Benefits of Gaining Work Experience in Developing Countries

January 27, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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The opportunity to gain work experience in developing countries has long been considered valuable by doctors across different specialties and at different stages of their careers. With the patient population getting increasingly more diverse in the UK and unparalleled access to people and places around the world, it is more important than ever before that doctors in the UK get the opportunity to gain some international experience. Not only does this benefit patients as well as healthcare systems at home and abroad, it also helps with the doctor’s own personal and professional development. Working in a developing country helps broaden your horizons while also being a great way to contribute to the UK’s healthcare system.  

Shadowing staff in the obstetrics and gynaecology department at Nakornping Hospital How the NHS and its patients are benefitted

The population in the UK is made up of people from different nationalities that are completely diverse, ethnically and culturally. In such a scenario, the NHS benefits from staff that is more aware and experienced when dealing with cross-cultural issues. Today more than ever before, UK based doctors have to deal with health issues that have an impact at a global level and this includes pandemic diseases. Working in a developing country will help you gain experience with different kinds of patients, different kinds of illnesses and different techniques too.

Working with limited resources in developing countries teaches doctors to make the most of these limited resources, and these skills can be applied to patients under NHS when there are limited resources at their disposal. The experience is also useful as they may gain experience in tackling pandemics and other dangerous diseases.

How doctors benefit from the experience

Working in a developing country benefits experienced doctors as well as trainees or new grads with little or no practical experience.

For trainees, getting experience in developing countries provides an opportunity to develop and enhance clinical and leadership skills, understand different aspects of medicine, learn how to handle new equipment and perform new techniques and apply their UK education to plan and monitor new initiatives. It can also help them learn about interactions between primary and secondary care and management of organisations, skills that are transferable and directly beneficial to the NHS. Most importantly, it can also help new graduates make the right choice with regards to specializations.

As for experienced doctors, working in developing countries can be an invaluable aid to their continued personal and professional development as they imbibe new ideas, perspectives and techniques along the way. Doctors often choose to spend time in developing countries to share their skills and experiences with colleagues who work with limited equipment and medicines, bare minimum staff and other restricting factors.

How developing countries benefit

Many developing countries do not have easy access to top-of-the-line medical treatment. Doctors from the UK can make a huge difference in these places, especially since they are trained to operate using the latest techniques and they can make huge contributions to the healthcare systems in these places. Working in these countries is also a great way of showing that the UK is committed to supporting and helping these other countries. It is a great way to strengthen relationships with these countries.