Dr Subodh Dave, Consultant at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust covers Working in the UK in his final blog.
The work culture in the UK may be quite different to the country of origin for you. Punctuality, honesty and courteousness are important. Make sure you have a proper induction before work, avail of shadowing opportunities and if in doubt ask for help. Make sure you find out whom to approach for help. In the UK, approaching for help is not considered a sign of weakness but instead is considered good and safe practice both in the interests of patient care as well as for the safety and comfort of yourself and your colleagues. The system is not hierarchical and you will find people addressing each other by their first names irrespective of rank but do check with colleagues and patients how they would like to be called. Dress smartly and follow the Trust’s dress code to ensure that you maintain a professional appearance. Be sure to study the good practice guidance issued by your regulator (General Medical Council, Royal Nursing Council etc.) and if in doubt, clarify with your supervisor. Ask for a mentor to be assigned to you – this can be really helpful especially in the early phase to acculturate to working life in the UK. Find a peer/buddy to support you – many employers will help you with this but if they don’t ask for one if you haven’t found a colleague to help/support you in that way. Communication skills are emphasised a lot in British healthcare and all the care we provide is very much patient-centred. So being respectful and empathic with patients is vital. Involving them in every decision, showing them your compassion and humanity, treating them with dignity is not just “good practice” but is expected as the norm and violations can be treated as professional misdemeanour. So, do try and get feedback about your communication early on from your colleagues and also from the patients you care for – your supervisor should help you with this.
Maintaining health and wellbeing
Migration is stressful and in the first few months even if everything is sailing smoothly, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed or simply homesick. Draw up a list of supports that you can call upon, including friends and family both in your home country and in the UK. There are a range of apps – many of them free- available on the NHS Apps Library https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/ – use them. Whether to carry out meditation, to help you sleep or even to combat anxiety and depression, there is an app that can help. Do register with your GP and book an appointment if your health concerns require it. Get a list of support numbers that you can access if you are feeling low. NHS direct on 111 can direct you towards the right treatment pathway and is available 24/7. Counselling support is available free of cost through Samaritans on 116123 again 24/7. Your employer should have local arrangements to support employees and you should be able to access these through your line manager/supervisor. Most places in the country also have a crisis line that may operate round the clock – make sure you get and store that number. You will also have access to counselling/psychotherapy through your local Integrated Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service. Google them – and you should be able to self-refer either online or on the phone. Finally, in an emergency, you can present to the local Accident and Emergency Department or call 999 which is the national emergency line number.
If you plan ahead and make adequate preparations and are willing to adapt and engage with the diverse multicultural society in the UK, you will find the UK to be a welcoming place socially and a stimulating place to work in professionally. Good luck!