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Michael - Physician, South Island

My Name is Michael, I am a physician. I came to NZ in January from the USA and the process to come to NZ took me approximately 6 months.

The easiest part of the process was finding an employer through Accent Health Recruitment.  The most challenging part of the process was putting together my resume and filling out all the paperwork for the NZ medical council.

My first impressions of NZ were that I was surprised how helpful and friendly people were and how green and striking the views were of the mountains and coastlines.

The best parts of NZ are: The unbelievable beauty of this country--clear, blue mountain streams and oceans, the snow-capped mountains and forests and the vast empty stretches, all available within a 2-4 hour drive!

What I miss the most is Mexican food and Whole Foods.

My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is find some short term lodging until you can explore your city and find what neighbourhood suits you best. Join a couple of "meetup" groups and explore as much of the country as you can on your days off!

There is an emphasis on having time off and enjoying life and being active here, which is very refreshing. People are civil to each other--you need to be in order to navigate their roundabouts and single lane bridges!

In the US I worked in an Emergency Department and here, in Christchurch I work at a "24 Hour Surgery" which is what I would have called an expanded Urgent Care. There is much less stress here and the patients are for the most part active, healthy, friendly overseas workers, visitors and students in addition to kiwis. They are appreciative and kind and always interested in where I'm from and how I'm enjoying NZ.

The practice of medicine is similar between the US and NZ, it's just that the medicines have slightly different names and the same tests are available - although they are ordered or scheduled differently. I've found that my skills and knowledge have served me well.

In NZ, I noticed that doctors and patients address each other by first name. Although a small thing it really changes the conversation and emphasizes the collaboration between doctor and patient. There is not the imperative of "defensive medicine" here as there is in the US and there is not the expectation of a pill or procedure to fix every problem.

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