Recognising our hard working House Officers

Dr Neil Stewart
Dr Neil Stewart

Each month a House Officer is nominated by members of the clinical and wider multidisciplinary team for the prestigious title of ‘House Officer of the Month’.  It’s an award that has grown in popularity since it first started in 2011, bringing with it a sense of a ‘job well done’ for the doctors who are nominated.  Last month (May) Dr Neil Stewart received the Award, after being nominated by his colleagues during his General Medicine rotation on Tiitoki team.  Words like committed, hardworking, dedicated, professional and friendly were just some of the comments people shared.  One person said, “We need more doctors like him.”

So what does it take to be a House Officer in a busy hospital?  Neil shares his thoughts about why he decided to become a doctor and his passion for the work that he does.

During my final years in secondary school, I was adamant that I would pursue a career in health. However, I was unsure which occupation would satisfy my interests and aspirations.  I subsequently enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy) degree and found myself thriving on the workings of the human body.  It was during this degree that I first considered applying to medical school, and becoming a doctor. After graduating and working as a physiotherapist for two years, I started saving for the next leg of my academic journey – medical school.  In 2010, I was accepted for a place at the University of Otago medical program.

There were several things that drove my desire to become a doctor.  Firstly, it was the opportunity to play a significant role in improving a patient’s health outcomes and well-being. Secondly, was the academic satisfaction that medicine provides.  Medicine is the most enthralling career that one could ever ask for.  It’s a career that keeps you hungry for knowledge, and the breadth of medicine means that your appetite can never be satisfied.  

I began working at Middlemore Hospital in 2014 and have learnt how to prioritise a busy workload and manage my time wisely.   What keeps me coming to work each day is the buzz I get from working with patients and their families to improve their health and quality of life.  I guess I’m one of the lucky ones that get to leave work each day feeling satisfied I have made a difference.  The icing on the cake, however, was receiving last month’s House Officer Award.  While it’s wonderful to have your work, and efforts recognized, I’m fortunate to have the support of an amazing team – one that works together to provide the best care possible for our patients.

If I were to sum up the best part of being a doctor, it’s the chance to change a patient’s health trajectory.  For example, I frequently see patients that are on a downward slope towards morbidity or mortality.  It is extremely satisfying to be able to intervene and help to alter this path.  There are not many jobs where you get this amazing opportunity. 

It’s great to know we have House Officers like Neil working in our organisation – doctors who have a passion for the work that they do.  While we have great doctors working at all levels of our organisation, our House Officers are personable, hardworking and committed, which is a great start to their clinical careers.

If you would like to nominate a House Officer for an Award go to the RMO page on SouthNET or contact Dr Keerthi.Kumar via email:  The Award winner receives a $50 Westfield voucher as recognition for his or her hard work.

Neil and Geraint

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Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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