Dr Amat, a Spanish psychiatrist recruited by Paragona to Gothenburg in 2014

21/05/2020

amat

AMAT CALSINA FERRER, a Spanish psychiatrist recruited to Sahlgrenska University Hospital (SU) in Gothenburg in 2014

What has taking your career to Sweden and SU meant for you?

For me it has been a step forward in my career as I have been given opportunities to explore a new culture and way of working. SU has offered me the opportunity to develop together with competent and pleasant colleagues.

At SU, do you have the opportunity to subspecialize and obtain specialist competence or pursue research in parallel with your clinical work?

I feel that there are good opportunities to develop at SU through sub-specialization or research. For me it’s important to be able to combine my clinical work in an inpatient ward in a research position, and the plan is that I am soon going to start with research one day per week together with other colleagues. Managers and the management in general provide strong support and have a clear interest in ensuring there are good conditions for research.

Have you had a difficulty adapting to a new management and organizational culture?

It has been easy to adapt to the management culture since we work in a similar way in Spain. What I have come across that is different is the equality between the different professions.

Did you receive enough support during your introduction period?

When you arrive in a new country you need all the support you can get, and I feel that I did. You feel like your brain is in overdrive at first, as there is so much to learn all at once (a new language, a new computer system, new colleagues, a new home…). I think it’s important, despite all the support, to remind yourself that you can’t learn everything right away, and to try to give yourself time.

Do you feel your Swedish language skills are sufficient when meeting patients?

Learning Swedish has gone relatively well – it was a lot quicker than what I thought before I moved here. At the beginning I took part in a programme that consisted of a few months’ introduction (the PLUS programme*), which helped me to improve and to feel comfortable with the language and the work in Swedish healthcare. Of course I made some hilarious misinterpretations in the beginning, but you have to be generous with that. It’s always been important to me not to be afraid to ask colleagues if I don’t understand a sentence or a word, and to let them correct me. After just over 3 years I am still learning new words all the time.

What would be your advice to other doctors thinking about taking their careers to Sweden? 

The most important thing for me is that you have decided to see a different way of working, and to learn new or different working methods. This is a process that takes time, and it’s important to use the time to be able to get used to the new system and society, while at the same time working hard on the language. Personally I feel that there are so many advantages to it that I’m happy to recommend the adventure.

For more information on our current job offers register at http://www.paragona.com or send us an email info@paragona.com

Interview with Dr Giuseppe Guerriero, a psychiatrist recruited by Paragona to the university hospital in Gothenburg in 2014

05/05/2020

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What has taking your career to Sweden and Sahlgrenska University (SU) meant for you?

It has been very rewarding and has given me the opportunity I always wanted: to work in a highly specialized and stimulating environment where I develop professionally and continuously advance my medical career.

At SU, do you have the opportunity to sub-specialize and obtain specialist competence or pursue research in parallel with your clinical work?

Yes, and it was precisely that which got me to move to Sweden – and all my expectations have been met! At SU I have been able to increase my knowledge and competence continuously, and in line with my needs and wishes, thanks to the possibility of exploring different areas within my specialty and participating on national/international courses and in conferences. At the moment for example, I am training part time alongside my , ordinary clinical work with the aim of starting a  completely new unit at the clinic – very exciting!

Some of my working hours are also devoted to  research. My goal is to obtain a PhD within a few years.

Have you had a difficulty adapting to a new management and organizational culture?

I don’t deny that the cultural differences between my native country, Italy, and Sweden are striking, which is reflected in a different but well-functioning organization. If that on the one hand can make you a little confused to begin with, it can on the other hand facilitate adapting to the new work environment a lot. In Sweden the concept of hierarchy is not so salient, decisions are most frequently made collectively. This allows you to participate all the time, and to have the chance to influence as well as understand what is going on around you.

Did you receive enough support during your introduction period?

I had plenty of time during my introduction period to get to know the clinic from the ground up. I had the support of a supervisor I could turn to for answers to all the questions that inevitably came up during this phase. I also had regular meetings with my manager, who is always available to offer me support in my concerns, help out with any problems and also provide important feedback about my progress. I was given enough introduction time to get into the work gradually, without stress, and then to be able to work independently.

