Medical Officer

As a qualified Doctor in the Defence Force you’ll provide first-class health care in unique situations whilst developing clinical and military skills. Your main focus will be on general practice, not only treating medical conditions, but prevention of medical problems, including preventative measures such as implementing vaccination programmes and occupational health, advice and screening. 

You will be taught how to handle weapons, and receive adventure and outdoor training. Scholarships and Incentives are available for 3rd-year students onwards and new graduates completing their House Officer years.

Medical Officers perform a variety of duties and are called upon by respective Commanders and the Director-General Defence Medical Services through the Director Army Health Services to:

  • Advise Commanders and the Director Army Health Services on all matters pertaining to health care including training, preventive medicine, and occupational health
  • Supervise and inspect as necessary medical establishments in their area of responsibility and formally report as required
  • In liaison with Headquarters Joint Force New Zealand, plan and advise on the provision of health care and Operations and in emergencies
  • Facilitate liaison with other Service and non-Service health care organisations
  • Provide training and educational support to the Joint Services Health School
  • Coordinate and provide health care for all personnel entrusted to their care
  • Organise and provide medical training programmes

The role of the MO on deployment is varied as essentially you are the primary care physician. You will require a good understanding of general practice, sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, occupational health, travel medicine, and emergency trauma. Currently there is a big focus on preventative and environmental medicine as non battle casualty (NBCAS) injuries still regularly occur.

You will be expected to display leadership skills as you are responsible for leading a small medical team comprising of a nursing officer, senior medic, and various patrol medics. In recent NZ operations there has normally only been one  MO in location. As the only 'doctor on the ground' you provide subject matter expertise to the Commanding Officer. You may be required to liaise with other Non Governmental organisations / local health authorities. You are the interface between other supporting medical organisations in the area of operations

You will hold a critical role in medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) when patients are referred of for higher medical care such as surgery,or specialist opinion in a larger base within the operational area or potentially back to NZ.

As a Medical Officer in the New Zealand Army, you will be able to take your existing skills to the next level. The comprehensive training you will receive as an Officer will allow you to lead teams of people, in all kinds of situations.

If you have referred to the minimum requirements below but would like more information on this role please email

You are required to hold a MBChB (or overseas equivalent), have recognised experience as a registered medical practitioner, to have at least two years house surgeon experience and hold a current New Zealand Practicing Certificate.

The New Zealand Army provides a Fellowship training programme for those training towards their Fellowship of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practice. The NZ Army also supports vocational training in other disciplines such as sports, occupational and emergency medicine.

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.


Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do a six week specialist officer military training course to teach you the basics of being in the Army. The course is designed to assist you in your integration into the Army and although it is challenging, it’s specifically catered for specialist officers. You will be taught the basics including:

  •     Navigation
  •     Weapon handling
  •     Leadership
  •     Drill and barrack routine
  •     Living in the field
  •     Army Ethos and Values

After initial employment and training the NZ Army will provide funding and study leave for Medical Officers to complete further professional study for a number of different courses including:

  • Early Management of Severe Trauma Course
  • Sports Medicine Course/Diplomas
  • Musculo-Skeletal Medicine Course
  • Dive Medicine Course
  • GPVTP Registrar (RNZCGP Supervised)
  • RNZCGP Supervision and oversight post GPVTP part 1
  • Concurrent postgraduate diplomas