Interview - Dr Simon Rowley

Can you please describe your typical day?

I'm usually to work around 7.45 am. Some days my mornings consist of attending X-Ray meetings, Paediatric Update meetings and Ward Rounds. If I'm not doing ward rounds, I will visit my outpatient clinic or do ACC reports or prepare teaching for lectures - I give lectures about once a week to nurses and also to medical students a few times a year. I might then meet with a Registrar to discuss patients and their progress. Sometimes I'll be asked to visit babies on the ward.

In the afternoon, I may go to my rooms and I will see private patients until the end of the day. These encompass children from birth to 18 years of age and a range of issues from bronchiolitis in a 3 month old infant to headaches in an adolescent.

Throughout the week, I also do teaching sessions, Grand Rounds on Fridays, Journal Clubs and Departmental meetings.

During the year, I might also prepare for the Neonatal Day for Registrar Exams in which the hospital runs a Registrar Exam course once a year for a fortnight and I organise some of the events which may include an X-ray Talk, a Hot Topics talk, and a Ventilation Talk.

As my role as VTC chair, I spend about an hour a day working with NoRTH discussing prospective candidates, placements, job shifts and interviews. I also work to ensure that the Paediatric RMOs are meeting their training and service requirements.

What are the types of cases you typically see?

Some of our more common cases include babies born prematurely; I will work with the Registrar team to decide if the babies require ventilation and sometimes  surgery. We also look after babies born outside of Auckland, such as Whangarei, who are coming into our hospitals to be cared for after a premature birth.

Oftentimes I will sit down with parents and discuss treatments or other options for their babies.

The Level 3 area cares for infants who require intensive care support. On this level we have 16 beds. On Level 2 we care for babies that require less intensive care support and the doctors might be working with the nurses and social workers to do discharge planning.

One of my responsibilities is look after the babies born to HIV+ mothers. I am also one of the neonatologists who cares for infants born to drug addicted mothers and who may be showing signs of drug withdrawal.

Between Journal Clubs, teaching sessions and we offer about 4 hours of teaching a week; plus we do teaching on the Ward Rounds as well.

What do you like about working in Paediatric Medicine?

I like babies and children; I like the outcomes when you see sick babies getting well and supporting parents through difficult times. Every once in while, you will meet with someone who was born prematurely and now they are a healthy teenager and it's an amazing feeling!

There is a lot of variety in neonatal medicine- we see cardiac babies, paediatric surgical babies, babies born with congenital defects, extremely preterm babies, and babies with infections that require acute support including lines and drains.

We also have good academic input. We have paediatric grand rounds, neonatal grand rounds, Mortality meetings, journal clubs, guest speakers and Registrar teachings.

What do you like about working in the Auckland Region?

Auckland is such a Multi-ethnicity region, including a Maori/Pacific Island population, Asian population and a Middle-Eastern population. We also have a mixed socio-economic demographic.

There are only 6 NICU's in New Zealand and Auckland City Hospital is the largest. As such, we take difficult ENT cases or cardiac cases from all over NZ. We also offer subspecialties including paediatric nephrology, paediatric cardiology, paediatric respiratory, and we receive referrals from all over NZ.(this could be ommitted)

We also liaise quite a bit with PICU and Starship subspecialties.

The Auckland Region is a great place for any doctor looking to combine a wide variety of knowledge with an outdoor lifestyle - we have beaches, it's close to mountains for skiing, and you are never more than a few minutes from the sea.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time for leisure activities?

I enjoy spending time in the Coromandel which is only a few hours' drive outside of Auckland. I enjoy surfing, gardening, kayaking, skiing, and visiting  family in the South Island. I do a lot of traveling as part of my job, which I enjoy. I've been to at least four overseas conferences this year alone! And as the RMOs become more senior, they too are able to attend conferences particularly if presenting papers.


If you are interested in receiving further information about a career in Paediatric Medicine and/or working in Paediatric Medicine in Auckland, please contact NoRTH or Dr. Rowley on with your objectives for the future.

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