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Warmly welcomed . . . Oamaru Hospital clinical director Dr Stuart Mologne is enjoying his new role and the quality of life in Oamaru. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

Stuart Mologne says he has only one regret about moving to Oamaru – not doing it sooner.

Dr Mologne is the new clinical director at Oamaru Hospital. He started in the role in August, taking over from Pragati Gautama.

Dr Mologne moved to Oamaru from Westport, where he worked as a general practitioner in rural hospital medicine for 18 years, and also ran his own cosmetic medicine clinic.

He and his wife, Sally, who is an enrolled nurse, had been warmly welcomed to the North Otago town by hospital staff and the community, he said.

“All the people have been so friendly.”

Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr Mologne has been a doctor for 37 years, and has a postgraduate diploma in provincial and rural hospital medicine. He liked the generalist nature of the work and the sense of community and family at Oamaru Hospital.

“If you go to a rural town you get to know the people and the people get to know you – so it’s a little more personal,” he said.

Dr Mologne said he was attracted to the role after spending three days working at Oamaru Hospital last year.

“I liked it and I said at the end of my time up in Westport I may decide to see about coming back’,” he said.

He was enjoying the challenges that came with being the hospital’s clinical director, as well as working between the emergency department and ward when he could.

There was a strong sense of community ownership in the delivery of health services in the Waitaki district and Dr Mologne wanted to make the hospital something Oamaru could be really proud of.

Dr Mologne has also worked as an educational facilitator for training registrars, a pre-vocational supervisor for the Medical Council of New Zealand and a supervisor for post-graduate education for nurses. He said he wanted to help Oamaru doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff to upskill in special interest areas.

He was also focused on providing good leadership and compassion, recruitment and retention of staff, and said he wanted to give the community the confidence they would be treated well at Oamaru Hospital.

Before moving to New Zealand, Dr Mologne worked as a hospitalist – a licensed physician who practises in hospital wards and emergency departments and treats an array of conditions – in Pennsylvania, Austin and Oklahoma.

“As I was just coming to the end of my tenure in Oklahoma there was an ad in one of the physician magazines that said they were looking for physicians in New Zealand,” he said.

That advertisement was what led him to Westport – and he said he had fallen in love with New Zealand.

“I love the scenery, the people are super – I can’t say enough good things about them,” he said.

Outside of work, he enjoys motorcycling, travel, movies and spending time with his wife and their rescue animals.