Meet Margaret Goodey – Born into the profession and now passing it on

Member news
4 July 2016

Dr Margaret Goodey had her first experience in the medical world as a mere pre-schooler. Her father would take Margaret to his clinic to give her mum some time to have a cup of tea and put her feet up. Margaret now practices as a GP in Auckland and is a keen medical educator in Auckland.

As the oldest of four children, Margaret pretty much grew up in the hospital that her father worked in.

“When my parents needed a babysitter I’d get dropped off at the hospital where Dad worked and the nurses would look after me. On weekends I’d go on ward rounds with Dad even when I was really little and the staff and patients made a big fuss of me,” Margaret shares.

One year at Christmas time a new staff member couldn’t start as her Dad’s receptionist. It was going to be near impossible to find another person to man the desk. So at nine years old, Margaret stepped in.

Margaret worked her way up through the ranks and eventually spent school holidays working as a nursing assistant.

It seemed like the next step was to make her interest in medicine official by beginning med school. In true cliché-tutorial-icebreaker style, one of her tutors asked the class, “Who inspired you to study medicine?”

“I told them it was my Dad who inspired me to study medicine and the guy next to me said, ‘Oh I was going to say your Dad too,’” Margaret laughs.

Click! Margaret’s father is Ron Goodey. The highly-respected-ENT-surgeon Ron Goodey who formalised the training of ENT surgeons in New Zealand. He was also the President of both the New Zealand Medical Association and the New Zealand Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

“Dad showed me what patient centred care was really about, I didn’t know there was any other way to do medicine, until I witnessed one or two pretty ghastly examples during med school,” she tells me.

Work-life flexibility was always important to Margaret when she decided to go into medicine, “Flexibility of career path and time management appealed to me,” she says.

Margaret explains that when she says this, she doesn’t mean that going into general practice means you have all the time in the world. It means you can alter priorities through time and choose a model that lets you be all the people you need to be. “It’s still seldom just a 40 hour week,” she says casually.

“I do lots of my paperwork from home and of course for my College roles too. If I’m only consulting in the morning, I do like to get home in time to enjoy the daylight and then defer some paperwork until the sun has gone down.”

Margaret saw the effects that being a surgeon had on her busy father. She shares, “I recall sitting and bawling my eyes out before starting med school. I wondered how I could be a doctor and still be a part of the family things that matter to me.”

In saying that, she has been able to do it all, even if things didn’t go quite to plan. She explains, “My journey strayed from my plan A, when I found myself raising two very small kids on my own. But it took me down other paths and experiences, and inspired me to become a medical educator.

During this time Margaret worked at her local marae clinic and completed her certificate in Hauora Maori. She also has special interests in women’s health, mental health, paediatrics and ENT (like father like daughter).

“Once the kids had grown a bit and my amazing husband Dave was around to support me, I was able to increase my tenths and use my skills more in our local community.”

Margaret sat at home one evening and wrote a spreadsheet of her skills, passions, weaknesses and dislikes. She arranged coffee with Janet Frater who had been her GPEP teacher many years prior. It was that chat that saw Margaret leap right into her GP teaching, “And that was that!”

In her spare time, you’ll find Margaret, “In the garden hacking back stuff.” She recently heard from her year seven teacher who asked if she was still writing, and she is. Margaret hopes to use her experiences to publish a book of poetry, but not of the medical genre.

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