Medical Elective – Pete Bird

It’s been almost a month since I returned to the UK from my elective in New Zealand, and I think that one of the benefits of being unorganised with writing is that you have lots of time to reflect! Looking back, when I arrived in Wellington on a very windy Sunday evening I could not have imagined how much I would enjoy the two weeks at Wellington Sports Med, for an elective that was truly unforgettable.

To start with, I was so impressed by the welcoming and professional attitude shown to me by everyone there, being made to feel part of the team immediately. Having a big interest in sports and exercise medicine, I really enjoyed getting involved in any way I could and I was extremely lucky to spend time with almost all the staff there. A state of the art sports medicine facility like this one, with so many experienced health professionals under one roof is quite rare in the UK; therefore I was fascinated by the variety of patients and injuries that were seen here. I was also incredibly impressed by multi-disciplinary team approach to sports rehabilitation, with many health professionals here forming an intricate patient management plan to help them recover quickly and strongly. Patients can see a variety of staff, from Podiatrists to Orthopaedic Surgeons, and Sports Physicians to Strength and Conditioning Coaches – confident that each one is an expert in their area.

During my time at WSM I also had the opportunity to experience new areas of sports medicine that I hadn’t seen before such as autologous blood injections to aid tendon repair, compartment pressure testing, as well as spending time with Physiotherapists and Strength and Conditioning Coaches to see how their work assisted patients. I even had the opportunity to experience the acute side of sports medicine by shadowing a doctor at a pre-season rugby fixture with the Wellington Lions.



In addition to spending time at the clinic, I was also able to explore the city of Wellington too! I loved visiting Mt. Victoria and the Miramar Peninsula, seeing Te Papa museum and the Weta caves. I experienced the patient’s point of view by attending a morning Strength & Conditioning class ran by Greig at HealthFit, and also had a quick race alongside Evans Bay with Wellington Harriers Athletic Club! Another fantastic experience was mountain biking up Makara Peak with my consultant Ruth Highet plus her dog, Pinot! I even managed to find time to see some half-decent (although not as good as English?!) rugby by watching Hurricanes vs. Chiefs in the Super Rugby semi-final!

Altogether, I consider myself extremely lucky to have had a placement here, and I want to say thank you to the whole team at WSM and the patients I saw for making my time there so worthwhile and enjoyable, having learning a lot in the process – I can’t wait to come back!


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