Dr Kirsten A'Bear
WHEN Dr Kirsten A'Bear moved to New Zealand in 2018 she brought with her a passion for general practice, her childhood sweetheart, and a dog named Moneypenny.
Though raised in the English town of Reading, Kirsten went to medical school in Wales where, after graduating in 2015, she worked in hospital settings for three years.
“But having been to New Zealand for a family holiday when I was a teenager I knew I always wanted to come back,” she says.
“I'd fallen in love with the country, the people, and the outdoors so it was just a matter of convincing (now husband) Liam to make the move.”
That done, Kirsten, Liam and Moneypenny – along with a couple of goats and soon some chooks – settled into a small lifestyle block where they have been developing gardens and planting trees with the aim of being self-sufficient.
On the work front, she started as a medical registrar at Gisborne Hospital before doing her first year of the specialised training needed for General Practice, then joining Three Rivers Medical, where she is in her second year of GP training.
And she says it was her near life-long experience with a rare inflammatory condition that led her to the door.
“Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the medical system and that taught me the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, the trust required, the importance of establishing a bond and the journey you take together,” she says.
“It really stayed with me how good communication, diagnoses and care can make such a huge difference to someone's quality of life.”
Kirsten has a special interest in working with the elderly and in palliative care and says GP training allows her to forge the bonds she so values.
“Three Rivers is a fantastic place to work in that you get to see a large variation of patients and conditions, and all within a really collegial, supportive environment.”