Meet Dr Michael Oehley, the College's new Chief Examiner - Written 

19 July 2019

Dr Michael Oehley always had a keen interest in education, so when he saw the Chief Examiner – Written role advertised by the College, he went for it. 

The Chief Examiner – Written is responsible for overseeing the written portion of the summative assessment that registrars usually sit at the end of their first year of the General Practice Education Programme (GPEP).

 

Michael says he wasn’t sure he’d get the role so tossed up whether he should apply.

“The role sounded really interesting and I decided to apply because even if I didn’t get it, I thought perhaps I could be involved in other ways or maybe get the role further down the track.”

Michael’s father is teacher so he’s been exposed to education from a young age, leading him to a number of College education roles -  GPEP 2/3 medical educator, GPEP1 candidate interviewer and GPEP1 small group facilitator. He also mentors fifth year medical students, giving them a taste for general practice.

“When you’re a GP, you get to build relationships with your patients and their families, and you can appreciate their medical problems. I really like seeing the results of my efforts, which very rarely happened working as an emergency doctor.”

Michael says one of the challenges of his role will be to write questions that reflect a fair and equitable standard.

“Patients want to know their GP has been assessed to a high standard, but these exams are our registrar’s livelihood and we don’t want to put up barriers making it impossible for them to pass.”

Michael leads a busy life practising three days a week, running his own travel medicine clinic from the practice one day a week, and supplementing a fulltime nurse at St Paul’s Collegiate, three lunchtimes a week.

Originally from South Africa, Michael moved to New Zealand with his parents when was 10.

“I’m a Kiwi, but we still visit South Africa every couple of years. My wife and I recently took our two children (aged two and four) for the first time – my son is obsessed with crocodiles, so he loved it.”

Michael decided he wanted to join GPEP and become a GP during his time as a locum emergency doctor in the Australian outback.

“I enjoyed my time as an emergency doctor, but I didn’t really like lack of continuity of care and it was quite stressful.

“When you’re a GP, you get to build relationships with your patients and their families, and you can appreciate their medical problems. I really like seeing the results of my efforts, which very rarely happened working as an emergency doctor.”

When asked if he treated lots of snakebites in the Australian outback, he laughed.

“I get that question a lot, but it was mostly car crashes and alcohol-related incidents, in the five years I was in that job I only saw about three snakebites.”

“The role sounded really interesting and I decided to apply because even if I didn’t get it, I thought perhaps I could be involved in other ways or maybe get the role further down the track.”

Michael also has some great work stories to share from his emergency doctor role, one involving a dead snake head.

“In Australia, people are told to try and identify the type of snake that’s bitten them so medical staff can make an informed decision about treatment options.

“One patient took this a bit far one day and ended up flattening the snake that had bitten him, and bringing its head into the hospital for the staff to inspect - disturbingly, the snake’s head was still moving.”

In his spare time, Michael likes to go for a run or spend time with his wife and two children.

“We usually take the kids to the hot springs or go hiking at the local park, I’m also training for a half marathon, so I’ve been running a bit lately in the lead up to that.”