Why on earth would you want to become an OFW doctor in the Middle East? You need ten-plus years of studying and at least a year of interning to be a doctor. You also need several years of experience behind you to become an expert. So why would you want to pack it all up and become a doctor in the Middle East? I’ve got four words for you: because it’s worth it.
I won’t discuss the ins and outs of how to become a licensed physician. We’ve covered it in past articles for nurses, where only the internship and experience differ. You can also get information straight from the source for yourself here (KSA), here (HAAD Abu Dhabi), and here (Qatar).
Why Work in the Middle East
Working in one of the GCC countries may be the furthest thing from your mind, especially if you have passed the board in US, Canada, or Australia. Passing the board does not automatically mean that the lands of milk and honey will give you, well, milk and honey. It would still take a lot of luck and perseverance, as the linked stories will attest. Staying in the Philippines while you’re building up a reputation might sometimes mean still going to your parents to get an allowance. I personally know of a doctor who went to Australia to work as a nurse when her degree got her absolutely nowhere financially.
It’s a cliché, really, but the experience you’ll get working abroad would render your CV heads above the rest. You would likely encounter diseases not normally seen locally, get a better prognosis with better equipment, deal better with the different cultures you’ll spend time with, and generally emerge a better physician, if not a better person.
As for technology, you would be able to judge better for yourself if a 320 or 256-slice CT system is really better than the normal 64-slice one because you’d be having experience using the best equipment once abroad. It’s easier to use an equipment that you’ve had hands-on experience with than something you’ve only read about. The technology you would encounter is world-class, as most GCC country hospitals are Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited.
The doctors you would be working with will have come from all over the world. They would come from different cultures and they would have their own routines. They would have their own experiences and their own expertise. There will come a time in the future where you will need to ask for something that a former colleague from the GCC might know more about, and keeping in touch with them will be invaluable. Remember that sometimes, it’s who you know that matters.
Salary and Benefits
The salary that you will be getting is tax-free! Your salary may depend on your experience. It will also depend on whether you will be contracted as a GP, Consultant, or a Specialist. Aside from that, most hospitals provide fully-furnished accommodations and transportation, aside from annual leaves with free round trip airfare back home. Annual leaves can be anywhere from 30 days to 35 days, depending on your contract. Most employers also give out a bonus upon completion of your contract. You might even be able to bring your family there with you.
Imagine having your family with you enjoying an opulent lifestyle compared to what they have here. Even if your family gets left behind, imagine the future that you will be able to provide them with the better salary that you’ll be getting in a shorter span of time!
With all the advantages of working as a doctor in the Middle East, you might find yourself working there for a decade and not wanting to come back home. Try it out!