Enlisting patients to find new doctor

Owhata Medical Centre co-owner Dr John Armstrong is hoping their video attracts the right candidate. Supplied photo.

A Rotorua medical centre has taken a novel approach to finding a new doctor and has enlisted its patients help to make a video where they ask a series of questions directed at potential candidates.

Owhata Medical Centre owners Dr John and Ata Armstrong have provided health care in Rotorua with a whanau-focused touch for four decades and have recently expanded their business into new premises, and require more staff.

John says they had tried traditional advertising but that didn’t work, so they decided to make a video to visually illustrate to doctors what it would be like to work at Owhata Medical Centre.

“We wanted to include our patients, so we invited them to be involved, and they were very happy to do so.  We treat patients from all socio-economic groups, but have a particular focus on families that may be struggling, so we are after a doctor with the right skills and the right heart for the job,” he says.

The video was shot at the Owhata Medical Centre and took three hours to film. There were no scripts involved, patients were asked to speak from the heart.  The result is an authentic, heart-warming video where doctors can get a taste of what it would be like to work there.

Questions patients asked include: ‘Will you be interested in my mokopuna’s health, as well as mine?’ ‘Will you make me feel better?’ ‘Can I tell you anything, without judgement?’ ‘Will you help me look after my whanau’s health?’

Practice manager Ata Armstrong says all involved are thrilled with the resulting video and they hope it will attract a suitable doctor for their unique practice.

“Our team walk the talk. Nurses transport patients to specialist appointments if they require assistance and John will often make house calls to elderly patients (at no extra cost) in situations where there is no family around to help. The clinic also offers a free drop-in service on Wednesday afternoons.

“So the doctor we are looking for is extra special, this is more than a job, it is a vocation. Our medical approach is grounded in whanau and aroha and always takes into account our patients’ overall mental and spiritual wellbeing.

“Politically there is a lot of focus to support our most vulnerable, so this is an exciting time for a new doctor to be part of such a pivotal time for our community,” says Ata.


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