ve got to come in with caring and a compassionate attitude and have the desire to be around people and be willing to walk alongside them.

I think in general practice, it’s really important to come in with that kind of mindset.

I want to accompany people along their journey.