Season 2 Episode 6 - The One With Andrea, Doctor - Licence To Practise Podcast Season 2 - Columbia to UK - IELTS



Season 2 Episode 6 - The One With Andrea, Doctor - Licence To Practise Podcast Season 2 - Columbia to UK - IELTS


Christina:

Hello and welcome back to season two of Licensed to Practice from IELTS Medical. Today, I'm going to be talking to Dr. Andrea, a UK registered doctor, originally from Colombia. About her experience of moving to the UK and becoming registered. Don't forget to subscribe so that you never miss an episode and let's give her a call.

Christina:

Hi. How are you today?

Dr. Andrea:

Hi. Hello. It's nice to have this chat today. I'm very well. Thank you. How are you?

Christina:

Yeah. I'm very well, as well thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing your experience with us of becoming a UK registered doctor. If you could just start by telling us a little bit about you.

Dr. Andrea:

Yes, definitely. Well, I'm a doctor from Colombia. I trained back there and I graduated in 2011, but I just moved to the UK in 2016, and that's when I started all this process. I had some experience working as a doctor in Colombia, but really want to... Well, start my family and that was the reason that initially motivated me to move to the UK. Then, obviously I wanted to continue doing... Pursuing my career. And that's how I started all this journey in the UK.

Christina:

So, why did you pick the UK then?

Dr. Andrea:

Well, the situation was that in 2016 I got married and then my husband was already living in London, so we decided that the best place to start our family was here, but also because I thought it was going to be a good opportunity to boost my career as a doctor, since the NHS and the other private services in London are really good and really supportive for trainees and in general for doctors. So, that's how all started.

Christina:

Very good. So, you obviously... If you are now a UK registered doctor, you've been through the process, all your exams and everything. So, could you just tell us a little bit about that, about how you found the process and, did you start that when you were still living in Colombia or did you move to the UK first? How did it all go for you?

Dr. Andrea:

Yes. Well, in my case was I moved to the UK before starting the process. So, I had the opportunity to perhaps get adapt to this new culture, new people and everything. And, well the idea is to improve my English at the beginning because I was aware of the requirements, but it was not too sure at the beginning. So, that was the first thing I wanted to do and how all started. But I will stop by saying that the English part, for me, it was the most difficult part because it was a bit challenging in terms of just approving the test with the requirements for the GMC. So, that was sometimes a bit daunting, because even though I was going to courses, I was trying the IELTS many times. There was always a subtest that was not in the level I needed-

Christina:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Andrea:

...to be. So, I was wondering, "Oh my gosh. Is it going to?...

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

Is it going to help one day?"

Speaker 4:

Are you an overseas qualified doctor who would like to take a first step of registration with the GMC? Well, one way to do that is by achieving four grade BS on the occupational English test. OET is a language exam with an emphasis on real situations UK medical staff encounter on a daily basis. Here at IELTS Medical we have qualified native-English OET trained who are ready willing and able to provide you with the best learning experience. We've seen lots of EU and overseas qualified doctors through to a first time OET pass and we'd like to do the same for you. Enquire today about how we can assist you too.

Dr. Andrea:

And then, while I decided to try the OET, to be honest, I will not say it's easier. Just want to say that it requires a lot of motivation. I will just start saying that, when you begin then you get stuck perhaps in the English exam, do not lose your motivation because that's just one step and you will definitely get over that. So, in my case, I decided to try the OET, but it was basically because I was just tired of trying the IELTS and then i was getting very good overalls, but then in one of the subtests was not what I was expecting. And the OET was actually a really nice exam, because it was more related to medicine. So, let's say it was more enjoyable, and I will say that if I looked back I will definitely pick that one instead of the IELTS. Just because starting for that one was also a... I think less... How do you say that? It was less of a pain to study for the-

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

OET.

Christina:

Because it's work related. Is that...

Dr. Andrea:

I'm sorry.

Christina:

Do you think that's because it's sort of related to work as well, because it's occupational.

Dr. Andrea:

Definitely. And it was also really nice to discuss about medical scenarios, and the speaking part is all about the day to day in a doctor's life. Some scenarios are really what you're going to face definitely as a doctor. So, it was also to train you for these kind of situations. So, was really nice to study for the OET, and once you pass that, study for PLAB's and passing them is... It will become much easier. We have done many exams in the medical school, so I'm pretty sure everyone who has been able to finish the medical school is going to be able to approve the lab tests as well.

