Wednesday February 27, 2019
Dr Hugh Lees
I felt very honoured and grateful to my colleagues who nominated me for the award. It was a very significant event for me particularly because so many people were there, peers, mentors, family and friends of mine, which made it all the more special.
I first began teaching when I became a medical registrar at Tauranga Hospital way back in 1979. I don’t feel clinical teaching is something which has necessarily ever come naturally to me but it’s something I feel is very important. I’ve always felt strongly about the part of the Hippocratic Oath which talks about passing on knowledge to the next generation.
The last paragraph of the Declaration of Professional Dedication that I signed at my graduation in 1976 reads: I promise as a graduate of medicine that I will promote the welfare and maintain the reputation of the medical profession. I also accept my responsibility to pass on the knowledge I have gained and recognise my debt to my preceptors. That’s a philosophy and ethic which has been a strong motivation for me throughout my career.
I was particularly inspired in my early years by the then sole paediatrician at Tauranga Hospital, Dr Ken Dawson, and also by my long-time friend and mentor John Fleming and more recently my younger colleagues.
I feel I’ve been very fortunate to pursue a career in general paediatrics. It is the most marvellous career to be a part of. I like to say that every day you come to work you don’t know what patient is going to be placed in front of you or what part of the textbook you will need to open to treat them. We are an age-defined, rather than organ-defined, speciality and that means we cover the gamut of conditions for patients from very young infants through to adolescents. It is such a stimulating area of medicine.
I’ve always felt that teaching is part of the job, it’s not additional, it happens organically. The mantra in medicine for me growing up was: see one, do one, teach one. It’s a bit more measured than that now of course but the essence of that holds true.