Rob - ER physician

Hello, I’m Rob and I’m an ER physician originally from Michigan in the US.

My family’s journey to New Zealand started during the pandemic. The process took us 11 months, likely longer than others due to the pandemic.

For us, the easiest part was the trip over. We loved Air New Zealand, best flight I’ve ever taken. We landed and then were shipped from Auckland to Christchurch for our 14-day MIQ stay. After that, we rented a motorhome and travelled from the South Island to the North via ferry. That stretch looks small on the map, but it can be a bit of a bumpy-rolling ride. The views just driving from Christchurch to Wellington to Gisborne were breath-taking. You know when you see cinematography from the movies, and you think that it must be special effects and editing? Nope. New Zealand is actually just that jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Our family loves hiking and the outdoors, so New Zealand was a no-brainer. With mountains, forests, beaches, and everything in between, New Zealand is an outdoor paradise. However, the people have been the best reason to come. Kiwis have been kind, patient, understanding, and a joy to work with. The attitude is generally laid back with a family-first attitude. Kiwis pride themselves on excellent work-life balance.

We have already started our exploration of the country. We have visited hot springs, we’ve gone zip-lining over the rain forest, and we have walked through a treetop redwood grove (yes, they have a California redwood grove). We arrived in winter, but we’re planning on taking surfing lessons (we apparently landed in a huge surfing mecca and had no idea). On our trip, we also visited Hobbiton (we're a nerdy family :D).

Gisborne is a smaller city, but it has an active downtown area, tons of outdoor activities, and many local sights that we want to check out. There are several wineries nearby and my daughter is already enrolled in horse riding camp. I know I want to get to Wellington to see the Weta workshop (where they made Lord of the Rings) as well as more exploring of the South Island. So much to do!

The most challenging aspect of getting here was the paperwork. So. Many. Forms. Though, this is why I recommend using a recruiter. Prudence our recruiter kept me up to date and was on top of the onslaught of bureaucratic busywork. From the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ), to the varying district councils, to the Australasia Council of Emergency Medicine (ACEM), I had many forms to fill out. So be warned, there is a good bit of paperwork, and it takes time. But, in hindsight, it’s worth it.

Since I’ve been here for a couple of months, I am delighted with the choice to move. I have noticed many differences between the US and New Zealand. The US medical system often emphasizes the “don’t get sued” approach to much of medicine. This is tiresome. In New Zealand charting is used to communicate (not for billing) and useless busywork has been greatly decreased. Granted, I work in a smaller city so I also don’t have all the amenities I had at my ER in the US.

The people and staff have been accepting, kind, helpful, and a pleasure to work with. My shifts here are MUCH less stressful (and I leave work at the end of my shift instead of staying to chart for 2 hours). Still adjusting to a new location but I think with time I’ll really love the improved work/life balance. The doctors I work with understand the importance of life outside of work. In the US I saw some people connect their complete identity to “being a doctor.” Here, it is what you do but not who you are. Come to New Zealand, it’s amazing.
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