Brothers following in family footsteps

RIGHT TRACK:  Brothers Nick, left, and Cam Loveridge-Easther are former Nelson College pupils starting to forge careers in medicine and diminish their student debts.
RIGHT TRACK: Brothers Nick, left, and Cam Loveridge-Easther are former Nelson College pupils starting to forge careers in medicine and diminish their student debts.

Nelson brothers Nick and Cam Loveridge-Easther are keeping medicine in the family, despite neither having started out with ambitions to become doctors.

The recent Dunedin School of Medicine graduates are now ensconced as house surgeons in Wellington and New Plymouth, having taken their first steps on the pathway towards a specialty, and the chipping away of mammoth student debts.

Cam's epiphany came while working in Britain as a trapeze instructor, when he got ill and ended up in hospital. It was there he gained a new-found respect for what doctors did.

"It wasn't fun but the doctors sorted me. I was always close to it at home, but never saw it."

A first aid course he did was another catalyst: "I've never been so interested in learning something."

Nick's career began with a science degree, but hereditary factors took over and he veered more towards wanting to become a GP, like his father.

The former Nelson College students are the sons of Nelson GP Graham Loveridge and former nurse Ruth Loveridge-Easther. Dr Loveridge said it was "rather a surprise" that their sons went into medicine but thought it was great.

"They're in very satisfying and useful careers. We're very proud of them and they both showed a lot of determination to get there," Dr Loveridge said.

Nick, 26, did a BSc in physiology prior to going to med school and is now a house surgeon at Taranaki Base Hospital in New Plymouth.

Cam, 24, who is a house surgeon at Hutt Hospital, spent the year after leaving school working at an outdoor education centre in the UK. The pair started med school at the same time and were able to bounce ideas off each other while studying, but there was always a bit of competition between them, said Cam. He and was keen to point out he got his degree first.

"Let it be known I crossed the stage first," he said.

The keen surfers did not have to draw straws over who got Taranaki; the decision was made for them by other circumstances, but Nick is happy with his beachside lifestyle.

Cam, who lives in Lyall Bay, has taken up windsurfing instead.

Nick said even though Taranaki was a smaller hospital, it had been a good move in that it exposed him to a wider range of learning opportunities.

He said it occurred to him while doing the science degree that perhaps medicine was for him, and that the GP lifestyle appealed.

"I think I'll become a GP as I enjoy the whole people side of it."

Nick now had a "monstrous" six-figure student loan to re-pay, and while Australia offered an option for the future from a financial perspective, it was possible to pay it off and stay in New Zealand. It might just take a little longer.

"It's hard to comprehend just how big the loan is. It does put the brakes on a bit, especially when I look at my mates who have a trade now, and a house."

He would like to return to Nelson some day.

"It's a pretty attractive place to live, in terms of what it has to offer, and all the family are there."

Cam was four weeks into the role and enjoying the opportunity to do rotational work, but it was a sharp learning curve from "watching to doing".

"I'm happy doing this for now. I'm not too sure what I'd like to specialise in, but when something catches my interest I'll follow it then."

The Nelson Mail