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Getting your first job

So you have passed PLAB, now what? You are applying for jobs, what jobs should you be applying for? This is a question I get asked a lot. There are usually three options people struggle to choose between. The guidance for this decision should come from your understanding of the reason you moved and your family circumstances. You will understand why shortly.

The first, RMO; Resident Medical Officer. This is usually with a private hospital and tends to be the highest paying of the three options I will discuss. This option gives you a bit of flexibility and stability. You work for a week resident in the hospital and then are off for another week. In the week you are off you can spend time studying for exams, making additional money from locum jobs or just enjoying the time off work. If you have a young family and moved to earn better, this option probably serves best. A caveat is considering the cost of childcare. It will be astronomical, compared to what you are used to paying.

The second option is having your visa sponsored by a locum company. The advantage of this is that locum rates are good. The flip side is it can mean quite extensive travelling. Again, if your purpose for relocating was to earn more money, this is a good opportunity. Most of the people I know who started out this way, ended up moving into more fixed term roles with the NHS.

The last option I will talk about is working with the NHS. This option is best for people looking who would like to get further training and want some stability. It pays the least but offers the opportunity to develop relationships in the profession and you will usually learn quickly how the system works.

An important thing to mention is your starting salary. You will usually continue from there. Start well. Hospitals in less populated and less popular areas tend to pay better so that is probably something to have in mind when starting out. These sorts of areas also tend to be a good transition point. You can learn quickly how things work.

The other thing you should know especially if you would like to go into a training programme is that a lot of specialties will give you a maximum time you should have spent in the specialty of your choice excluding your foundation years. This usually includes time in other countries. For example, with core surgical training, the maximum time in general surgery excluding foundation years is a maximum of 18 months before the start date of your training. So if your interest is general surgery, you are better off starting in a different surgical specialty.

It can be tempting to go with the first job that comes along after you have passed PLAB and made the decision to move. Bear these thoughts in mind and make the decision that is best for you in the long run.

I hope this helps. Please share your experiences, questions and comments


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8 thoughts on “Getting your first job”

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  2. Thanks for the great insight. How does it compare with staying back in Nigeria.
    How much salary are we talking about in naira and how available and secure are the jobs.

    1. To be honest moving has pros and cons. There is no one size fits all answer. Either choice has to be right for the individual especially taking family life into consideration. It’s difficult to compare the longer directly because the cost of living is also higher in the UK than in Nigeria

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