Life as a health practitioner in Palmerston North
Juliet Whittaker works for the MidCentral District Health Board as a Resident Medical Officer (RMO) in Palmerston North Hospital. She works in the obstetrics and gynaecology department.
We asked her a few questions about living and working in Palmerston North.
What was it that initially drew you to Palmerston North?
The main draw for me was the reputation and size of the hospital. When choosing where to start my career, I knew I wanted to be in a mid-size hospital in the North Island. I had heard great things about Palmerston North Hospital and I have family in the region. The location of Palmerston North and the ability to access lots of areas of the country that I hadn't yet explored was also a bonus.
What is unique to Palmerston North?
The ease of living - almost everything is within biking distance, or if you have to drive you can park right outside the door! It's also a great base to start from to explore the North Island and it has a fantastic variety of outdoor activities on offer, with lots of tramping around the region and ski fields and beaches a short drive away.
What do you like about working for the DHB?
The opportunities for hands-on learning. I am very lucky to work with a team who are supporting me to take the next step in my career by teaching me practical skills that I need to step up. I do not believe that I would have had the opportunity to develop my practical skills in the same way had I been working in a larger DHB.
How do you find the social scene in Palmerston North, is there plenty to do in your time off?
I am a keen runner, tramper, and skier and Palmy offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. A new footbridge across the river has recently been completed so I am enjoying exploring the new running tracks that this leads to. I also spend a lot of time cooking and the variety of international food stores in Palmerston North means that it's rare that I can't find the ingredients I need. The proximity to the wineries of Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough and an easy day trip to Wellington are also a bonus.
Finally, do you find your professional needs are satisfied in Palmerston North in terms of a good pool of contacts, colleagues, mentors and the like?
I'm lucky that the medical community in New Zealand is relatively small, so networking is easy - anywhere you go you seem to know people. My professional needs have been more than met in Palmerston North. I think I have surprised myself with how far I have come in only two years here - I don't think I would be at the level I am at had I chosen a different hospital.