Becoming a physician in the U.K. takes a lot of planning and time. Before transitioning your education or career in another country, you should consider all aspects. In our series of posts on becoming a physician in the U.K., we outlined educational requirements and provided an overview of the healthcare system.
To provide a more well-rounded glimpse of practicing medicine in the U.K., here is a collection of social norms and trends you can expect to see when you touch down in Great Britain.
Social Interactions Start with a Drink
If you want to get to know someone in the U.K., invite them out for tea or a beer. Both beverages are central to socializing in England. Going for drinks also has a more casual connotation. If you decide to invite someone out, be prepared to pay the bill. In the U.K., it is commonplace for the person making plans to pay for the outing.
If you find yourself meeting an acquaintance in the pub, you might consider catching a game of Football or Rugby while there. Both Football and Rugby are national pastimes, with locals playing and watching such sports.
Public Transportation Can Be Slow
While housing in the U.K. may be spread out, many jobs require individuals to commute to London. This means there’s tons of traffic. While public transportation is affordable and reliable, it can sometimes be quicker to navigate the city center on foot. If you get in the routine of walking places, you will want to be mindful of the weather in London. Often, it can be chilly and damp. Because of this, you may consider getting in the habit of bringing a jacket and umbrella with you when leaving home.
For additional information on public transportation in the U.K., click here.
The Dress Code is ‘Business Casual’
When you get to the U.K., you might notice that people look a little more put together than in other areas of the world. While grungy t-shirts, ripped jeans, and leggings are not outlawed, a more polished and modest style of dress is the norm. To align with others, you might consider a business casual wardrobe complete with sensible footwear.
Networking is Important
Being new to the U.K., you may find it challenging to get to know people, but you really should start networking as soon as possible, especially since it can lead to better job opportunities. According to a survey taken by Medscape during 2018, over 1/3 of physicians within the U.K. indicated they received their current position in healthcare through networking. The survey didn’t specify if the networking was purely professional or if it included personal, friendly relationships as well. To ensure you have the best chance at securing that next job, look for opportunities and business connections in both likely and unlikely places and don’t underestimate the power of a name-drop or referral.
Manners Should be Minded
In the U.K., it is essential to practice good manners both in public and in private. Individuals in the U.K. pride themselves on maintaining their indoor voices, often apologizing, waiting their turn, and respecting others’ schedules by being on time. Adhering to these social rules allows citizens in the U.K. to show mutual respect for one another. To avoid sticking out like a sore thumb and improve your chances of making friends, you may want to consider following such practices.
Are you a medical graduate or professional looking to get a preview of what practicing in the U.K. is like?
A clinical experience based in London could provide you the perfect opportunity to learn about the local healthcare system and way of life.