Do you feel your Swedish language skills are sufficient when meeting patients?

I have never had any particular problems communicating with patients. Swedes are used to interacting with foreign doctors and usually have no problems with that. They understand our Swedish beginners’ mistakes and make an effort to have a working and effective communication anyway!

What would be your advice to other doctors thinking about taking their careers to Sweden?

If you are thinking of doing that, it is almost certainly because something may be missing in your professional life. I feel that Sweden, and in particular SU, offer everything you could ask for as a doctor: a pleasant and stimulating work environment, great opportunities for professional development, as well as a good wage development. And in addition to that, Sweden is a very beautiful country with wonderful nature and a society centred around the individual. It is easy to be in charge of your life and plan a future here; I have never regretted moving here.

Register at http://www.paragona.com to find out more about our current job offers for psychiatrists!

Testimonials

24/04/2020

Katarzyna Broad

Polish GP working in an NHS practice in Lincoln

My recruitment process began with a simple email and language assessment which lasted for about an hour. A few weeks later, I was invited to take part in the next recruitment step in Lincolnshire, where I had a chance to see the area. Subsequently, I was offered a training at Paragona Campus in Warsaw, which usually means 12 long weeks of hard studying. My first year in the UK was very intense. It involved a lot of training and lectures. In the second year, the focus was more on practice than theory, because we were expected to pass the exam and carry on with the job by being more and more independent. Now, I am expected to be able to work on my own, but I work with a fantastic team of people. There is always a lot of support from others and they would not make me feel like I am alone. What is more, my patients are the best patients I have ever had. They are the most kind and lovely people you can imagine. It is a pleasure to help them.

Dargiris Beresnevicius

GP from Lithuania working in an NHS practice in Louth

The greatest advantages of Paragana are that you do not have to worry about seeking a job all by yourself and that the company supports you financially during the training. Naturally, the training is time-consuming and demanding. I spent 3 months learning the language and medical jargon. Nonetheless, it was quite good because if you wish to do it yourself, it is very difficult and tricky. The training takes place at Paragona campus in Warsaw. Teachers are full of passion and, extremely helpful, and focus on things we actually use in our everyday life and work. The work in the UK is not only about money; it is also about opportunities. If you want to develop your skills in some field, you can do it. An NHS practice has everything – from babies to the elderly, from mental health to dermatology, from gynaecology to urology, and more. Family? Of course, the first couple of weeks were challenging with language and things like that, but now my children are very happy at their schools and speak English at home.

Dr. Kieran Sharrock

Medical Director, Lincolnshire LMC Limited

The European GPs that have been recruited by Paragona are excellent. They have all passed a rigorous assessment process and completed a campus-based preparatory training program in Warsaw to prepare them for life and clinical work as a GP in the UK. The GPs have integrated well into practices and become invaluable members of practice teams. Their clinical competence and communication skills are appreciated by patients and colleagues, and they are now truly a part of our communities. Inevitably it takes time to adapt to the life and institutions of a new country, and particularly to a complex healthcare system like the NHS. The GPs have different clinical experience and that determines the time it takes for them to adapt to the practice way of working. However, with the extensive support program that Paragona and the practices provide, the GPs adapt really well. They help us treat patients and reduce painfully long waiting lists.  They have also provided insights into how family medicine is practiced outside the UK.  Their enthusiasm has reinvigorated struggling teams.

Find more at http://www.paragona.com

 

Polish firm takes lead in filling UK’s GP shortfall

04/02/2020

Where is the future of the UK’s general practitioners (GPs) being made? You might be surprised to find out that a part of the answer lies just south of the Polish capital, Warsaw, in the somewhat sleepy suburb of Piaseczno.

A 20-minute jaunt from Warsaw, Piaseczno has experienced rapid growth recently. In one of the new condos that have sprung up in the town – the result of a property boom that has lasted since the early 2010s – there’s a spacious, yet cosy, office.

