Registrar wins New Zealand Junior Doctor of the Year Award 

College News
12 February 2019


Dr Katelyn Costello is a first-year registrar, working towards Dual Fellowship in the College’s General Practice Education Programme and the Division or Rural Hospital Medicine programme. She lives her life by an inspiring motto: make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.

It’s this attitude that led to Katelyn’s recognition in the Junior Doctor of the Year awards, presented at the Australian and New Zealand Prevocational Medical Education Forum in Melbourne last year.

 As part of her nomination for the award, Katelyn’s former employer, the Canterbury District Health Board, listed several of her achievements and volunteer roles:
  • Intern representative on the Medical Council of New Zealand’s (MCNZ) Education Committee
  • New Zealand representative on the Australasian Junior Medical Officer Committee (AJMOC)
  • Member of the Canterbury DHB Resident Medical Officer Training Committee
  • Volunteer mentor for new RMOs at Canterbury DHB
  • Teaching assistant at the University of Otago, Canterbury Simulation Centre
  • Teaching with the University of Otago Rural Medical Immersion Programme

Even as she begins her GP and Rural Hospital Medicine training, Katelyn hopes to remain involved with medical education wherever she can.

“I loved all the extra stuff I did with the MCNZ Education Committee and AJMOC. 

“Tutoring fifth-year medical students on the rural programme was also a highlight; I absolutely love the teaching side of things.”

Originally from the small town of Ladbrooks in rural Canterbury, Katelyn says her decision to become a Dual Fellow was inspired by early experiences with family doctors.

“When I was 11 years old my dad passed away suddenly, followed by mum just one year later,” she says. 

“While mum was sick, I remember her GP making a home visit on Christmas day. That was a pivotal moment in my own journey into general practice.

“Since then I’ve had many more incredible interactions with GPs that cemented my desire to follow in their footsteps.”

Katelyn is now working at Wakatipu Medical Centre in Queenstown, the same practice where she completed a GP run as a second-year post-graduate student. She says the experience was formative.

“I’m a really strong advocate for community based attachments. They’re such a brilliant idea,” says Katelyn.

“I think more house officers should be participating in them. Even if it doesn’t push you into general practice, it gives you a better idea of what GPs are dealing with and what’s actually going on in your community.

“When you write ‘GP to follow up’ on a discharge statement as a house officer, you may be missing the context of that comment. 

“Experience in general practice can help you realise that some things are not realistic.”

So far Katelyn is enjoying the programme, and says she loves working in the community.

“I get energy from working with people. Being able to hear patients’ stories is a big source of enjoyment for me.

“I also love the variability; I like not knowing what is going to come through the door, or what will come out during a consult.”