Blog for Health Professionals
Reducing your Debt
There are many articles on ways to reduce your debt.
But in summary (if you are pushed for time), most of them start with:
- Knowing what your debt is
- Create a budget
- Reduce unnecessary spending
- Put any extra money towards the debt
What extra money?
This is where we can help. By adding a locum or two into your year, not only can you gain extra money to help clear the debt, but you also gain valuable experience and a change of scene.
Don’t have any debt? Locuming can give you more disposable income to spend on the lifestyle you want.
Now I sometimes struggle with this concept and seem to lack the creativity when it comes to flipping the seemingly negative thought or issue on its head. I thought this FB post was a nice way to start the process;
- Early wakeups = children to love
- House to clean = safe place to live
- Laundry = clothes to wear
- Dishes to wash = food to eat
- Crumbs under the table = family meals
- Grocery shopping = $ to provide for us
- Toilets to clean = indoor plumbing
- Lots of noise = people in my life
- Endless questions about homework = kids brains growing
- Sore and tired in bed = I’m still alive
Life’s a juggle!
If you’re finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you’re not alone. Many people are putting in extra hours or using their smartphones to be on call when they’re not physically at work.
Psychologist Robert Brooks, PhD, co-author of ‘The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life’ says, “A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They’re afraid it may happen to them, so they’re putting in more hours.”
“But even if you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?” Brooks says. “Focus your time and attention on things you can control.”
Here is a summary of Brooks 5 ways to bring a little more balance to your daily routine:
- Build downtime into your schedule.
- Drop activities that sap your time or energy.
- Rethink your errands.
- Get moving.
- Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way
Don’t assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Slowly build more activities into your schedule that are important to you.
Even during a hectic day, you can take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that will recharge your batteries.
You have to make a little time for the things that ignite your joy.
For the full article on WebMD click here
MCNZ Media Release – eportfolio
The Medical Council is continuing its eportfolio rollout with final year medical students in Auckland and Otago medical schools now able to keep track of their learning online.
The eportfolio known as ePort supports students to record their learning in an online system that they will continue to use once they start their internship and begin medical practice.
Chair of the Council’s education committee, Professor John Nacey, said, ‘ePort is a huge leap forward towards integration of expected learning outcomes between final year medicine and the medical workforce’.
Professor Nacey says, the implementation of ePort for interns in November 2014 has resulted in an improved learning experience and has helped to ensure consistency and quality of training, improving the way interns receive feedback on their performance, with the focus on ongoing improvement over the course of the 2 year programme.
‘The rollout will provide a smooth transition from medical student to doctor, and is a seamless way for doctors to continue their lifelong journey of learning,’ said Professor Nacey. This will contribute to an ongoing high quality of care for patients.’
Familiarisation with the Medical Council, New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Professional Development Plan (PDP) via the e-port is now available for final year medical students at both Auckland and Otago.
Both medical schools are working towards smoothing the transition from medical student’s final year to their first post graduate year. Both medical schools are also working to instil habits of lifelong learning and self-awareness. Accessing the ePort is an important stage in this process.
The ePort allows Year 6 students to recognise learning outcomes as they achieve them throughout their final year at medical school and to log them in the ePort. These skills can then be consolidated during doctor’s first and second years in the workforce.
It pays to ask the question!
It is not unusual, normal even, for the team at AUSSTAT/Kiwis STAT to organise travel and accommodation for our locums. Now it can vary depending on the role, location and length of locum but it is usually fairly standard, flights, accommodation and maybe a rental car.
However last month Dana found herself negotiating travel arrangements somewhat different in nature and no less than a marina berth for a 44ft catamaran. It turns out our doctor was near Grose Island NT and needed to dock at Darwin and fix a ripped sail before continuing on his journey, so the timing of Dana’s email about a locum in the area was perfect.
Despite it being somewhat uncharted waters (mind the pun) the locum proceeded but involved the boat being dived and treated for biosecurity prior to entering the marina, and as the bleach was pumped through the pipes (taking 10 hours), Dr Scott rowed ashore in his dingy to complete his paperwork and started work a few days later much to the delight of the hospital.
Save Doctors form Burnout!
Stanford Hospital have been piloting a ‘Time Bank’ program in an effort to increase job satisfaction, work-life balance and collegiality and ultimately reduce burnout levels, and it is working. Read on for the full story
Projects such as this don’t need to be limited to the ED or hospitals for that matter. It would pay for all employers to consider their options when it comes to employee wellness.
Hospital play takes on big themes
When do we take responsibility for our own lives and at what moment do we become adults, asks an award-winning play premiering at BATS Theatre in late September in partnership with Canteen.
The Quiet Room, written by Renee Liang and directed by Jane Yonge, is a poetic, engaging, and uplifting story of a teenager grappling with leukemia.