It’s lunch break at the Paragona Campus, where doctors from several European countries and a multitude of cultural backgrounds are training to become GPs in the UK. Paragona is the Swedish-Polish specialist recruitment company that is on a contract with the National Health Service (NHS) to reduce the shortage of GPs that many UK regions experience.

The company’s task is to find and train doctors in line with the NHS standards of patient care. Upon completing an intensive 12-week course at the campus in Piaseczno, doctors move to the UK to work under supervision and eventually gain official recognition as GPs employed by the NHS.

Trainees pour out of the rooms and fill the central space of the office that features a two table tennis tables, some couches around a coffee table, and a small kitchen space with a coffee machine that immediately attracts a small queue.

It’s people of unique backgrounds here. Lana was born in Jordan, studied medicine in Ukraine, and has now lived in Greece for the past 30 years. Her daughter lives in the UK, where she is studying to become a doctor, like her mother.

“I thought: why not try something new? I think the NHS offers good conditions for GPs. And my daughter is already there in the UK so that helped me make up my mind about moving,” says Lana.

Lana tried to become a GP in the UK before but she says it was impossible to reconcile her Greek experience with studying for the UK’s GP induction scheme.

“What Paragona has offered me is that I can focus on improving my English and learn about working in the UK. The NHS people are here to help us, too,” Lana says.

Numan joins the conversation. He’s originally from Palestine but for the past 21 years has been living in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, where he also got his Spanish GP degree. He has also worked as an emergency doctor.

“I’ve been through other courses before but this is the best. Everything is taken care of. We study not just English but also what the rules are if you work as a GP in the UK, how to refer patients to secondary care and so on,” says Numan.

The crucial part of the course in Piaseczno is learning how to interact with patients. To that end, the future GPs will go through a series of so-called simulations in which British actors – who have just flown in from the UK with their coordinator, Michele Gutteridge, act out various types of people GPs are going to meet.

“So we’ve got somebody who’s very chatty, who’s got some ideas about what’s going on. Somebody else who’s very forthright and direct and very organised. And then somebody else who’s going to be quite emotional and upset,” says Gutteridge, whose actual job title is Simulation Workshop Developer.

Acting out patients’ personalities comes on top of background work to make them as close to real patients as possible.

“Patients’ stories are prepared specifically for Paragona. We were funded to create the scenarios and we had a clinical team to help us. They made sure that all the clinical details are correct and the stories are all clinically viable,” says Gutteridge.

Lana and Numan are finishing their course at Paragona Campus in February, after which they fly back home to get ready for the next step – the actual move to the UK.

Once in the UK, they will have an opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning in Piaseczno.

But the campus never goes quiet. As groups leave, new ones arrive all the time. “We’re having groups coming to us until the end of June,” says Monika Chruściel, Paragona’s Deputy Director of Studies. And she is only talking about scheduled dates while work is underway to complete a detailed schedule for the second half of the year. It will be equally as busy, with doctors arriving not just to receive training to work in the UK, but also in Sweden, Norway, as well as France.

By Wojciech Kość

More info: info@paragona.com or http://www.paragona.com

 

Making a normally bumpy road a comfortable ride

30/01/2020

In 2017, the Swedish-Polish specialists in recruitment for medical professions, Paragona, successfully completed a pilot cooperation programme with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) that was aimed at reducing GP shortages in the eastern county of Lincolnshire. The result: 25 new GPs have been working in the area since.

That was just the beginning, says Paragona’s CEO Kinga Łozinska. The company has now set its sights on recruiting 100 more GPs in the East Midlands throughout 2019 and 2020. The plan is to offer doctors from continental Europe a great way of setting off on a new career in the UK.

Paragona’s modus operandi is comprehensive, yet simple. To present its offer to doctors, the company holds meetings, known as Medical Career Days, in locations across Europe, such as the Croatian resort of Split, the Bulgarian capital Sofia, or in Barcelona, to name but a few that took place in 2019. Individual Skype meetings and webinars are organized as well.

During those local doctors get to know details of what it entails to sign up to Paragona’s International GP Recruitment (IGPR) scheme. Once committing to take part in the IGPR, they are off to Poland, for an intensive 12-week training programme that elevates their English to B2 (upper intermediate) level plus features some training in NHS standards of patient treatment.

