Advance Your Career

Career Options

Having completed your PLAB exams and registration with the GMC, the next step obviously is to find a suitable employment. At this stage a lot of people face a challenge with their personal finances, having expended a lot on the PLAB exams and related expenses. This situation no doubt has a huge impact on the choice people make in  terms of getting a job.

As the health system in the NHS is different from that of your home country, a lot of people find it useful to do a few weeks of clinical attachment, so as to familiarize themselves. This also sometimes leads to building of trust between you and the team with which you work and it can open the door for future employment as a trust doctor. As you may already know, a trust doctor is one who is employed as a senior house officer who isn’t in a specialist training program. So one can be a trust doctor for as long as one is needed. However, If you must take up employment as  trust doctor, it is advisable that you plan towards getting a specialty training place in the near future.

Another very popular option for a lot of medical expats is to take up appointment as resident medical officers in private hospitals. These posts are usually good for their remuneration and the nature of their rota but as the scope of your role and responsibilities are very narrow, these jobs do not offer any particular career prospect and should only be taken up for the shortest possible term.

Depending on your residency status, you may be able to take up locum positions through an agency on an ad-hoc or long-term basis. Locum positions offer better control of your time and can be more rewarding financially but you would have to ensure that your tax affairs are in order. In addition to their regular jobs, a lot of people are able to supplement with some hours of locum shifts each month.

Ultimately, the goal for most people is to get into recognized specialty training posts (aka Residency) and it is important to note that the ease with which you get into a post varies from from specialty to specialty. Surgical specialties tend to be the most competitive while specialties such as psychiatry and General Practice (Family medicine), although competitive as well, are easier to get in to. Details of how to apply for specialty positions will be discussed in one of our blog posts.

Finally, it is usually such a relief to complete the PLAB examination and obtain a GMC registration and things generally get easier from this point on mainly because we get more familiar with the system. It can however be a challenge in the first few months of working in the UK and the advice will be always ask questions if in doubt. Never take actions which you know you are not competent at. But having said that, there is no excuse for you to be less competent than is expected for your level, hence it would be useful to ensure that you spend considerable amount of time improving your knowledge and skills as it relates to your career in the UK.

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