I recently realised that there are a lot of things people did not know they could do while on a UK visitor visa. Also, after passing the PLAB 2, a lot of people find it really difficult to land their first job with the NHS.
In this post, I have outlined a number of things you can do while in the UK on a visitor visa and other steps you can take to ease your integration into the country and help you land your first NHS job.
So, I am calling it the chill and hustle list for post-PLAB 2 IMGs
I will be in the comment section, ready to answer any questions you may have from reading this long-ass article. I will especially appreciate comments from people who have gone past this stage and have one or two things to add or correct in the post.
Visit the Buckingham Palace
You should definitely visit this place to refresh your British history or even learn some history, if like me, you did not take British history classes. Or, just go for the pictures and feel like a tourist with the other numerous tourists that will be at the palace at the time of your visit.
Visit the British Museum on Russell Street
The place is massive. It feels surreal. There are a lot of contested artefacts from all over the world. My favourite piece was a contemporary art at the entrance that details the pharmacological history of a man and woman from cradle to the grave. It is actually titled that – ‘Cradle to the Grave’
Visit the London O2 Arena
This place is a nice touristy place to go to. It has a lot of shops to buy clothes, shoes and accessories if you have money. It also has a lot of fast food places. Try out the beef burger at Five Guys, they are really good at the stuff.
Apply for a certificate of good standing with the MDCN/medical regulatory body
It is a good thing to get this sorted while waiting for your result. I think it is an action that helps with calling things into existence before they materialise. It cost sixty-six thousand naira to process, and it is only valid for 3 months.
If all your payments with MDCN are up to date including; NMA levy, licence payment and indemnity; it should not take more than 5 working days to get your certificate after payment. If there is a delay, do well to contact a staff of the MDCN to help expedite the process. This is almost always necessary, so a reasonable thing to do is to get in touch with one of the officials as soon as you make payment.
Apply for a UK bank account
You may have heard of Kuda Bank in Nigeria, a virtual bank account that gives you account number and banking privileges in Nigeria without physically visiting a bank branch. Well, they have a number of these in the UK. You can open them while visiting the UK and even get a debit card to ease your financial transactions while in the country.
I personally recommend Revolut as they were very responsive and gave me a card within 4 days of opening. I tried Monzo, but they told me ‘No’. I still do not know why.
Apply for a clinical attachment
A lot of people do not know that they can do a clinical attachment on a visit visa. I am hear to tell you that, yes, you can. This gives you a window to experience the NHS and you can add it to your CV when you eventually apply for jobs with your GMC registration. A number of people even get retained by the hospitals after the attachment period. It usually lasts between 4-6 weeks.
Register with a GP
If you will definitely be staying in the UK for a while and you have accommodation sorted, it only makes sense to register with a GP. However, you will not be able to access care for free like a person who has access to public funds and is paying for national insurance. You will pay out of pocket for treatment, except it is an emergency.
However, you can get a COVID test and vaccine for free with the NHS as a visitor. The main advantage I see with registering with the GP is the NHS number you get which can really come in handy.
This article on the NHS site clearly states that you should register with a GP if you are planning to stay long term in the UK
Create a CV for your NHS applications
Speak to your friends who are in the NHS to look at your NHS CV (should be created on Trac jobs or NHS jobs) or even pay a CV expert to look at it. This will prove really invaluable because your CV is the first thing recruiters see and you want to sell yourself as good as you can.
Make sure your CV is tailored to the roles you eventually apply for.
Apply for appropriate jobs on the relevant sites
You can either apply for a job directly with the hospital through NHS Jobs, Trac Jobs or NHS Scotland Jobs or use a recruitment agency like NES Healthcare. You should get the British Medical Association to look through any contracts you eventually get to ensure that you are getting a good bargain and not being sold short. About 20% of contracts checked by the BMA for doctors last year fell short of the standard requirements.
You can apply for jobs by creating a CV profile on NHS jobs, which you must take out time to carefully fill. Take a look at this blog post by Dr Sid describing how to create one.
Take some courses to improve your employability
A number of free courses are available to improve your employability and it will be a good idea to take them while waiting for your results. These courses can be reported on your NHS CV and can improve your chances with a job.
Some important courses are;
- Train the healthcare trainer on Future Learn (you must take this course)
- Quality improvement in Healthcare course on FutureLearn
- The NHS Explained: How the Health System in England Really Works on FutureLearn
- Save a life BLS/ALS.ACLS courses by NHCPS – This will just give you some intense theoretical knowledge and will make your actual BLS courses easier. It says the course are paid for, but you can audit them for free. You do not really need the certificate.
Do an acceptable BLS/ILS course recognised by the European Resuscitation Council
This is not exactly compulsory, but it will make your applications stand out. Most hospitals will book you for the training when you are employed with them.
Understand Clinical Governance
It is an umbrella term for promoting safety and quality in healthcare. You should have a good understanding of this during your applications and should demonstrate this understanding during an interview.
The video extensively gives a good description of the concept and goes into some detail on audit, quality improvement and research.
<<<<<<<<When your result comes out>>>>>>>>
Immediately apply for a GMC registration
Intensify your application for jobs – quality over quantity
Make sure you are tailoring the application to the Person specification, and your chances of getting an interview will be really high. Continue with the courses and your current job, if you are in employment. Make sure your CV is free of errors and that it tells the exact story -from the person specification- that the recruitment officers are looking out for.
Example of a job and person specification for an FY2 job at Milton Keynes.
Find people writing the PLAB 2 exam…
…and simulate for them, drawing from your experience. I am sure they will really appreciate some free mocks from someone who has been through it.
Till next time.