“During our Medical Career Days our guests get a chance to talk, in their native language, with a doctor who already went to the UK with Paragona. We want people to know exactly how we work and how the NHS works. It is interesting that this part is what mostly makes doctors decide to enter the programme,” says Alina Oncica, one of Paragona’s recruitment specialists, responsible for the Romanian and Bulgarian regions.

One such doctor is Dalibor Stoszek, patients’ Doctor of the Year in the Czech Republic in 2011, who has been working under supervision in Lincolnshire since September.

While performing GP duties under supervision, Stoszek keeps studying English so he can take a C1 (advanced) exam and Induction and Refresher (I&R) exam. Being recruited through Paragona, which has guided him through the process of becoming a fully recognized GP, makes a normally bumpy road a comfortable ride.

“The biggest strength of our programme is its comprehensiveness, transparency of rules and the focus on doctor’s needs,” says Łozińska.

“The greatest advantages of Paragona are that you do not have to worry about seeking a job all by yourself and that the company supports you financially during the training,” says Dargiris Beresnevicius, a GP from Lithuania now working in an NHS practice in Louth, Lincolnshire. “Naturally, the training is time-consuming and demanding. But if you wish to do it yourself, it is very difficult and tricky,” he adds.

“We know of many people who lost months, if not years, trying to get in contact with practices in the UK, to pass the IELTS [English exam] or to pass the I&R. With us all of that becomes simply doable, if not easy,” says Łozińska.

But working with Paragona under their NHS contract is not just about money, which, predictably, is better than many European countries can offer their doctors.

“For some families the incentive is to provide their children with a free world-class education. In their home countries the possibility for children to attend British schools means exorbitant tuition fees and high competition during the application process,” says Shirin Hamydova, a recruitment specialist at Paragona. “Many doctors also realise that combining work and education activities without sacrificing their private time is simply the reality of working in the NHS. Doctors can also use a certain amount of working days for professional development. All that means the NHS offers an attractive mix of possibilities both for family doctors and their relatives,” she adds.

Some of them have already made up their minds about moving to the UK for good. Stoszek’s wife is a GP as well and they have a three-year old daughter.

“I’d like them to join me here in the UK after I become an independent GP,” he says.

With Brexit making headlines globally since 2016, it is surprisingly and reassuringly absent from the conversations between Paragona and future GPs. “There are questions about it in the early stage, for example during Medical Career Days, but once doctors join the recruitment programme, they stop worrying about Brexit,” says Maria Roman, one of Paragona’s recruitment specialists.

“We understand that bringing your career to another country is a big step in life and we want to assist medical professionals and their families in it as much as possible. Thanks to our official cooperation with the NHS we are able to make this process easier and more efficient than anyone thought was possible,” says Łozińska.

By Wojciech Kość

More information at info@paragona.com; http://www.paragona.com

Paragona has opened a new campus to train EU doctors to work abroad

15/06/2019

 

The Paragona Company, a leader in the international recruitment of doctors, has opened a modern campus that comprehensively prepares specialists from the European Union to start working at foreign medical practices. The opening of the new campus in Piaseczno, near Warsaw, is a result of the newest extended Paragona’s offer and its desire to provide doctors with the best possible conditions for professional training to enable them to start working abroad.

A comprehensive response to doctors’ needs

Staff shortages in the medical sector in Scandinavia, France, and the UK mean clinics and hospitals are more than willing to recruit foreign doctors. However, many specialists considering pursuing their careers abroad are still afraid of working in a foreign language and are concerned about the differences between medical procedures. The training courses conducted at the Paragona campus, by qualified personnel, are designed to help overcome these barriers.

Our campus is a unique place where training courses are held for doctors from many EU countries, such as Spain, Lithuania, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland. They involve intensive improvement of the foreign language, including professional medical terms, and contain elements of vocational preparation, e.g., the teaching of procedures related to managing the treatment of patients abroad. Despite the formal recognition of medical diplomas and most specializations by all European countries, EU member states pose formal obstacles such as requiring a very high level of competence in the language of the targeted country. For many doctors these barriers are insurmountable.

