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Effective Transitioning - Living In The UK.

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Original Post by Dr Seun Yusuf in Facebook Group.

Transitions are never easy. Be it changing a job, a house, moving to a new city, your marital status or sometimes the tiniest of things, it does come with its own challenges and peculiarities that you may not even begin to understand how best to deal with.

When you make the decision to move to the UK as a doctor, thereby committing to starting life all over again at a point in your life way past your formative years, it can pose a challenge quite different from those you have experienced before sometimes unexpected and so you may not be properly experienced or positioned to deal with it the right way. Also, it might become overwhelming when dealing with several changes at the same time. The different weather, different food, culture and the overly complex healthcare organizational structure. While some are better positioned to adapt, many are not so lucky to be supported through this phase. The psychological and social impact cannot be overemphasized or overlooked. It can cause lasting damage to your self-confidence, which may be the most valuable characteristic you need to work in the UK, self-confidence is everything and even the bravest of us all have struggled in this regard here. Losing your self-confidence may affect your performance and may be perceived as incompetency on your part. Embracing a positive adaptive measure may be useful to help with the strain of relocation. I am still in the process myself as it can take a while to have a full understanding and become fully integrated, however, I will share some practical measures that have worked for me:

  1. Ask away: Be prepared to ask anything about everything, do not bother about how foolish it may sound or how it may be perceived. Phrases that have worked. "For my own personal learning, I would like to ask........ "This may sound really stupid but can I ask....... "Can I confirm with you that......

  2. Be ready to unlearn and relearn: coming from Nigeria, where the disease burden can be quite different from here and the very first and last time you heard about some diseases was in the text. The UK is "blessed" with elderly patients with all manner of comorbidities, the list can be as long as your weekly shopping list. -Find out the common presentations in your speciality and read about them. -Familiarize yourself with local guidelines and feel free to make reference to them when in doubt. You can never run into problems by using the guidelines. They are all in order and will protect your GMC. -Book courses -online or face-to-face, always useful learning. -ALS certification as soon as possible.

  3. Exams: preparation for exams can be a very good avenue for learning and passing the exams can boost your morale. Your colleagues and consultants are also more confident in you when have passed your exams.

  4. Book your leave in advance: planning your leave can be a like a chore and often difficult if not done well in advance. You need this break as a breather intermittently to enable you to recuperate adequately and for a minute forget about the challenges you are facing.

  5. Speak to someone: rather than internalize your pains and compound your mental stress, talking to someone may be therapeutic and provide you with another angle that may be very helpful especially if the person has insight and understands from experience the challenges you are facing.

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