Christina:

Yeah. So, obviously you've just said then that you've done a lot of exams at medical school, which obviously I know you have a lot of years of training and, what did you think then? Having to do more exams. Did that bother you? Or did you cope with it quite well, because you said you used to do exams anyway.

Dr. Andrea:

I guess as doctor you're going to do exams all your life.

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

Because, the first ones are going to be the PLAB's and then you will find that you will need to do for your specialty another exam, and so on. So, it's a matter of, I think that doctor's life is something that you need to just accept and be resilient with. Yeah. Is the matter of needing to do exams for the rest of your life.

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

So, it's just like studying for the PLAB's is actually an opportunity. If I were to talk to other medical graduates, I'll say is an opportunity to revise your concept.

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

So, I saw it as a start and I think that helped me a lot to go through that, and to prepare for the tests as well. Just consider that it is another of the exams that you will get at Uni.

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

And it just wants to be an objective tool to say that "Okay you're fit to practice medicine safely in the UK".

Christina:

Yeah. Fair enough. That's a good way to look at it actually. Isn't it? So, obviously you said that you did the EITLS a few times, didn't work out, then moved on to the OET and it did work out.

Dr. Andrea:

Yeah.

Christina:

I know that you've said you prefer the OET because it is occupational, and you did find that one easier. Was that the only reason you think that one worked out better for you? Or did you do anything else? How did you sort of get your English language up to the level it needed to be?

Dr. Andrea:

Well, I was really lucky because I actually... After trying the IELTS many times and taking lessons like one-to-one lessons, going to academies, and so on. Then, I think being having trained for the IELTS also helped me in the OET.

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

The reading and the listening parts are pretty much the same, but let's say focused on your profession, but it was pretty much the same. So, your previous training for the IELTS is always going to be useful for these one as well. And what happened with the OET was I was really enjoying the exam, because in the speaking it was to talk about medical situations, to talk with patients, to show your empathy and your communication skills. So, it was something you really going to do, you really like to do in your day to day life.

Dr. Andrea:

So, I think we need to think of the exam as... is only a way of saying that you are... Let's say you're really fit to practice and to communicate with patients, right. Rather than a judgmental tool or something like that. So, for me the OET it was like that. And, actually I was lucky to take lessons with one doctor. She is an Anesthesiologist, an Anaesthetist. Now she is living in Australia, but she's also qualified English teacher and she helped me so much to deal with the exam.

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

So, I will recommend every doctor to contact other doctors who are really happy to teach medical English. It really helps.

Christina:

Yeah. That makes sense. So, obviously you are now, you've been through the process, you've got your exams, you're UK registered. And do you have any just general final words of advice for anybody that's thinking about doing the same thing.

Dr. Andrea:

I would say to just... I think this is a matter of discipline and patience. I think it's also to be organized. So, once you pass your English exam try to book as soon as possible at your PLABs. I would say do not delay that too much. Look for some guidance and know what is your exam about. This is so important. And I will say go for it. Yes. We are lucky that you can try the PLAB more than once. So, that will lift some weight and some pressure that we always put on ourselves. So, I will say try to book your tests, look for some guidance, any academy that is a let's say good academy, will be able to guide you. I will not say that will recommend one more than the other, because it's all about your effort as well. So, you just need to get guidance and then just go for them. And as soon as you get your PLABs approved, apply straight away for your registration, do not wait. Because sometimes during the registration process, they can be other requirements from the GMC and everything gets delayed. So...

Christina:

Yeah.

Dr. Andrea:

That will be my advice.

Christina:

Well, great. Thank you so much for sharing that advice and for sharing your story. Good luck with everything.

Dr. Andrea:

You're welcome.

Christina:

And thanks a lot.

Dr. Andrea:

No. Thank you for inviting me to do this.

Christina:

Of course. Have a nice day.

Dr. Andrea:

You too. Bye.

Christina:

Thank you so much for listening to my chat with Dr. Andrea. I really hope that you found it helpful and useful, and I hope you've taken a lot away from it to help you in your process of becoming a registered doctor or nurse here in the UK. Don't forget to subscribe so that you never miss an episode, and I will see you next time. And as always to your success.