Marianne is about to turn sixteen, the age at which she is legally able to make her own decisions about medical treatment. But her mother and doctor have their own opinions. And then there’s Philip, the cute guy in the next hospital bed…
“I was inspired to write this play by my work as a paediatrician,” Liang says.
“I was single, in my thirties, building a career that was centred around sick young people, but acutely aware that I did not have kids of my own. I was forming bonds with patients and writing was a way to express and deal with that – though Marianne and her mother are composed of many different patients and their families, not anyone in particular.”
“I spend all day around kids, but I had to spend nights reading teenage blogs to figure out how to write dialogue like they speak!”
Despite the dark subject matter, there are plenty of light moments and even some tender comedy delivered by the teenage protagonists, played by Wellington actors Stevie Hancox-Monk and Michael Hebenton. The relationship dynamics between Marianne and her mother (Isobel Mebus) will be familiar to many daughters and mothers.
Director Jane Yonge, who created the recent Capital 150 Wellington Anniversary hit Page Turners, also has a personal connection to the subject matter. In her early twenties, Yonge nursed her mother through terminal cancer.
“The Quiet Room is for anyone who has had a personal connection to cancer, past or present – whether they’ve battled cancer, supported someone with cancer, lost a loved one to cancer.
“Cancer is both deeply personal and, sadly, near universal.”
“The play is for people who have experienced the liminal space between life and death. It’s also a coming-of-age story that speaks to anyone who has strong memories of being a teenager – or raising one.”
Working with lighting designer Jeremy Larkin, sound designer Thomas Lambert, and set designer Nick Zwart, Yonge aims to bring the transitional world of hospital to the stage, while also paying tribute to the chaos of a teenage world.
$2 from every ticket sold goes to Canteen, an organisation which supports young New Zealanders living with cancer through peer support programmes, counselling, leadership development, recreational activities and much more. Further funds will be raised at a gala evening, which will include an opportunity to hear true stories of cancer first hand from teenagers.
Canteen members are supporting the creative team and actors by advising and feeding back on rehearsals, and getting involved backstage.
Susie Robertson, Central Regional Manager at Canteen, says that they are excited about the partnership.
“It’s a way to look at the subject from a different angle, to tell the story differently. Our young people will be excited to see their lives reflected on stage, and we are happy to help make this show authentic.”
Canteen members will be given special access to BATS and Lauren Wepa, a young cancer survivor, will launch her book Cancer and All That Other Shit in a special event at BATS.
The Quiet Room
Marianne is turning sixteen, the age of consent, and she wants to celebrate. But she’s got cancer and her mum wants her to risk everything on one last-ditch treatment. Who knows what’s best for the patient? What does it mean to grow up, and how do you decide to live?
FINALIST FOR ADAM AWARDS 2013 & WINNER OF PLAYMARKET’S PLAYS FOR THE YOUNG (TEENS) 2014
BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace
bats.co.nz, 04 802 4175
24 Sep – 3 Oct, 2015
Supported by BATS Theatre, Wellington City Council, EAT Trust, and Whiteboard events.
My first time….
My very first locum was way back in May 1999. It was up in Weipa in Far North Queensland (the pointy bit at the top of Australia). It was a small GP run hospital with 3 GPs and about 10 inpatient beds, a small operating theatre, outpatient clinic, lab and radiology. Weipa is a town of about 4200 population but half are indigenous and half are working in the mines so it’s a very interesting mix of high and low socioeconomic status without much in the middle. That was what made it interesting though, at one clinic it was papercuts and acne and the other it was blood sugars of 25 and first presentations of glaucoma. In 1999 the internet was in its infancy so you had to take text books along with you and unless you sweet talked the hospital manager, you couldn’t get any internet access while you were away.
How things have changed!
However, there are still some things that are still the same no matter when or where you locum. If you are about to go on your first locum, here’s my list of tips:
1. Internet access and phoning –if you are a NZer locuming in Australia then buy a new simcard with prepaid for your phone and invest in a USB stick for computer internet access.
2. No one ever supplies a decent mug, sharp vegetable knife or decent tea or coffee. I always take these with me.
3. Reduce your luggage by wearing scrubs at work. Talk to your friendly Locum Account Manager –we have Kiwis STAT and AUSSTAT logo’d scrubs available (conditions apply).
4. It’s always worth having transport –if your locum position doesn’t supply a car, consider hiring one for all or some of your locum anyway –especially for your days off –this allows you a bit more freedom and flexibility.
5. Before you go, google the phone number of the taxi companies in the area you are going to –this saves you time on arrival and you’ll need it while you are there.
