Episode 2 - The One With Amr, Doctor - Licence To Practise Podcast - Egypt to UK - IELTS
** Sit back and listen, it's time for Licence to Practise by IELTS Medical.
In Episode 2 - The One With Amr, Doctor - Christina gets to know Amr, a Medical Doctor who been practicing in the UK since his move from Egypt.
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Christina: Hello and welcome to another episode of License to Practice from IELTS Medical. Today we're going to be talking to Amr, a doctor who has been practicing over here in the UK since 2016. I can tell you now that this phone call is full of great advice. So without further ado, here is Amr. So hello, how are you today?
Amr: I'm fine, and you?
Christina: Yeah, I'm fine. Thank you. So thanks for coming on the podcast. Would you just be able to tell us a little bit about yourself?
Amr: Yes. My name is Amr. I'm just 34 years old. I'm from Egypt. So, I've graduated from the medical school in 2008-2009. Then I've gone through my residency in Egypt, it's a different system than UK, for three to four years. Then I got my master degrees.
Christina: Oh, right.
Amr: During that time, I applied for and stopping my residency for six months in which I went to Germany. That was in I think in 2010. I spent six months fellowship in Germany, divided into three months in West Germany and two months in East Germany.
Christina: Oh right. Wow. That's interesting.
Amr: Then I got like my Masters degrees in 2014. At the time, I need to apply for my MD degree and I was always hoping to have my MD degree so I was always hoping to get it abroad outside Egypt. So, as I went to Germany for six months, my first choice was Germany but I didn't find a suitable place to go. So there was a chance to go through the British Council, which I applied to and I came to UK in 2014.
Christina: Okay, so that's why you've come to the UK.
Amr: Honestly, it was like a chance. It's a lucky chance. I was always focusing to just research in Germany because I went to Germany. I've learned German.. I've tried my best to go to Germany but it didn't happen. Then with the first chance to go to UK, I applied for a fellowship and I got accepted. By the way, it's very famous for us in the Middle East. It's a very famous program for everyone. It's called Newton, which Newton the scientist, and Musharafa is the Egyptian famous scientist. So Newton-Musharafa Program, which is a collaboration between British Council in the UK government and the Egyptian government. Now, it's some also as Middle Eastern country, Jordan and stuff like that, joining this program also.
Christina: Oh, right. Okay. That's interesting.
Amr: Where people can apply and get funds to come to UK even not for medicine only. It's also for all other subspecialties.
Christina: Yeah. Oh, right. Okay. That's interesting to know. I have not heard of that before. So you said you obviously had your time in Germany and you learnt German. Did you already know English or did you have to learn it?
Amr: No, no. I studied in English. I've studied my medical school and in English.
Christina: Oh, did you? Oh, okay.
Amr: This is something good in Egypt that you study your medical school in English. Also, my high school was an English high school so I used to learn English since I was young.
Christina: Oh, right. Okay. So that's a bit about you and why you ended up coming to the UK. Can you tell us a little bit about your specialty?
Amr: Yeah. The specialty is something that’s different in different systems. Now I'm a Urologist but when I graduated, I joined this. It's a different system. After I finished four years, I was interested to join Andrology. Andrology is the subspecialty. Andro in Greek means man so the study of man, which is the male sexual problems and male infertility. In Egypt, it's a subspecialty of general surgery. If you want to do Andrology, you need to do general surgery. When I came here for fellowship, for Andrology in UCLH, which was my first one and a half year here but when I went to continue my career in UK, they told me you have to do Urology because Andrology is subspecialty. So, I've restarted Urology from scratch.
Christina: Oh, wow.
Amr: That was in 2017, one and a half year after I came here. Now I'm an urology fellow at – Hospital Name blanked out -
Christina: Oh, wow. How are you finding that?
Amr: Well, it's good. When I started urology from scratch, that was in Harlow. That was in 2017. Harlow is small town. It was really difficult time because you're doing almost take a career shift like what? Six weeks to more than that, six or seven or eight years after you have been practicing medicine. So, it was a really bit difficult in the beginning at Harlow, and also I choose to go small place so they can withstand my little knowledge in Urology.
