Moving to New Zealand as an IMG from the UK
Dr Niamh Doran and her partner James moved to Palmerston North Hospital in March 2021 with Medrecruit before heading up to Whangarei Hospital between February and June 2022. Niamh and James became friendly with other SHO’s they met at Palmerston North and headed to Northland together to explore the tip of the North Island before finishing work to travel.
We caught up with Niamh to find out what her experience was like coming to New Zealand to live and work as a doctor.
1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I'm from Lurgan, a place just outside of Belfast. I moved to Scotland when I was 18 to study Medicine at the University of Dundee. I then moved to Glasgow for FY1 and FY2.
2. What inspired you to make the move to New Zealand to work as a doctor?
I was living in Glasgow before my move to New Zealand. I had wanted to move to New Zealand for quite a while and always thought that the time after FY2 would be perfect, before beginning training. New Zealand looked beautiful and is full of hobbies I enjoy (hill walking, mountain biking, and of course wine tasting). I had met other doctors who had said it was an easy place to work due to the similarities with the NHS.
3. What were your first thoughts when you arrived in New Zealand?
As soon as I landed in New Zealand I was amazed by the scenery, there's nowhere I can really compare it to. The town we moved to wasn't anything to write home about but you had mountains an hour's drive to the east and a beautiful beach half an hour to the west and Wellington just south of us. Hard to beat!
4. How was the settling-in process?
Settling in was easy. The New Zealand healthcare system is incredibly similar to back home, from the computer systems to medications. People from New Zealand are so friendly and welcoming and there are people from all over the world living there. The New Zealand way of life is very laid back which suited me.
5. Can you tell me a bit about your time in New Zealand?
I initially worked in Palmerston North and then moved to Whangarei. Whangarei was a small hospital. It was full of supportive seniors and colleagues. The weather was stunning and we were never short of places to explore.
I initially moved out with 2 friends and then my partner joined us. While it was incredible to do this experience with them, we met many doctors who had made the move solo and had no problem making friends and fitting in.
We worked in Palmerston North for 9 months and during that time we used annual leave and weekends to travel the North island as much as we could. We then took 4 weeks off to do a road trip to the South Island which was just incredible. We moved to Whangarei for a 3-month job so that we could explore the far north. We went from the snow-covered mountains in the South to the endless white beaches in the North!
6. Why did you decide to move back to the UK?
As tempting as it was to stay, I made the decision to move home to be closer to family. But New Zealand was the best experience of my life and would definitely recommend a move there even for a short amount of time.