The medical industry is experiencing rapid growth with the use of technology. The internet boom has also made it easier to share ideas and information. With widespread awareness of what could be awaiting them as soon as they can handle patients, many take advantage of internships, volunteering, and service-learning.
Medical professionals take years of study to accumulate the knowledge of treating various ailments and conditions. Yet those who want to keep learning can find experiences from overseas settings that can enrich not only their occupation in healthcare but touch the lives of people from all walks of life.
International work, or working abroad, experience is an opportunity for career development and personal growth. Does it stop there, though? And are there any other reasons why medical professionals should try to learn more from outside of their own countries?
International experience through volunteer work or interning offers the opportunity to meet people from various cultures, beliefs, ideas, and religious backgrounds. Interaction with individuals from outside of your norms can broaden your perspective and push the boundaries of your development as a person and become a part of a much larger community.
The following are different ways how an international experience can influence your career, your interaction with people from different backgrounds, and how you can contribute to projects that can make an impact:
Moving to another country to gain more leverage in your profession means moving out of your comfort zone. Different places have varying levels of severity in various medical conditions. Maybe you have encountered them before, or these are something new to you. It is also a chance to work with other professionals in medicine. You pick up new skills and knowledge as your experience grows.
Moreover, professional experience is often a factor that hiring managers look at during a job application. If you're looking for a raise, your field experience also helps because it looks into your job expertise.
Your limitations are pushed, the tools made available to you give your work more weight, and your resume becomes more competitive. It’s also noteworthy to mention that you are likely to learn a foreign language that you can use in the future. If you are currently a student or a working professional looking to gain international work experience, there are services and organizations that will help find and facilitate these opportunities.
Anyone looking for career growth should not limit themselves only to the future workplace. International medical work offers hands-on practical experience in service-learning programs and professional or personal development.
There are optional programs where you will get the chance to learn soft skills for any place of work. These include relating to others, empathy, and effective communication with your patients and colleagues.
Having vast experience in your job also develops other essential skills such as leadership, critical thinking, flexibility, problem-solving, and adaptability, among others. International experience also lets you grow into independence and open-mindedness. You will develop your communication skills and confidence in a culture and environment different from what you’re accustomed to.
An overseas professional experience will also bring out your global mindset and adventurous side. When you’re in a new environment, it will pique your curiosity and make lasting relationships with a diverse group of people in your host country.
Medical internships and other similar programs offer you the chance to expand your knowledge by working with other expert doctors and nurses. You can be a nurse, a medical, or any other healthcare worker. You can learn from these professionals by shadowing them. They will be working in hospitals or healthcare centers where they see hundreds of patients daily.
You will eventually learn to act quickly during emergencies and execute tactics when dealing with certain patients. At best, learning with other professionals will inspire you to perform better, clear any doubts, and seek advice if you need it.
In the medical field, it’s vital to have various knowledge of diseases, and there are many out there that are not endemic in your location. When you enter volunteer or internship programs overseas, you can understand the diagnoses and treatment of exotic illnesses and diseases.
The increase in climate change contributes to the spread of various types of diseases and viruses. Viruses such as Zika and COVID-19 originated elsewhere and may likely remain because of the ongoing mutations. Dengue fever, Chikungunya, and other conditions also came from other countries, and your home country is also likely hosting them. Knowing the causes and treatments are arsenals that can be useful when you get home.
Third-world countries are mainly the destinations of medical internships. These locations have limited resources and healthcare professionals to help ailing patients. However, the medical staff is doing the best they can to make the most out of whatever resources they have available. Volunteer work in these areas allows working in harsh conditions.
Collaborating with local doctors and nurses also allows you to gain a better insight into what the country has experienced over the years. They will appreciate your contribution in wanting to learn, understand, and help those patients who need your skills.
When you have a successful international work experience, you become more willing to adapt to various cultures and customs. There has been a rise in cultural diversity and international markets in any industry and company. To many, addressing global issues has become a regular part of their development. It allows many professionals and students today the chance to work across many cultures.
Cultural awareness also makes one willing to learn from others. Note that beliefs and practices that are inappropriate to your own are acceptable to a whole different group. For example, inserting extremely fine needles into any body part is typical of other cultures. This act was deemed barbaric before. Today, Chinese acupuncture is even an accepted alternative medical practice.
Another cultural practice is India’s Ayurvedic medicine. It treats illnesses with herbal remedies and lifestyle practices. Turmeric, for example, is a spice native to India that releases curcumin. While western medicine does not recognize it as anything but a culinary ingredient, it is a well-known potent antibiotic that lowers the risks of cancers and possesses antioxidants.
You have the option to work in any department once you start interning at a hospital or a health center. They will vary from cardiology, orthopedics, physiotherapy, gynecology, and more. The experience of shadowing professionals will help you understand if the work is suitable for your career path or interest. It will also help you appreciate the skills you have so you can choose from any of the stable top healthcare careers. You can continue your studies and specialize in your area of interest after the internship is over.
You must also realize that while you get to be better at what you do, you will also find more meaning in your career choice. Passion is key to your success no matter what the chosen industry, and participating in international work will help you strengthen the passion you have for helping those in need of your service. At the same time, you’ll be able to apply that same passion in your personal life.
Your experiences abroad can also help answer some questions you may have by breaking them down into smaller parts. It is achievable by analyzing the different sections of your life experiences, including your thoughts, hopes, dreams, and personality. By piecing them together, you might get an insight into what your future can be like.
Traveling draws you away from the environment you are brought into and opens you to a world of possibilities that you never knew existed. You get more chances of achieving your life and career goals.
Learning a new language is easier when you’re in an immersing setting. Most areas have classes or courses where you can learn to speak the language of your host country. You need to communicate appropriately as you will be attending to a diverse group of patients. Knowing how to converse in the same language as your patients will help disperse any awkwardness. This way, your patients can tell you about their condition, and you can make observations that your patients will understand.
A benefit of learning multiple languages is that it helps keep your brain healthy because of frequent conversations. It is not only an attention-getter for employers but also an impressive skill set.
A new language is also not just for communicating with patients. You’ll be engaging friends and colleagues on a personal level. Making an effort to learn their language will earn more respect from the local healthcare professionals, and it will help enhance your experience. Getting to know the locals also makes it easier to stay in a foreign country. The ability to converse in a foreign language while performing your duties as a professional in the medical field makes you a force that any institution will likely hire.
Once you have gained enough experience coupled with hard work, dedication, and determination to better the medical field through your expertise, future employers will have more confidence in your skills and potential as an employee.
Knowing the medical industry by applying what you have learned in specific situations gives you leverage when applying for jobs that cater to your interest. You are more likely to be handpicked and get an offer that suits your specialization. Every step you take to better yourself as a healthcare professional increases your chance of getting the job you want.
Healthcare professionals often move to advanced countries for a better life and higher earning potential. European countries, the United Kingdom (UK), and Saudi Arabia offer benefits for those looking into working in the medical industry. Such countries face talent shortages; hence, they allow foreign recruitment.
Furthermore, developed countries offer higher benefits for healthcare professionals. In some regions, doctors may also get a proportional pension and higher monthly compensation. This allows for a better quality of life for you and your family. Developed countries will also provide additional incentives to qualified healthcare workers, depending on the area. These may include:
Professional experience abroad is invaluable to a medical professional hoping to grow and gain more knowledge. There are many opportunities and rewards for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in various situations that come with wanting to be a better healthcare provider. Not only does it entail personal and career development, but you can also make a difference in the lives of patients you want to help and gain the respect and friendship of your colleagues.