Dr. Adam Graham spent a year overseas in Oz working as an ICU Registrar in Australia (Sydney) and returned a year ago to the UK where he is due to start training in Cardiology.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK OVERSEAS AND AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR CAREER DID YOU GO?
I decided to go after CT2 year of core medical training. It seemed like the only natural break remaining in my training and therefore an ideal time to get away. If I had my time again I would go after FY2 though, I think the further you go in your training the more serious it becomes and the earlier the better for an experience like Australia.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE AUSTRALIA AS A DESTINATION?
It is the easiest to organize I think, which was the initial draw. Then looking back it has many advantages over other destinations. The language being the same (ish), the money is excellent, the jobs are similar to their UK corollaries and the weather. The latter being my favourite part.
HOW DID YOUR EXPERIENCE AS AN ICU REGISTRAR IN AUSTRALIA COMPARE TO THE UK?
It was very different to a comparable role in the UK. Mainly because the work was based in a private ICU, with no emergency department. So the acuity of cases was low and the work was not very hectic. From an educational point of view a year spent doing ICU in the UK would give more clinical experience. On the other hand if you used your time effectively you could do a lot of reading around your subject area whilst at work.
ARE THERE ANY MEMORABLE CASES YOU CAN THINK OF WHICH REPRESENTS A STRIKING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PATHOLOGY SEEN IN THE UK COMPARED TO AUSTRALIA?
Not so much a memorable case, but a memorable chat with a leading Australian businessman. We sat for a few hours discussing working cultures. He had ran a very successful multinational company and it seemed that his main message was to give employees responsibility and autonomy. In doing so, he believed, you encourage innovation and evolution of your organization. Something the NHS seems to care little for!
DID YOU USE YOUR EXPERIENCE GAINED IN OZ DURING YOUR INTERVIEW FOR CARDIOLOGY? HOW WAS THIS RECEIVED BY THE INTERVIEWERS?
My being in Australia impacted negatively on my interview and the interviewers were obviously unimpressed (especially by my tan). However, I think most other specialties would see a year away as positive, at any stage. It is encouraged in Anaesthetics for instance. The experience taught me about the importance of work life balance, which is difficult to slip into an interview, but I believe I am a better doctor for it. I am certainly less stressed.
However, I think the selling points of Australia are seeing a different healthcare system, furthering your clinical knowledge in an English speaking environment with patients similar to what you see at home.
For more on working in Australia, check out our Overseas section.