Planning Work Overseas
Here are just a few tips when thinking about working overseas:
SHOULD I TAKE TIME OUT FROM THE NORMAL CAREER PATH?
This is a tricky question and will depend on what you do - if you work as a nurse, physio, radiographer or as a member of theatre staff, then working overseas is normally seen as a very positive thing. As a doctor, most forward thinking bosses also see it that way - but there are a few stick in the muds left. Overall though...you only have one life and you MUST do what you want - you will be repected for that in the end.
...and remember - it all depends on how well you sell what you did...sell the positives - not the fact that you were fed up with the NHS!!
WHERE SHOULD I GO AND DO I WANT PAID OR VOLUNTARY WORK?
Well - if your wanting developing world, then there are many NGOs who can help. Some can be a bit picky regarding how much experience you have, but they often provide some training, a small allowance and they may even pay into your pension. Alternatively you can apply to hospitals directly
For paid work, there are dozens of recruitment agencies. They can arrange everything from job placement to visas, flights and registration.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
This is a very personal decision that has to be based on when it would be good in your career balanced with buying a house/having a family etc.
For the British Department of Health's Advice on how to Build working overseas into you career - have a look at their toolkit which you can download by clicking here.
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT AND APPLY TO PLACES?
Well - your looking at the best website.
The best thing to do would be to buy The
Medic's Guide to Work and Electives Around the World - or to ask
your library to get it...but if neither of these turn up what you want
A number of grants are available even for those who are qualified. Further details of other grant bodies can be found in The Directory of Grant Making Trusts (Charities Aid Foundation ISBN: 1903991331), The Annual Register of Grant Support (Macmillan Press ISBN: 1573871265) and Educational Grants Directory (French et al ISBN: 1903991269).You can also write to local companies, clubs and your church. If you’re not earning (e.g. working for an NGO or just volunteer work) and a member of the British Medical Association, you can save yourself the annual fee by telling the BMA you’re a ‘medical missionary’ getting free membership for a year. See the section on ‘Funding’ in ‘Planning your Elective’ for more ideas on how to raise cash. Money can still be paid into a superannuation fund while you’re away. Some NGOs now pay into it and employers abroad should also be able to.
Many countries require that an overseas doctor or nurse has a medical before practicing. This is especially true of developed countries such as Canada and Australia. Details are given under the relevant country. A medical can usually be arranged through your GP, but you may be able to get the relative components done by hospital mates. For example, a CXR report, an HIV (± syphilis) test and Hep. B titre level are sometimes required. See ‘Your Health Whilst Abroad’ for information on how to organize this. Note: The UK now requires visiting medics (and medics that have been outside the UK for six months) who perform exposure prone procedures to have HIV, Hep B and C tests.
Your current provider may well cover you for work abroad in many countries (sometimes at no extra cost). A definite exception will be for those wanting to work in the USA or Canada. For both of these, the MDU, MPS and MDDUS (in the UK) can recommend insurance brokers (see the relevant country). You must contact your provider if wanting to work anywhere abroad to ensure that they cover you, and to get advice if they don’t. If they do cover you, ask for a letter confirming this and take it with you as it may be required when you arrive. For example, the MPS and MDU have reciprocal arrangements with most government hospitals in Australia and New Zealand whereby you are automatically covered. This does not however include private or GP work.
At the time of press, no insurance company seems to be offering repatriation to medical staff who suffer a needle stick injury Take a look at some of the Banner Adverts at the tops of the pages...
The requirements to register as a medical practitioner vary greatly. In the USA for example you have to sit a series of exams. In some Third World countries you probably don’t even need to register. If going through a locum agency or NGO your registration should be sorted out for you, but if going directly you will need to contact the appropriate medical council for that country.
REGISTRATION AS A NURSE/PHYSIO/OT etc:
Most developed countries will require you to register with the appropriate board in that country. Within Europe there are directives similar to those of doctors govening nurse registration, however, applications are delt with on a much more individual basis. Contact the authority listed under the “Useful addresses” section of your destination.
What to take:
Apart from the obvious travel items for yourself you might also want to consider taking:
For the hospital and staff:
The Oxford Handbook of Medicine/ Specialities and any books relevant to
what you will be doing (e.g. tropical medicine)
Other handy items include:
Padlock (and chain) to secure your bag to bus roofs
A top tip is to scan in your passport/visas/degree certificates and e-mail them to yourself before you go. That way if all your bags get nicked, you can still get copies by walking into any internet café.
HAVE FUN WHERE EVER MEDICINE TAKES YOU - PLEASE DO LET US KNOW OF YOUR EXPERIENCES AND UP DATE THIS WEBSITE SO OTHERS CAN DO THE SAME...GOOD LUCK...
For more information on the hospitals/organisations
above check out
The Medic's Guide to Work and Electives Around the World
is for doctors, nurses, medical/nursing
students and other health professionals wanting to plan work and electives with hospitals,
NGOs and charities overseas. It also lists government and
recruitment agencies and has updates for the ultimate guide - The
Medics Guide to Work and Electives Around the World - good luck in
your travels...and please update this site when you come back!!!