Patience, patients

Handwashing talks are the same the world over. Last time I wrote about handwashing, I got my wrists slapped by my colleagues in infection control.

It’s not that I underestimate its importance, it’s just when you travel 12,000 miles to a new clinical service, with a different culture, language and way of working, having an identikit induction to home is perhaps not the best idea.

That said, I was blessed with the warmest possible welcome from clinic staff. Not only did they spoil me with delicious food, I was wowed by truly knowledgeable specialists who answered all my questions with patience and passion. They didn’t flinch when I mispronounced almost every Maori term, but gave me an interactive pronounciation guide, saying “you might like to check this out.” Kiwi understatement.

Getting started with clinical work was exasperating. Despite getting what I thought was my registration, and passing an interview with a New Zealand medical council representative on arrival, I then had to obtain a “Certificate of good standing” from the GMC. This turned into another paperchase, as I asked the GMC to fax it, to save time, but the NZMC wanted an original, or an emailed copy.

Patience paid off, patients followed. I’m looking forward to sharing differences and ways of working. Morale seems higher here, but that may just be my own. I also had the unfortunate experience of reducing a senior colleague to tears when I challenged her definition of audit. I felt like the rude girl from the ivory tower and was not proud of that.

Writing this, I wish I had some sanity saving advice for those of you in limbo following the MTAS process.

Peter Cross and I are working hard on that. Career Focus can’t take all the legwork out of the next stage, but we will be with you every step of the marathon. Keep a close eye on the print and online magazine.