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Clocktower clockWednesday 3 July 2013 2:43pm

University of Otago lecturers Hamish Wilson and Wayne Cunningham present a fresh approach to medical practice in their new book released this week by Otago University Press.

Authors Hamish Wilson (left) and Wayne Cunningham

Being a Doctor: Understanding Medical Practice is an insightful and informed account of what it is like to be a doctor.

Based on many years of teaching family physicians, Wilson and Cunningham argue that being a doctor is much more than simply knowing biomedical facts and having good clinical skills.

“Perhaps doctors have never been under so much pressure: advances in biomedical sciences have increased clinical expectations tenfold. This book aims to help doctors get back to the reasons why they signed up in the first place to be a health professional,” says co-author Dr Hamish Wilson.


Being a Doctor explores principles and assumptions of modern medicine seldom taught in medical school but which are integral to the day-to-day working life of health professionals.

Starting with the meaning of suffering and how the 'science' of medicine has evolved, the book examines the world of the patient, the world of the doctor and how these worlds intersect. Wilson and Cunningham use clinical stories to provide a fresh perspective on the work and role of the modern doctor.

Major challenges facing physicians include the doctor–patient relationship, the 'heartsink' experience, and unwell patients for whom no disease can be found.

Caring for such patients can leave clinicians feeling overwhelmed. This book is an antidote – an invaluable tool for doctors in practice, students and doctors in training. Being a Doctor provides valuable insight for all medical professionals and is an enlightening read for patients and clinicians alike.

“Each chapter has numerous pearls of wisdom. It is a must read for all clinicians,” says Professor Bruce Arroll, University of Auckland

In the words of Glenn Colquhoun, this book is 'good medicine'.

Being a Doctor: Understanding Medical Practice
By Hamish Wilson & Wayne Cunningham
Foreword by Glenn Colquhoun
Paperback, $35.

For further information, contact

Rhian Gallagher
Otago University Press
Tel 64 3 479 9094

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