Featured Doctor

MURTON, Dr Samantha

President, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

What work do you do now?

I am a working general practitioner (GP), and am also the president of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and the South Pacific representative on the WONCA Working Party on Women in Family Medicine. This last one is a new role working with a group of incredibly talented female family doctors who hail from places like Egypt, South America, and the Philippines. Their work environment is so different from New Zealand, and their circumstances can be challenging.

I’m also what is considered an ‘emerging’ researcher. My first research was done before I became a GP, but I have since completed research into GP training, medical students’ skill sets, bullying behaviour within general practice, and I’m now researching the use of art in medicine.

In addition, I’m a senior lecturer and co-convenor for the trainee intern students in Primary Health Care and General Practice at the Wellington campus of University of Otago. My colleagues and I look after 110 students each year, coordinating their six-week general practice intern placement while they’re in their final year of medical study.

Other interesting things you have done?

I began my career working as a surgical registrar, and even though I made the switch to general practice, I still do minor surgery.

I’ve always had an interest in medical education. I became a GP teacher almost as soon as I finished my own GP specialty training, and a few years later I took on the role of coordinating the GP training for the Wellington area. New Zealand’s specialist GP training programme is called the General Practice Education Programme (GPEP) and the first year of training is known as GPEP1. I became the National Clinical Lead GPEP1 – a role that allowed me to connect with GPs and trainees across the country.

In 2013 I became the College’s first Medical Director. This role let me see the machine inside the Ministry of Health. I was able to represent GPs and ensure there was a GP voice on projects such as end of life care and the prostate cancer working group. As a working GP, I could talk to my colleagues, then feed advice and concerns from the coal face straight to the policy makers.

I am also Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators (AoME) and have worked as an assessor credentialing members and running AoME training programmes in New Zealand.

What are you hoping for at the WONCA APR regional conference coming to Auckland?

I am really excited that WONCA is back in New Zealand after 20 years. The conference presents a great opportunity to showcase New Zealand general practice to the rest of the world, and it allows local GPs to hear how services are delivered in other countries.

I believe that general practice truly is the heart of health care and bringing so many GPs together will give us a strong, collaborative voice to champion this both locally and internationally.

The thing I love about WONCA conferences is that you get to spend time with people from around the world who really understand the unique work we do as GPs. I have met many people at other WONCA conferences who feel like they have become friends - and I’m looking forward to making more new friends and catching up with old ones at this conference.

Your interests at work and privately?

My interests at work are wide ranging. I enjoy the everyday variety provided by general practice. I also like developing our general practice team and being creative with what we do so that the practice becomes more efficient and can meet the needs of our patients and staff.

I also like doing minor surgery. It’s great being able to provide care that is normally only available in a hospital, at a place which is convenient for the patient and in a timeframe that doesn’t delay their care.

In my personal time I enjoy food, fishing, painting, going to the gym, and chatting about ‘the other stuff’ besides illness.