Helpful Q&As from our members

Darren Ritchie - PGY1

What was it like transitioning from TI to a House Officer?
If you have been able to get heavily involved with your teams as a trainee intern the transition to becoming a house officer is relatively seamless, as you should have a lot of experience in your day-to-day role. The big difference is getting use to working life, and the increased responsibilities you have within your team – learning how to manage the time you have to prioritise jobs can be difficult at first but it doesn’t take long to get comfortable in your role. 

What do you love most about being an RMO so far?
Having the opportunity to make decisions for yourself – especially on afternoon and night shifts – and getting real experience that makes you into a better doctor. Also, it is fantastic to be able to work aside such a diverse group of people and being invested in what your colleagues are dealing with makes the journey a lot easier.

As a TI, what is the one thing you wished someone had told you?
Make sure you spend time getting to know all the staff you are working with – not just those in your team. Being familiar with people when working on the ward or asking for advice makes a whole lot of difference. Also, make sure to have as much information in front of you to refer to when making consults – you won’t often know in the beginning what is important to discuss so being able to access it quickly can help.

Why did you decide to join STONZ?
I joined STONZ as I believe it best represents the needs of house officers in balancing our training and well-being. The union is transparent in having patients at the centre of their plan, and I am confident that with our support they will continue to have positive impacts on our workforce throughout our career.

Jordan Tewhaiti-Smith - PGY1

What was it like transitioning from TI to a House Officer?
For me, the transition to becoming a House Officer was very daunting. I found that at first, I wasn’t even confident enough to prescribe simple medication without double or even triple checking. As you adapt over the first few weeks of working you start to gain more confidence and realise that it’s not all up to you – you should have good support from your team for any major decisions. STONZ as a union has a philosophy of encouraging the functional workings of a constant team which I believe enables us as House Officers undertake our job in an easier way and of course, a safer way for our patients. A good relationship with a team you know and communicate with well, will help to keep communication lines open and help you to escalate things as appropriate. I quickly learnt, if in doubt, just ask!

What do you love most about being an RMO so far? As a TI, it is really easy to become a passive learner and coast your way through Medicine. When I became a doctor, I really started to enjoy doing actual medicine, and making connections with clinical findings and applying that to how we manage patients. I love being able to learn more intricate details as to why more experienced doctors make certain decisions and why. I also love how supportive my teams have been, and also our peers and colleagues, as we all started our daunting PGY1 year – it pays to have a good crew. 

As a TI, what is the one thing you wished someone had told you?
From a union perspective, the transition into becoming a doctor becomes stressful when you a thrust a contract and expected to know what everything means – especially when there are competing contracts and you have to weigh up which one is better or more suitable for you. I wished that in TI year, someone had sat down with us and gone through the working implications that some MECA clauses had on us, for example, RDO deductions on some contracts (not STONZ). I know a lot of my colleagues were not aware of these when they signed IEAs when we started. I would say its lucky that I joined STONZ, but really STONZ just aligns with my career/training goals, and it was an informed decision. I would recommend going through whichever contract you choose with someone who has worked for a while and getting some insight to these.

Why did you decide to join STONZ?
I joined STONZ as their values supported team structure, patient safety and training support for whatever career you choose.

Anonymous - CCDHB PGY1

What was it like transitioning from TI to a House Officer?
While undoubtedly daunting, the transition from TI to House Officer highlighted the value of the TI year at preparing us for the practicalities of becoming a House Officer. Other important factors which makes the transition easier, include teamwork, and having a supportive union to help you navigate the complexities of entering the workforce. I started on Neurosurgery which was at times challenging, but very enjoyable, and I was fortunate to feel well-supported by my team. While every specialty has its own challenges and intricacies, ultimately, you do have the support of your peers, senior colleagues, and your union. I learned early on how important it is to be aware of your limitations, and seek help or advice when uncomfortable. 

What do you love most about being an RMO so far?
I love the dynamic nature of medicine, and how every day is a different challenge. We are in such a fortunate position to be able to help patients and their families, and while things do not always go as planned, and some days are rough, it highlights the importance of having the support of your team and your union. 

As a TI, what is the one thing you wished someone had told you?
That you can function safely without RDOs. Do not join a union based off what the majority of your peers are doing. Take the time to explore what each union supports and whether this reflects your own values and supports your career aspirations. 

Why did you decide to join STONZ?
I joined STONZ as the values of the union resonated with my own. The concept of reduced working hours and rostered days off, while introduced under the best intentions, ultimately results in a loss of team structure, which can compromise patient care, and reduce clinical experience. STONZ is a supportive union which values the wellbeing of junior doctors without compromising the quality of patient care or diluting of clinical opportunities for both pre-vocational and vocational members.

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Please get in touch with any questions you may have. We would love to hear from you.

E: support@stonz.co.nz 
P: +64 22 493 1609
PO Box 7050, Newtown, Wellington 6242

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