Lucy O'Hagan

Doctor. Patients. Stories.


I like to talk about the things doctors find difficult to speak, including my own experiences of burnout, error and failure. I speak with a candid humour and irony that gets to the heart of the matter.

I can draw on a huge range of experiences from working in rural general practice, kaupapa Māori services and free community clinics for the homeless. I love chairing panel discussions.

My presentations can weave together acting and creative writing. I have done post graduate study in the academic social science of medicine and narrative practice, so my presentations are intellectually challenging but told creatively with story.

They are poignant, funny and brutally honest. What I have learnt is that when I tell stories in this way, they reach into an audience, and create a resonant hum with their own stories.

A list of presentations and performance experience can be found below.

Doctor Stories by Dr. Lucy O'Hagan - Speaker, Presenter, Writer

What they say

"Thank you for challenging the narratives that make us feel we need to be less than ourselves to be 'good doctors'"

"Your talk at the RNZCGP conference was quite powerful and universal. I recognize that this is a deeply personal story, but I think you got a lot of feedback that it was therapeutic for many people in the room."

"Thanks so much for this morning's story about stories. It strikes to the very heart of how I see the world and general practice."

"Your talk was really moving, "real" and inspirational"

"Best lecture of the year"

"Your story inspired me to be myself, thank you"

"Lucy encouraged fellow doctors to embrace other ways of seeing"

Speaking & performance...Stuff I've done...

  • Responding to adult survivors of childhood trauma. GPCME Christchurch 2023
  • Medicine and nursing. Changing roles. With Chelsea Willmott, GPCME 2023
  • Communication skills of general practice. Webinar RNZCGP 2023
  • Wellington Faculty RNZCGP. After dinner speaker. December 2022
  • Cultural safety in a GP consultation. Webinar. RNZCGP 2022
  • Nurse practitioner forum. Chairing a panel discussion with nurse practitioners and GPs. GPCME South. 2020
  • Being a GP. A creative interactive reflection on being a GP for GPEP1 orientation days for RNZCGP, 2020
  • Advice for my second year med school self. ELM lecture: A personal vision in medicine. To second year med class. Otago Medical School, 2019.
  • The culture in medicine and nursing. Different, yet similar. Rural Health Conference, Blenheim, 2019
  • This person has a story. Responding to adult survivors of childhood abuse in General Practice. RNZCGP Conference, Dunedin, 2019.
  • Fun and meaning in medicine. Series of presentations to GPs around the country in response to high levels of burnout in GP survey, 2018.
  • Outing burnout. A shameless reveal of my burnout story! RNZCGP Conference, Dunedin, 2018.
  • Medicine in stories. ALMA Conference, Hanmer Springs, August 2018.
  • Patient diversity- a vision of wellbeing for all. Keynote address. Otago Medical Students Conference, 2018
  • Narrating our selves. How we create our doctor identify through stories. Eric Elder lecture, RNZCGP Conference, Auckland, 2016.
  • General practice is narrative. The relationship between medicine and story. Keynote address, Edcon, Auckland, 2016.
  • Patient X. Doctor Y. Exploring different worlds. Otago Medical Students’ conference, Dunedin, 2015.
  • Inspirational lecture: Doctor X. A case study. A multimedia presentation to second year med class, Otago University, Dunedin, September 2014.
  • Mental health care in General Practice. To post graduate students in Mental Health and Illness in primary care. Otago University, Wellington, 2013.
  • Cutting. Self harm speaks for itself. The personal and professional impact of making a film about self-harm. RNZCGP conference, 2012.
  • The Rat Speaks Back. Reflections on experience of harm and complaint in social science research. New Zealand Bioethics Conference, 2012.
  • Patient X Doctor Y. Multimedia performance for Art and Medicine symposium, Dunedin and at RNZCGP conference Auckland, New Zealand. 2011.
  • Understanding adult survivors of childhood trauma. Keynote presentation to NZNO Womens’ Health Division Conference, Blenheim. 2011.
  • Understandings of mental suffering gained from creating multimedia performance. General Practice Mental Health Symposium, Dunedin, 2010.
  • Understandings about compassion gained from theatre.  International Conference on Compassion in Healthcare, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2010
  • Girl with no words-listening to the language of cutting. Multimedia theatre piece created by Silk Tent Theatre Co. Funded by a Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Media Grant, August 2009-May 2010. 

watch Webinars and lectures

Medicine and stories. Interview on Radio NZ

Really lovely to talk with Anna Thomas about how stories and medicine weave together in a medical consultation.

Watch here »

Interview with Paul Trotman

Paul Trotman, interviewed me in May 2020 whilst researching for his documentary ‘Behind the Mask’.

The interview is a really interesting conversation about how life was in the first few months of the pandemic.

The final documentary by Paul Trotman is incredible. Read my review of ‘Behind the Mask’ here. 

‘Behind the Mask’ is available on Vimeo. It is a gripping reminder.

Behind the Mask - The Covid Story

Theatre and Performance:

Silk Tent theatre company developed creative projects that explored suffering and our response to it. Our works were collaborations between professionals and people with lived experience.

The multimedia theatre piece ‘Girl with no words. Listening to the language of cutting’ explored the experience of self-harm and trauma.  Read review here.

‘Patient X Doctor Y’ explored the dissonance between the world of the doctor and the word of the patient.

Flat out productions was a women’s theatre group that created community theatre, including two performances for the Festival of Colour, Wānaka. Devised performance ‘Witches over Wānaka’ reviewed here

Girl with no words - listening to the language of cutting: Theatre and Performance with Lucy O'Hagan
Doctor Lucy O'Hagan - Speaker and entertainer

Do you need an engaging, entertaining speaker for your next event?

Please get in touch below, I’d love to hear from you.