Blog for Health Professionals

AHPRA Registration – Why it Matters to Get it Right the First Time

For those of you considering working in Australia, you will, of course, know you need to complete you AHPRA registration. What you might not know is the application process can be fraught with confusion, tricky bits, and time delays from information not being submitted in the correct way, with the process including many inadvertent traps.

These errors can see you paying more, and the worst-case scenario, making it not possible to start work when you need to.
It is hard to believe that a form or application, the type I am sure you have been used to filling in your whole career, can be that hard. But believe us when we say it can be almost impossible to get it right first time without a bit of know-how.

Read on for some tips to help you get it right the first time.

This is My Other Job – from O&G Consultant Jenny

This is My Other Job – O&G Consultant Jenny

Jenny has been working with us since 2009 with the express purpose to fund their living expenses in order to provide aid work on a voluntary basis in the Philippines. This is her story – it’s a goodie and we love that we can help make it possible to do all the wonderful work she and her husband do.

In 2010 my husband, son and I moved to the Philippines to do voluntary missionary/aid work in a poor coastal fishing area of Luzon. As soon as we planned to do this we knew that I would need to return to NZ to do locum work to earn funds to support our living expenses and our aid work. I registered with Kiwis STAT in 2009 and they have been outstanding at providing me with locums each year. They keep in touch regularly to ascertain my work needs and availability, assist with administrative requirements and efficiently arrange travel and insurance for my locums. They also added our charitable Trust (Hands of Hope ) to the gift register which has provided a regular source of donations for us over the years.

We have seen that education is a key way to move out of poverty. We initially sponsored children to attend the local Elementary (primary) school but the school is very overcrowded with large class sizes. Two years ago we began a Department of Education registered private Elementary school which is now nearing the end of its second year of operation. We charge minimal fees to allow parents an affordable option to invest in the lives of their children. We also sponsor over 40 of the first children we sponsored to attend High School or College. The photograph is of some of me with some of the elementary students at our school.

We could not do any of this if it was not for the support we have had from Kiwis STAT. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have donated their gifts to Hands of Hope over the years.

Jenny Westgate

Obstetrics & Gynaecology Consultant, FRANZCOG


Locuming helps fund my voluntary work in the Philippines.

Locuming helps fund my voluntary work

Happy Easter

easter design background

Some of us remember walking up the sidewalk to church on Easter morning with their family, best clothes on. Others remember searching for eggs and sweets, then tearing into an Easter basket brimming with treats (Hot cross buns are my favourite) . Christians give thanks for the resurrection of Christ, while others look forward to rugging up for winter and a few snow days. Whatever your memories, Happy Easter from the team at Kiwis STAT

Fantastic news from the home front

Congratulations to our very own Grace, who recently got engaged.

Here is a little sneak peek at the bling. We are all so excited for you Grace!

Full page photo

Refresh your cache

So most of us know we need to refresh or clear our browser cache to speed up our computers and ensure our internet searches are returning the most up-to-date information. But when it comes to actually doing it, sometimes the grey matter needs a bit of nudge in the right direction (I was recently in this boat).

We have found a great go-to guide for refreshing your cache in moments for a variety of browsers, just in case yours is overdue. Click here

Happy Surfing

Merry Christmas to All!



With the end of the calendar year madly rushing up to greet us, just days left until Christmas and a heap of things on your To–Do list, remember to breathe and hit the big things first (or at least a couple anyway).  This will not only drastically reduce the dread and weight of your list mentally, but will also give you the motivation/energy to squeeze the little things in-between and, heaven forbid, enjoy the festive season wherever you may be with family, friends, colleagues, pets, the outdoors or a good book!

We are of course here to keep working for you right up until a few days before Christmas and will be back shortly into the NY should you need to be in touch.

This year we have been focused on how time-poor we can be and with this theme in mind have added our well received “how to wrap oddly shaped gifts article from our recent newsletter for those of you who may be struggling with the last of the tricky pressys!

All the best for you and your families, may this festive season sparkle and shine, may all of your wishes and dreams come true, and may you feel this happiness all year round.

Thank you for working with us, we appreciate the time you spend letting us into your lives.

How to wrap those oddly shaped gifts

We’ve all been there. Trying to disguise that golf club/stuffed animal/non-rectangular thingamajig.

No easy feat, we know.

So if you find yourself pondering this big issue, here’s a couple of ‘hacks’ (trendy word for short-cuts) for you.

  1. Buy a gift bag – almost everywhere has them plus they are pretty reasonable and keep your pressy upright. Place inside and stuff the top with a bit of tissue to stop the peekers, or seal the top with sellotape or staples and a bow – Tada!
  2. Buy your present from a mall or store which offers complimentary gift wrapping – these guys and gals are the pros and it can be entertaining to watch someone else wrestle with it rather than you! – Easy
  3. Make, buy or fashion a bow out of something sparkly, crinkly or colourful and pop it on the top – Job DONE!!

Reducing your Debt

There are many articles on ways to reduce your debt.  Take control

A couple that struck a chord with us were Pay off debt in 7 steps, 33 proven ways to reduce personal debt, but there are many more.

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.

Be Grateful.

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;

  1. Early wakeups = children to love
  2. House to clean = safe place to live
  3. Laundry = clothes to wear
  4. Dishes to wash = food to eat
  5. Crumbs under the table = family meals
  6. Grocery shopping = $ to provide for us
  7. Toilets to clean = indoor plumbing
  8. Lots of noise = people in my life
  9. Endless questions about homework = kids brains growing
  10. Sore and tired in bed = I’m still alive
Be Grateful

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:

  1. Build downtime into your schedule.
  2. Drop activities that sap your time or energy.
  3. Rethink your errands.
  4. Get moving.
  5. 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.

Gugari3 Narrow to begin Resize of Royal Darwin 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? 


BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, 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.resized-4-Square-Oban-Stewart-Island

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.

NASA Matariki 2012 small_0

27 letters!

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.




Mini Adventures

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 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.Mini Adventure Day one

Day one, Liesl, Rex and Chris sheltering in a wood pile to eat lunch.

Mini Adventure Day two

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….

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