Te Kaha GP’s work with trainee doctors recognised

Te Whānau a Apanui Community Health team from left: Nurse Waimate Ngamoki, GP Rachel Thomson, Administrator Ripeka Te Haara and nurses Toma Walker and Kiritahanga Savage. Absent Nurse Dorothy Keir and Practice Manager Phillipa Callaghan.

An Eastern Bay GP who goes above and beyond to train the next generation of doctors has been recognised with a prestigious award.

Te Kaha Medical Centre GP Rachel Thomson has won a Dennis Pickup Clinical Educator Award - at Auckland University’s Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences Annual Teaching Awards – for her work supervising and mentoring trainee doctors.

The awards are granted to those who make an outstanding contribution by virtue of their qualities as role models.

Rachel was nominated by students who have been on placement at Te Kaha as well as medical school staff.

She has been taking Year 6 students for six week attachments since 2007, as well as hosting Year 4 and Year 5 students on occasion.

Rachel says the whole team at Te Whānau a Apanui Community Health (Te Kaha Medical Centre) participated in the teaching process and helped provide unique experiences for students; getting them out into the community as much as possible.

She thanked Kerry Nott Pharmacy, Visque Eye Care, St Johns and hospice, who often host students for a day.

“We work to increase their understanding of the issues facing rural patients in the hope that when they are working in the hospital they remember this learning and help to facilitate good care for our populations.

“We also hope to contribute to their understanding around cultural safety and the part they can play as health professionals to reduce the inequities and disparities that exist within our health system.”

The citation for the presentation at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences awards ceremony called Rachel an “outstanding clinician” who provided “excellent mentoring and supervision”.

“She finds unique and innovative clinical learning opportunities for her students, and affords them with many memorable experiences which have a very positive and lasting impact on their learning,” says the citation.

“Both this and the pastoral care she provides goes far beyond our expectations of a rural GP supervisor. She models strong team work between GPs, nurses and other health professionals.

"She is an outstanding clinician providing holistic 24 hour care to her rural community, epitomising the primary care principles of comprehensiveness, continuity, coordination and patient-centred-ness of care. This serves as a superb role model to her students.

“Rachel provides excellent mentoring and supervision for students needing remediation, and despite her workload will take on more when practices are needed urgently,” the citation continued.

“As a Department we have found that Rachel Thomson is a very valuable honorary member of our team. Her contribution to teaching is critical for the success of our programme, for which we are very grateful.”

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