6. A locum once asked my how many pairs of underwear they would need to take for their assignment (yes they really did) –take one for every day of the placement + one more just in case UNLESS you are planning to do some washing.
7. It pays to take some washing powder in double snaplock bags (if it leaks out in your suitcase, believe me, you’ll never get it out!).
8. Eat lots of fibre –especially if you’re doing nights.
9. Pack some paracetamol and a NSAID.
10. There are several ways to chart drugs like morphine and each hospital thinks that every other way is illegal –don’t let it get to you.
11. Some hospitals can’t cope with things being written on the wrong coloured piece of paper.
12. DEFG –don’t ever forget glucose.
Stand-out Locum Location and so much more!
Picking up the phone to Trisha from Kiwis STAT offering another hands on locum placement is nothing new to full time locum Julie from Auckland. However on this particular day she was left jumping high with anticipation and ecstatic at the opportunity.
The SOS call had just come in, the clinic were in great need due to staff sickness and as far as NZ goes it was Rural and Remote with a capital R! The job came with a vehicle, driving lessons and a view from the office window that can’t be beat. Intrigued? Julie sure was!
Driving lessons you might think strange, but when your car is the Island Ambulance with a parking spot next to the fire engine, your partner on call-outs the local policeman, and Stewart Island the destination, it starts putting things in perspective and as mentioned, Julie jumped at the chance.
Julie is a regular locum for Kiwis STAT and usually takes placements in rural and remote Australia for up to 3 months at a time and it is rare locum placements, let alone super charged ones like this, come along.
The brief was a tight one, they needed someone 5 minutes ago (or earlier) and took some fast work on behalf of the Kiwis STAT team, amazing cooperation from the Southern DHB and Nursing Council as well as lightening speed work from Julie on her paperwork. But with the phenomenal “Can do ‘attitude of all involved Julie was on a plane the very next day!
Julie (yes there is more than one in this story) from the SDHB was most impressed to have a nurse on her way the very next day and said that feedback from the locals was very favorable and she ‘fitted’ into the island life very quickly’
Its hard to talk about a regular day when ‘Warning Kiwi ahead’ signs on the total of 40km of road is commonplace, let alone being on hand to attend call-outs via whatever access available (sometimes this is a boat) and seeing many of your patients at the famous Pub Quiz night (populated by none other than Prince Harry of late) is the norm. But Julie found this quaint and eclectic spot at the southern tip of NZ and breath of fresh air, friendly and full of variety – she even saw her first Kiwi in the bush and it snowed as well, which resulted in a quick ecstatic call to Trisha! But mostly it was the people, their close knit community who although they held her only for a short time, made her feel welcome and appreciated, so much so, she extended her placement there.
Julie truly loved her experience and would go back in a heat-beat, read her account of her time on the Island and see all of the photos here.
Happy Matariki (Maori New Year)
Matariki is the Maori name for a group of seven stars known as the Pleiades star cluster, this is also commonly known and the Seven Sisters. Matariki has two meanings, both of which refer to the cluster of stars. Mata Riki means Tiny Eyes, and Mata Ariki means Eyes of God.
Matariki appears in the eastern sky around the shortest day of the year (today), usually the last few days of May and symbolises the coming of the Maori New Year. Celebrations can start when Matariki is first seen but it is the first New Moon after Matariki that is the official start of Maori New Year. Celebrations can last up to three days with some observing the New Year on the day the moon rises, others the day after the new moon.
Matariki is thought to determine how successful the harvest crop will be in the coming season. The brighter the stars, the more productive the crop will be.
Did you know there used to be 27 letters in the alphabet?
What was the letter and why was it removed?
Do you know how the word ampersand (&) came about?
What is a mondegreen?
Click here for the answers
Happy Mother’s Day
Mother, Mum, Mummy, Ma.
Just as there are many different names to call her, there are many different ways a woman can be a Mother. She can be a biological or adoptive Mum, she may be your Grandmother or a kind soul who took you under her wing. She may have lost her children or you may have lost her, anyway you spin it she is still Mum.
The world is full of wonderful women that we call Mum, whether she is your mother, the mother of your children, partner, best friend or neighbour. One day a year, with cards, flowers, hugs, a chat on the phone or silently in prayer we get to honour our Mums and say thank you for all that you do and all that you are.
Make sure this Sunday you give some time to all the Mums in your life.
I read recently that the happiest highly successful people put mini-adventures into their lives as an important part of their routine. A mini-adventure is something like meeting after work at the beach for a picnic and a surf or taking the weekend to head away for a minibreak. I have been trying to do this although I wouldn’t say that these adventures have always turned out how they should.
