Q&A with Dr Blaise, CT1 Emergency Medicine: joining the NHS during Covid 19

Q&A with Dr Blaise, CT1 Emergency Medicine: joining the NHS during Covid 19

Nov 4, 2020.

Hello Dr Blaise! Please can you introduce yourself?

Hi! I am Dr Blaise, relocating from Nigeria to join Pilgrim Hospital Boston as CT1 Emergency Medicine.

Can you start by sharing your motivations for wanting to be a doctor?

It’s been a very long time since someone has asked me this but if I think, it stems back to my childhood. My mum worked as a nurse and so, in the school holidays we would always go to her work and be around patients. I also had an uncle that was training to be a doctor.

In school, I studied physics and biology and really loved it; but knew I wanted to apply the knowledge in a more practical way. So, medicine was the chosen pathway for me!

Why did you choose to specialise in Emergency Medicine?

I always loved being in A&E, it’s just a place where I feel naturally very confident in. I enjoy the community aspect, the fast-nature – you just never know what type of health condition is going to walk through the doors and you have to think on your toes.

Why did you choose to relocate to the UK?

A few years ago I was offered a fantastic opportunity to move to the UK and obtain a Master’s in Public Health at Newcastle University. I knew that I always wanted to go back clinically practicing medicine but I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to get an insight into UK life and most importantly, UK hospitals and how they function and operate.

Once I reached the UK, I took up a part-time opportunity as a HCA in A&E and I enjoyed it fully! I knew that I had to study for my PLAB exams and get my GMC Registration.

What are the main differences between practicing medicine in the UK and in Nigeria?

There are a lot of differences. First and foremost, the hospitals in the UK are much better equipped and there is a better doctor to patient ratio here.

In comparison to Nigeria, although there are plenty more doctors, there’s also a larger population of over 200,000 million! This means the work of a doctor in Nigeria is very hard because you can be in charge and caring for as many as 80 patients a day – the stress was enormous and we didn’t have enough equipment, either.

I think the UK will be a better place to work because there is more of an emphasis on the wellbeing of staff, a better patient to doctor ratio, better administration and processes to ensure high-quality care is given at all times.

Another big benefit is the better training system. In Nigeria ALL doctors want to get into training, but there is not a great system to support this.  Whereas, in the NHS it’s encouraged to get into training, even if it is competitive.

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What are you most excited about living in the UK?

I enjoy a lot of things about living in the UK but I’m most pleased about how it’s very affordable and so, you can earn a good amount to go travelling around the UK itself and other European countries, too.

One negative, is the food haha! I have been in self-isolation for two-weeks and I have found it very difficult to get Nigerian food in the small town I am self-isolating in… Once I can go out shopping it will be better as I will have access to my own food to cook.

What was your experience of obtaining your NHS job offer?

I had a bit of an unusual experience when it came to job hunting. In the first instance, I was using NHS jobs to secure my job and I got invited to a Cardiology interview, even though I didn’t have any Cardiology experience. I knew that opportunity wasn’t for me.

Then, I got invited to a CESR interview – even though I was years away from being ready for CESR. So, again I declined.

I was then on the right track as Amie from ID Medical had reached out to me (a friend had given her my details) and within a couple of weeks she had secured me the perfect Emergency Medicine interview. Although Pilgrim Hospital wasn’t my most ideal location, it was in fact the interview I had enjoyed the most and so, I was very excited to accept their offer.

How was your NHS interview experience?

The previous interviews I had done seemed like I was being pre-judged before I had the chance to finish my full interview. So, when it came to interviewing for Pilgrim Hospital, they were very impressed, sincerely interested in my career path and I was very keen to work with the people in this department.

They asked me one Emergency Medicine scenario and I was expansive in my answer. They then asked me about ethics but it was not a scenario.

I was due to start working on 27th July 2020, and it’s now the first-week of September and I am starting in a couple of weeks. So, the pandemic didn’t cause too many delays for me other than having to buy a more costly flight out to the UK.

Do you have any long-term career plans?

Yes! Obtain MRCEM and get into Emergency Medicine specialist training.

Do you have any advice for junior doctors wanting to follow the same pathway as yourself?

PLAB offers a great pathway to reaching the UK and working for the NHS. PLAB gave me the opportunity to finish my Master’s Dissertation, work and have a social life. PLAB may seem a bit difficult when you first look at it and you just know the financial implications before you embark on it – but it’s a great route to the UK.

Finally, what was your experience with ID Medical?

Amie was always there from the very start of the recruitment process. Whatever questions I had – Amie was there to answer and support me. Overall, I had a very good experience with ID Medical and I would recommend them to all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS.