Being an IMG Doctor in the UK is not easy, especially as a locum doctor, but it can be very rewarding. Here are some Top Tips for International Medical Graduates to help you along your way. Also, 3 common mistakes that you can avoid, with extra guidance about using a locum agency and what a golden handshake is! Join us in this super fun and interactive Trewlink Webinar! (Part 1)
Why is it important to find a trailblazer/mentor?
1. My tip number 1 – is find a trailblazer/mentor. So someone who has already burnt that money for you and is willing to share some advice, just to speed things up. And the second reason is you will more or less know what to expect. Because difficult situation are managed much better if you have a timescale for instance. It someone tells you this is going anywhere between 2-4 weeks, you can prepare yourself mentally for that.
Pros and cons of starting your first NHS job with agency
2. So let’s talk about the pros and cons of working with an agency – and I also have recent first-hand experience of this, because of the job in Australia, that I got through an agency. So the pros, is that your agency can be a trailblazer for you. They have a vested interest in making sure you will get that first job and might have a lot of guidance readily available for you. They are also someone you can complain to, if things don’t go well. The cons is that they might not have the best job, long term wise. So for instance the job I have now as a salaried GP is an amazing contract in a great practice, and so they wouldn’t really need to employ an agency, all they used was word of mouth to recruit. But, sadly, don’t expect to get the best job straight away, so use the agency contacts to at least get your foot through the door and start making some money. As with anything though – always get 3 quotes is what my friend in the world of business says. So personally, I would sign up to a lot of agencies and get a feel for them really.
Getting up to speed with NHS guidelines
3. Now when I got that first locum shift I was so excited – finally I made it. But then I realised I was drowning because I was completely on my own expecting to manage patients. The UK is amazing because they have loads of guidelines and flowcharts that can be a tremendous sense of comfort for IMGs, and will give you amazing confidence, like do you know the guidelines for menorrhagia?
Deciding on a place to work and live in the UK
4. Deciding on a place to work and live in the UK. There are a lot of jobs out there and when you look at the pay scale you will notice that some jobs pay a lot more than other jobs, wondering why? Well, it is possible that there is a dire need to recruit someone because no one wants to work there. I was once offered a golden handshake to work in Yorkshire because I speak polish, but the area wasn’t nice at all. You might be feeling self-conscious, no confidence and that you would choose any job as long as they will have you. And it’s only for 1-2 years. But trust me, 1-2 years will easily turn into 10 years living in a place you actually aren’t too keen on. So do some research before hand and choose a place to live first, then start looking for jobs.