Almost two years ago Chris (my husband) and I gave each other road bikes for our birthdays. Every Saturday morning we don our lycra and high viz (although Chris still puts shorts over his lycra pants) and trek out for breakfast/brunch/coffee or lunch (depending on which time we have slept in on that particular day). Using our Strava App, we can track our progress, global position, average speed, altitude and calories burned (I synch mine with Myfitnesspal.com for even greater finesse, and mainly to piss off my sister with the autofeed that says “Abfabmiriam (my username) burned 360 calories by bicycling –moderate effort”. As akin to an addiction we have started winding up the distances and also now have a selection of bikes in order to cycle rail trails and the like that are popping up around the country.
On Anzac weekend we cycled the Wildnerness Trail which opened about a year ago on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Not to be deterred by a 45cm rain warning we set out in light drizzle which soon became a torrential downpour that lasted most of our cycle trip each way (44 Kms on the first day, 36 on the second). We had a great (although wet) time, the trail is excellent and the accommodation Cowboy Paradise lived up to its reputation, the owner having some kind of marginally certifiable craziness which lead him to believe a cowboy themed accommodation (complete with Saloon and shooting ranges) in the middle of nowhere midway along a cycle trail would be a good idea. Thankfully he has a captured market due to his location, however, I will leave that to you to experience for yourselves! Abfabmiriam burned 980 calories doing 157 minutes of Bicycling <16 kph, leisure cycling.
Cycling is one way to build in a mini-adventure but if you are not quite up to it, a locum position can also be a way to make a mini-change or break from the normal routine. A few years ago the wife of an obstetrician rang us to tell us that we had saved her husband’s life, his locum position had given him a renewed energy and love of his job. And we have heard those sorts of stories from lots of people. As one doctor says “same shit, different location”. So if you are wanting a change but lycra, high viz and the strava app just aren’t for you, give us a call, our friendly locum coordinators would be happy to find you a mini-adventure to suit.
Day one, Liesl, Rex and Chris sheltering in a wood pile to eat lunch.
Setting out on day two from Cowboy Paradise, note we are dry at this point.
Project Burans Update
Dr’s Kaaren and Jeph Mathias are hard at work in the hills of Uttarakhand, India. For the latest update on what they are achieving and what is needed to help this community please read on….
ANZAC Day – 100 years on.
I came across this poem earlier this week and thought it summed it up beautifully.
I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
To be worn but once a year,
I am not glorification
Of conflict or of war.
I am not a paper ornament
I am more.
I am a loving memory,
Of a father or a son,
A permanent reminder
Of each and every one.
I’m paper or enamel
I’m old or shining new,
I’m a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.
I am a simple poppy
A Reminder to you all,
That courage faith and honour,
Will stand where heroes fall.
Paul Hunter 2014
Last but not least!
Kiwis STAT has seen many changes and lots of growth in the 10 years I have been involved as the companies General Manager. But, the one thing that remains unchanged is the culture of how we treat each other and our clients. Indeed, it was the opportunity to be involved with a company with honesty and integrity that attracted me in the first place.
Like any family we have seen many of our staff and doctors start families, build houses and continue to move forward with their careers but still choose to come back and work with the company. We have helped many of our doctors and nurses maintain financial independence while enjoying the freedom to control where and when they choose to work, and we have lived the heart aches and difficulties we all face with our staff, doctors and hospitals.
This has led to long term relationships that speak volumes about what is important to us as a company. As we take this moment to celebrate 15 years I know one thing is certain, and that is we will work very hard to ensure the same principles drive us going forward. I would personally like to thank all those hospitals, doctors and nurses who have chosen to use our company and, to all the staff who have being part of this amazing journey.
To read the stories from other staff members, please click the names below:
Big happy family.
My partner Mike and I moved from Invercargill to Christchurch in September 2010 for Mikes job. It was the best decision we ever made.
I started at AUSSTAT/Kiwis STAT in August of this year and immediately knew this was an amazing place to work. I didn’t have a lot of experience in office work when I started, but with the support of everyone here, I have flourished in the role and am really enjoying my job. For the first time in a long time I really look forward to coming to work. I have found working here is like working with family, we are all very supportive of one another at work and with our daily lives, which has been a huge help with having a 1 year old at home.
It is awesome to have made such great friends and I look forward to many more years with my AUSSTAT/Kiwis STAT family.
To read the stories from other staff members, please click the names below:
Love my role!
When I first started at AUSSTAT/Kiwis STAT, I found everyone so welcoming, friendly and helpful. Is it a wonderful close knit team and we are all just like one big happy family.
I love my role as Locum Account Manager and really enjoy coming to work every day. I find my job very rewarding and love building great relationships, not only with our doctors but the staff at the hospitals that I deal with on a daily basis. The systems at AUSSTAT/Kiwis STAT are so efficient and easy to use.
I look forward to growing with the company for many years to come.
To read the stories from other staff members, please click the names below: