Monday, 19 March 2018
How I started my career in UK.
Hi my name is Jesvina Dhatt. I started working with KKM as a HO in 2010. I loved it in the beginning as we all do. You start your career as a doctor and you are finally independent.
Little did I know that working 36hours shift genuinely killed my sleep cycle but nevertheless I made amazing friends and learnt a lot from it.
I would proudly tell everyone that I did 2 years of internship in Malaysia with 6 rotations pushing me to my brim making me a stronger person than MANY of the doctors out there.
After that, I got transferred to Penang GH and then back to Selayang in Plastic and General surgery respectively. I applied for General Surgery Masters programme and saw the way the system works and got upset about it (my personal reasons towards it). Then I decided, why limit myself to Malaysia? Why not get something more international?
Why not explore what other places have got to offer?? I am single and i am young and I have an amazing family that supports me throughout all my decisions. So let’s go ahead with it.
So I started reading about the UK, partially because I had done my MRCS part A. So I only looked at the UK and not any other country. I read about the PLAB exam.
I am currently working in A&E as a middle grade doctor.
WHAT IS THE PLAB EXAM?
So basically PLAB is like an entrance exam to obtain your GMC (equivalent to APC) to practice as a certified doctor in the UK. Other means of getting the GMC registration is by going royal college exams (like MRCS, MRCOG, MRCP etc).
To do the PLAB exam, I did the IELTS test in which you MUST obtain an average of 7.5 and 7 in each individual area. It costs an estimate of 200£ (RM 1000.00). Nowadays, they also have the OET exam.
After doing this, you can go to the GMC website and apply for the PLAB 1.
PLAB 1 is a 200 MCQ (Single best answer exam) which is over 3 hours. You can do it in many countries but I chose to do in the UK.
There are 2 ways of preparing for it.
I did loads of past year questions, but I manage to only pass with 1-2 marks above the passing mark. That was a real gamble there. For those of you who feel that they need a bit more of coaching, there are academies in the UK that do ONLINE coaching and MOCK tests where they do over 3000 questions so that you are really prepared for the exam. My personal best is Samson PLAB Academy because his question bank is just amazing. The questions are merely a repeat.
The PLAB 1 exam costs about 250£ now.
You should get your results within a month after the exam. Keep your credit card ready, as the moment you get the PLAB 1 results, YOU SHOULD book for PLAB 2 as the dates gets filled in REALLY, REALLY FAST.
I took some time between PLAB 1 & PLAB 2 as I had to come back and work and locum to save up money because let’s face it, the conversion rates just kills bank accounts!!
I WAS NOT confident to do PLAB 2 on my own as it consists of 18 stations which are OSCE stations. The main criteria that they are looking for is how well you can communicate with the patients the “BRITISH” way.
There are loads of ethical scenarios that come into play and for that you need to know the rules of the British medical system. You need to speak good English, you must know how to negotiate treatments with patients and not ORDER them on what to do.
You must be able to look confident and give good eye contact when talking to them as they want to see you functioning as a competent doctor in the NHS.
So I joined Samson PLAB academy (www.samsonplab.co.uk)
It was my preference, as there are many other academies out there) and did the course and went through the mock exams.
I passed again with the first attempt with good scores.
The PLAB 2 exam costs a whooping 840£. So yes, do not compromise on any material that you get and prepare well for that.
You can only do PLAB 2 in the UK and the centre is in Manchester.
Again the results come out after a month.
Now the ACTUAL HEADACHE STARTS!!
Now you have to register with the GMC to get your license to kill, sorry license to practice.
You will need to go on the GMC website and fill up a long long long LOOOOOONG form dating all your clinical and no- clinical practices in the past, from the day you graduated.
This is another 425£. I did tell you about draining your accounts.
Once you have done that, they will tell you to send documents to them. This varies from doctor to doctor .
Like for me, they asked 4 documents
– MBBS certificate
– Justification of internship
– Good standing certificate
– IELTS results
For some of my friends, they even asked references from hospitals regarding their work and other details. So before you pay the money for GMC registration, make sure you have all this documents ready as you only have 3 months to sort this and trust me, we all know our Malaysia. I ended up doing GMC 3 TIMES, thanks to delay in good standing certificate and the confusion regarding my graduate university.
ONCE GMC OBTAINED!!!
Once you gotten your GMC, job availabilities are HUGE currently in the UK, I remember my PLAB 2 Exam director telling us, THE UK NEEDS YOU MORE THAN YOU NEED UK!!
Ways of getting a job,
(i) NHS JOBS- https://www.jobs.nhs.uk
This the website where all the hospitals post the grades of doctors that they want in different specialities. So you can apply and if they are interested they will email you for an interview (UK LOVES THE EMAIL, SO CHECK THAT REGULARLY).
Interviews can be done over Skype or in person. They understand that we are foreign graduates and cannot be there physically.
(ii) There are number of agencies that help you in getting a job as well.
About getting the job,
– You can always negotiate your salary up to your expectation.
– They understand that this is your first job in the UK and you are learning, so many people will help you out.
UPDATING YOUR CV
Your CV needs to be as beautiful as the spring season. You need to talk yourself up. Every course attended needs to be put in your CV.
How do you arrange your jobs, go from current job to the first job.
Current: Medical Officer (Equivalent ST3)
Hosp: A&E Park City Medical Centre
Duration: May 2015- Oct 2016
And then go backwards.
So they know, what role you would fit in.
Equivalence of Roles in the UK:
When you join, you will be in a non-training programme. You will have to come here and apply for the training positions. One of the easiest training positions to get in is the GP Training that is if you want to do GP.
So they have;
FY1 (Foundation year 1)- first year HO
FY2 – second year HO
SHO (Senior House Officer) –Junior MO
MG (Middle grade Doctor) – Senior MO/ Junior Reg
Clinical specialist – Junior Reg/ Senior Reg
Specialist or consultant
To apply for training, the website is Oriel (https://www.oriel.nhs.uk/Web) where you need to create an account and apply.
WORKING LIFE IN THE UK
The UK medical system works on shift. Most of the time it is the 9 hour shift system.
Then you have day and night oncalls which is 12 hours shift.
You will work an average of 40-60 hours and there will be days off. I’m not too sure about other departments, but in A&E, we work about 1-2 weekends every month but we get other days off during the work .
WOW!! That was a long long essay that I wrote but I really hope that it was of help to many of the Malaysians out there. My personal advise, go onto the GMC website and read the requirements before getting here.
ALL THE BEST MALAYSIAN DOCTORS AND SEE YOU SOON!!!