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Why Choose the UK as an IMG?


Hello! I'm Soham, an IMG from India. I have passed part 1 of the PLAB exams, and my journey to prepare for PLAB 2 is currently underway. A question that has been posed several times to me has been my reason for choosing the UK to work as a doctor. While there are a plethora of reasons why medical graduates have forged this pathway for themselves, I have endeavored to cite some of the most relevant factors that have played a role in choosing the UK. In this blog, I will be discussing:


- Why the UK is a haven for IMGs

- The NHS – a universal healthcare system

- Opportunities for growth and development

- Lifestyle

- The UK as a cultural hub


A Haven for IMGs


As medical graduates, we're all faced with the daunting question of "What next?". The medical profession is strife with several ups and downs, and part of what makes the journey easier is a part of a supportive community. This ecosystem of support is well-established in the United Kingdom. Several doctors that we hear of from our home countries have managed to pave a life for themselves in the UK. Some of them may be the consultants you know; others may even be your seniors at med school!


It is common to be confused between countries where medical graduates would like to continue their education and training. But part of what made it easier for me to choose was the encouragement and comfort provided there and the help that'll be extended as one integrates into a new healthcare system. The bottom line is that with such a friendly framework of medical professionals in another country who are only more than happy to guide you and share their experiences, the UK poses itself as a highly welcoming place for medical professionals.


The NHS- A universal healthcare system


The opportunity to work as part of a world-renowned healthcare system is appealing. But the NHS combines the aspects of providing world-class healthcare services to benefit all, irrespective of socio-economic status. Being a state-funded scheme, the National Health Service allows medical professionals to optimise their time spent with the patient and make them feel better, rather than on soaring medical bills or lack of insurance.


As a doctor in the UK, your training will be under a structured programme, allowing for better delivery of medical knowledge under the supervision and appropriate guidance. The NHS is truly "universal" because it comprises health professionals from all ethnicities and walks of life. This means that the NHS would enable one to work alongside a multicultural team.


Opportunities for growth and development


Having discussed the repute of the NHS as a whole, it would be helpful to consider the opportunities that working there as well, which, for me, played a pivotal role in making the decision of undertaking this journey. I have already mentioned that a training job in the NHS would come under a well-structured curriculum; part of this would involve being evaluated regularly as well as being encouraged to partake in activities that would enhance your professional development. This was something that appealed to me.


On a personal note, I've seen and heard of my friends in the NHS who are consistent in their learning. They all attributed it to the encouragement provided by the clinicians at their trust/hospital, who gave them the incentive to partake in case discussions, case presentations, research, clinical audits, teaching and much more.


Continuing Medical Education (CME) is an integral part of working as a doctor in the NHS, allowing for the individual's holistic development. As a doctor, one mustn't simply be a competent clinician but should be equally effective in soft skills such as communication, counselling and teamwork.


Lifestyle


Another major factor that was instrumental in making my decision for the UK was the lifestyle. Contrary to "hustle culture", which is often erroneously glorified in certain healthcare setups, I believe a healthy balance between your professional and personal life should be maintained. This is vital for optimal productivity. There are several accounts of consultants and my seniors who have lauded their decision to move to the UK as healthcare professionals owing to the much-needed work-life balance provided and not carrying an unnecessary workload at home.


The UK as a cultural hub


Last but not least, the United Kingdom itself offers a great deal to experience and enjoy. Embedded in a rich history of culture and heritage, with scenic locations and famous landmarks, there's always something for everybody. Moreover, being a multicultural nation, living and working in the UK allows you to truly be a global citizen and make friends with people from every walk of life!


Need more Advice?


The decision to work in another country is always tough, and the prospect of doing so may be terrifying for most. This is where TrewLink can help! It exists as a "home away from home" for all IMGs, with the aim of making this transition smooth. Check out some more of the blog posts on the site, which can help make better-informed decisions!


If you have any more questions about the path to becoming a registered doctor in the UK, I would be more than happy to answer them at trewlink.com. You can register using this link: https://trewlink.com/?referrer=kal173834 and can also follow my profile – Soham Kale as an ambassador.

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