 Yet our experience shows that, thanks to a combination of On-line learning and classroom courses, they are able to make rapid progress, and that studying at a boarding school – actually an ‘ancient’ form of teaching – brings the best results”, says Kinga Łozińska, CEO of Paragona.

For this reason, before going abroad, the doctors recruited by Paragona attend intensive classroom training courses, during which, using modern and proven methods, they learn the language and the way in which the health service of the country to which they are going operates. So far, Paragona has trained more than 1,000 specialist doctors from the EU who have successfully started work at medical practices located in France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Paragona’s new campus, where doctors from all over Europe will spend from a few weeks to even a few months, consists of training rooms, a residential area, and a recreational one. The aim of the campus is to help the company provide more comfortable learning conditions to doctors as well as to train larger groups because the demand for doctors from various professions in specific markets is growing.

While staying at our campus, doctors not only learn the language but, above all, they also have the opportunity to talk to future employers and meet other doctors who have decided to further their careers at foreign practices. Thanks to such an approach, when the time comes to moving and start work, the specialists participating in our projects are equipped with all the tools to enable smooth and trouble-free entry into the foreign medical system”, adds Kinga Łozińska.

Recruitment into the National Health Service

Most similar centres focus only on the preparation of doctors willing to work in Scandinavia. Paragona is the only company that also offers classroom training for specialists who have decided to advance their careers in the UK. This is connected with the company’s current implementation of a multi-year project, the largest-to-date – for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). As part of the project, several thousand general practitioners are to be recruited to work at medical institutions there. At the official opening of the campus on May 22nd, doctors participating in Paragona’s recruitment programme had the opportunity to talk to future employers from the NHS. Details relating to moving to the UK and plans for their upcoming adaptation period were also covered.

 “Work at National Health Service centres is not only an opportunity to improve one’s professional skills. It also means personal growth. The programme that we are executing in cooperation with the NHS is very ‘caring’. Its greatest advantage is the fact that the general practitioners participating in our recruitment process do not have to pass the IELTS language exam or the Occupational English Test (OET). In addition, we offer assistance in all formalities related to relocation and, upon arrival in the UK, doctors receive additional supplementary and introductory training. Of no less importance is the fact that we have received official assurance from the NHS that any Brexit-related arrangements made during the execution of the project will not affect it”, says Kinga Łozińska.

The project being executed by Paragona for the NHS is divided into several stages. The pilot phase ended in the recruitment of 25 general practitioners for practices located in Lincolnshire. Currently, Paragona is focusing on finding another 100 doctors for clinics in the Central Midlands region.

Go to http://www.paragona.com

 

Paragona’s success stories from the doctors’ perspective

21/03/2019

General Practice is by far the largest branch of British medicine. Now, it provides exciting opportunities for European Family Medicine Specialists. If you are a GP considering work in the NHS, we will support you with:
* your English language *paperwork *relocation *and starting to practise in an area of England of your choice.
With Paragona you don’t have to worry about the process. We make it possible!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88stdi10i5Q&t=77s

Go to http://www.paragona.com

Mission accomplished

25/10/2018

A new social room on the campus is finally ready! As our doctors live here for quite some time, anything from a few weeks up to 6 months, and focus only on studying a new language. We would like them to not forget about building new friendships. We hope the new social room will help them to relax after classes and build many social relationships that will last much longer than the lenght of the language course! 🙂

Go to http://www.paragona.com

A new group joined the campus

25/10/2018

On Monday we greeted another group of doctors who started a Swedish language course on the Paragona campus. Over the Summer they visited Sweden & signed the contracts with their new employers. Currently, there are over 30 doctors learning Swedish, Norwegian and Danish on our stationary and the unique online courses. We wish them all, continuous enthusiasm and dedication. Register today www.paragona.com to find out about your opportunities of working abroad.

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Go to http://www.paragona.com

Paragona in Polish media

26/07/2018
Our current offers: http://www.paragona.com