Christina: Yes, yes.
Amr: It's not that busy like London. It was a bit difficult at the beginning. It was time, I used to read more or grade myself. Some of my Consultants were really supportive that they helped me to keep going.
Christina: Yeah, and it's all works out well for you. Has it?
Amr: Yeah, yeah. I spent almost two years in Harlow. I've felt that this is the end of this a very little step so I decided to upgrade myself so I applied for – Hospital Name blanked out - hospital, which is for sure a bigger and more famous and doing more regarding Urology than Harlow.
Christina: Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, that's good. Congratulations.
Amr: Thank you.
Christina: When you came to the UK, I know obviously you went through this scheme. Did you have a job waiting for you when you got here?
Amr: As I told you in the beginning, I came here for a fellowship. It was Newton- Musharafa Program like a fellow from Egypt under the sponsorship of the Egyptian government as a collaboration between the Egyptian and English government in relation to this program. When I came into, there was a job waiting for me. But at that job, it was a research fellow so I didn't need GMC registration. I've worked for almost one and a half year as a research fellow with some observations. I was not practicing medicine or doing more research, observing the hospital, observing the patients. I couldn't be that.
Christina: You couldn't, actually. Then you did your GMC registration after that.
Amr: Yeah, I did the GMC registration, which the major step for me is just to get my IELTS, which I spend long time but I'm finding the miles through IELTS Medical. I would still remember that was in May '17.
Christina: Right, okay. How did you find that then?
Amr: I have a long struggle with IELTS, I've tried different online courses. I've tried finding by myself. I always had a problem with writing part.
Christina: I think that's the main one, I think because that people struggle with.
Amr: I think so. I don't know. Maybe because we are taught in a wrong way. It was different here how they assess the writing, anyway. After trying a long time, I've tried almost. This is all something that people don't give up. I tried one year to get my score, which is a long time, but I was always focusing and trying to get but it was not working. Then my last try was that I was looking for something to try something different. Then I found this IELTS Medical, which I think was starting at the time. It was brand new and stuff. I joined them. I knew the boss, Nonny. I didn't know her before but I knew her from the contacts and the emails and stuff like this. I started the course with them, which I always mention it, IELTS Medical has been my lucky step to get my IELTS.
Christina: Oh, really?
Amr: Yeah, yeah. I've always said that. I've even sent the email with that to Nonny before a few years ago that IELTS Medical has been my lucky cornerstone for getting miles and I'm starting my medical career, which now is almost three years in the UK.
Christina: Oh, well, very good. So, obviously, you've done it now. You’ve finished. You've been working here for the last few years. Do you have any advice for people that want to do that for aspiring UK medics?
Amr: Yeah. For aspiring UK medics, I told them. Also, even friends or friends of friends that if you want to come to practice medicine in UK, this is your best chance. I mean the last one or two years and I think the next two, three years is going to be lots of chances to work in UK. UK needs lots of foreign doctors. Of course, you're going to sacrifice leaving your family, leaving your country. I mean there's lots of good chance here to come learn, upgrade yourselves. The country itself, all in all, is welcoming foreign medical doctors because they need them. Of course, sometimes there's some disadvantage. All in all, it's a really good chance for everyone to come. If you came to get a foreign experience, I think UK is the best choice for the medics now. I mean the medics graduating from the medical school a few years ago. They know that four or five years ago, it was not like that. Germany was the best choice for foreigners to come to go to, to get more experience but Germany have, in fact, some more restrictions for against, not against but foreign medical to join them. But now, the best choice is the UK. For sure, before you even start applying, you have to get your IELTS.
Christina: Yeah, yeah. That's the main thing. Oh, right. Well thank you so much. Thank you for coming on the podcast and for all the advice.
Amr: You're more than welcome.
Christina: I definitely learned a few things from you as well.
Amr: Thank you.
Christina: Okay, thanks a lot.
Amr: You're welcome.
Christina: Bye bye.
Christina: So there you go. Thank you for listening, and we really, really hope that you found that phone call helpful and we will see you next time on Dazzle Ways to Your Success.