TODAY |

Helping whānau inspires South Auckland man to go from Middlemore Hospital orderly to trainee doctor

Four years ago, Nicholas Waaka was walking the halls of Auckland's Middlemore Hospital as an orderly, delivering patients to rooms and such.

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After working the halls of Middlemore hospital, Nicholas Waaka is now on the way to becoming a doctor. Source: Te Karere

Now, the 26-year-old is walking the same halls with a stethoscope around his neck, on his way to becoming a qualified medical doctor, after some hard work and persistence.

The University of Auckland student from Papatoetoe keeps a strong focus on whānau, and says being an orderly showed him many moments between family members he wouldn't have otherwise seen, which inspired him to become a doctor.

"It's crazy to think that when I started as an orderly in 2012 and fell in love with the job, that it would lead me back here now," Mr Waaka told Te Karere.

"I developed a love in that, you know, dealing with people and helping them through a really hard time."

He says he doesn't want to forget where he came from, and who helped him along the way.

"I love the patients here - it's a very Māori and Pacific Island-orientated community and we have a lot of health problems here, so it's now good for me to be able to help them at a greater extent."

He had initially considered pursuing a nursing qualification while working as an orderly, but after his own grandfather was admitted to hospital, he saw first hand the difference that a good doctor can make.

He also says a conversation with his late koro, Ronald Wong-Keung, gave him the push he needed.

"My grandfather passed away in 2015, a year before I got into medical school," Mr Waaka said.

"I remember to this day, him telling me that he didn't want me to work to pay the bills.

"I spoke to friends and colleagues and as a result, signed up for a foundation course at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

"I'm a firm believer that if you put in the effort, you can do whatever you set your mind to."