Couple coincidentally graduating in medicine

Natalie Cadzow and her husband Alastair Cadzow (both aged 24) will graduate from the University...
Natalie Cadzow and her husband Alastair Cadzow (both aged 24) will graduate from the University of Otago today. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Graduating from the University of Otago with medical degrees today will be a special occasion for married couple Alastair and Natalie Cadzow and their friends and family.

This year the couple completed the sixth and final year of their MB ChB studies, and are now working as house officers at Timaru Hospital. After six years of intense medical study, and their busy work this year as hospital house officers, the reality of graduating together, at the same ceremony, was just starting to sink in yesterday.

"I’m a little bit more excited," Mr Cadzow said.

"It’s feeling a bit more real," she added.

They will be among 340 people who will graduate in person from the university at a 1pm ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall, and the day’s other graduation event will be at 4pm.

Both are grateful for the strong support they received from friends and family during their studies, including from medical student flatmates, and friends and family would also be a big part of the celebration.

Adding to the excitement, Mrs Cadzow’s sister Brenna Downes, is also graduating from the university today, with a bachelor of pharmacy degree.

Mr Cadzow grew up in Dunedin, while Mrs Cadzow spent much of her early life in Blenheim. And her parents, Shane and Jenny Downes, of Blenheim, are among the family and friends attending.

The Cadzows met in their second year at the Otago Medical School, and after their third year, they then took a "gap year" overseas in 2014, and spent most of that year apart.

Mr Cadzow taught English as a second language to immigrants in Turkey, and Mrs Cadzow undertook community education support work in Fiji, through the New Zealand Church Missionary Society (NZCMS), backed by the Anglican Church.

They undertook clinical studies at Christchurch Hospital in their fourth year, and were married at the end of the year.

They then worked together at Greymouth Hospital last year, before returning to Christchurch Hospital this year, and moving to Timaru.

They were well aware that gaining their medical degrees was only the start of their careers.

"When you have your degree it’s a sign that for us ... that we’ve got the privilege, we’re allowed to start work," he said.

They have been strongly supported by others, but the Cadzows have also both benefited from the support of a spouse working in the same profession, and at the same hospital.

"It’s good to have someone who’s doing the same thing — it helps us both," he said.

Mrs Cadzow had "definitely enjoyed being on the same page" as her husband over their hospital working experiences.

"There’s the positive stuff about him understanding really well where I’m coming from."

They know that in hospital medical work the hours are often long, and the work sometimes stressful and demanding, as well as rewarding.

For a break, both are  walkers, trampers and kayakers.

They hope to try the kayaks out together, before too long, in Caroline Bay.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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