Sergej (Doctor)

"I enjoy working in an international team."

3 Tips from Sergej

1. Find out in plenty of time whether your vocational qualification is recognised

My biggest tip is to get the bureaucracy behind you first of all. Since lots of documents need to be translated and certified, that can take a while. For example, before I even started applying for out jobs I had my licence to practise as a doctor recognised in Germany – this is known as Approbation. This is obligatory for all doctors who qualified elsewhere than in Germany. The recognition process differs slightly depending on the German state. That’s why the best thing to do first of all is to contact the authorities of the region where you want to work. They will then send you a list of the required documents, and they also offer meetings for advice. If you obtain a licence to practise, it is valid for the whole of Germany – not just in the region where you applied for it. You also have to have your qualification as a specialist recognised. The medical associations (Ärztekammer) are usually responsible for this. The addresses are on the Web site of the German Medical Association.

2. Make use of the support offered by employment agencies

Agencies can be worth their weight in gold when you’re looking for a job. There are government and also private agencies that search for qualified professionals for clinics in Germany. My agency showed real dedication. I found out about it from a posting of job offers at my university. With an agency, lots of things are simpler. For example, it can help with the little things that are so time-consuming, such as translating documents. Later, in Germany, I was helped by my colleagues. Many of them have spent a period living abroad themselves, or moved to Germany from other countries. Consequently, they’re well aware of the challenges that this kind of move represents – and help wherever they can.

3. See patients as partners

I have a special tip for doctors: get into the German habit of talking with patients. During consultations here, patients are told in great detail about their condition, the chances of recovery and the risks. I'd never previously encountered openness to this extent. At the beginning, it meant I had to adapt. But now I really enjoy it, because I can see that the patients value this way of doing things and it helps with the treatment.

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