As the main topic in the October issue of Medical newspapers (Croatian: liječničke novine) is “Neither the knowledge, work nor effort of doctors is valued in Croatia“, Zrinka Stanic, director of INCOR, participated in the interview (which you can find in English here) and provided information that will be of importance to any doctor looking for positions in hospitals and clinics across the EU. As part of this, we are transmitting the entire interview to you so that you have as much information as possible. We are also always available for contact and we will be happy to talk to you about the whole process.
- What services does the company you work in provide for doctors?
Zrinka Stanic: Incor d.o.o. is a specialized firm that deals with human resource management in healthcare. Through our partners, we do business with healthcare institutions in ten European countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland). The services we offer to healthcare professionals are information and consultation on positions in one of the countries we work with, legal monitoring in terms of interpretation of employment contracts, specialist training contracts and other legal issues, applying for desired competitions, organizing job interviews and visits to hospitals, assistance in obtaining a license, organization and assistance in learning a foreign language, assistance in finding a job for a spouse, finding accommodation, finding the desired schools/kindergartens for children and many other services that go with the process of finding a new job and relocation.
- What does the process look like from the moment someone contacts you that they want to continue working as a doctor abroad until the moment they leave and start working in a new environment? Do doctors have a paid language course in the country they are going to work? Do you only cover EU countries/UK/or beyond?
Zrinka Stanic: The process starts with the doctor’s application to our e-mail or contact phone. Namely, we approach each person individually and try to get to know the wishes and goals of the doctor/nurse who calls us so that we can help him/her decide where to go. The same means that it is not the same when someone calls us and does not know exactly which country would be best for him/her and his/her family or has an exact map of the country he/she wants to move. The difference is whether a person wants to go to an employment contract for an indefinite period or maybe to a shorter locum position, which means a lot for learning new skills, meeting new colleagues, but also for additional earnings. Likewise, the process itself differs if a person decides to move to a Scandinavian country or to another country in which we operate.
The process for Scandinavia:
In case of interest in any of the Scandinavian countries, the process begins with the receipt of a CV and cover letter where doctors have our full support in creating and adapting a CV for the job competitions in which they choose to participate. After collecting and preparing the necessary documentation for the competition, we apply for the competition, organize a Skype interview and visit the cities and hospitals that the candidate will be most interested in after the Skype interview. Visits to hospitals last 3-4 days and are organized for the candidate and his/her family, to get to know the potential future environment. It is important to emphasize that all these visits are informal and do not mean receiving or accepting a business offer. So, candidates can visit as many cities and hospitals as needed to find a job that suits them best. After finding a job and signing a contract with the hospital, the candidate starts a language course (Swedish, Danish or Norwegian) which takes place online and he learns from its own home. Candidates no longer have to work at their home institution because the hospital pays them a scholarship for the duration of the language course. The language course lasts approximately 6 months during which time we find accommodation (according to the wishes of the candidate and the family), arrange kindergartens/schools for children, initiate the process of obtaining a license, arrange employment opportunities for the spouse, organize the relocation of things for the candidate and family and solve all current issues. that period. After the relocation, we are still in contact with the candidate and his/her family and we help them in their assimilation in the new environment, and we inform our colleagues from the HR office of the hospital where the candidate works. Our contact with the candidate and colleagues at the hospital helps to make the candidate and family feel “at home” at the new address as soon as possible and most importantly be satisfied with the goals they told us at the beginning of the whole process.
The process for other countries:
The process for other countries in which we operate is slightly different from the Scandinavian model. Namely, the process itself begins again with the receipt of a CV and motivation letter and the expression of interest in a particular country/countries. We also try to help candidates make that decision given what they expect from the new work and environment, the spouse’s profession (where we look at the most likely options for hiring a spouse), children’s expectations, etc. step by step in the process of obtaining a license in that state. What the candidate must possess before obtaining a license, and what is required to obtain the license itself is a certificate of language proficiency. For example, for the UK it is IELTS or OET, for the German-speaking area the best is Goethe or ÖSD, we explain all this when a candidate decides for a particular country. After the license is obtained (some 3-4 months are usually required to obtain a license) we present job offers that would be interesting to the candidate given the described expectations. We organize an interview that is either by phone or via Skype, it is also possible to visit the hospital until you choose the job that best suits the candidate. Our support is further in the form of finding accommodation, employment opportunities for spouses, organization of kindergartens/schools for children, etc. So, the main difference is that in the Scandinavian process a person first finds a job, then learns the language and finally obtains a license. you need to learn the language, then get a license and only then find a job.
We currently only cover European countries although we have inquiries for America, Australia and the Middle East as well. Our work in Europe is primarily due to the fact that within the EU, Switzerland and Norway realized automatic license recognition and license can only be obtained by sending the necessary documents, while in America, Australia or the Middle East doctors would have to retake certain exams before they would be given a license to operate.
- Which positions/specializations are most often in demand in EU countries?
Zrinka Stanic: Scandinavian countries are mostly looking for specialist doctors, while other countries are equally looking for specialist doctors as well as doctors without specialization. All specialists are in demand and there is a different need in each country. Sometimes there are a large number of competitions for certain specialists in a certain country, while perhaps in another country at that time these specialists are not in demand. The most asked for specialists in the last two years are radiologists, pathologists, psychiatrists, family medicine specialists (GP), internists with subspecializations and emergency medicine specialists. Other specialists are also in demand only with a slightly smaller number of competitions compared to the above specializations.
- In your experience and opinion, what are the most common reasons for Croatian doctors to go abroad to work?
Zrinka Stanic: From many years of experience, I can say that the most common reasons for thinking about going abroad are primarily poor working conditions in Croatian health care institutions. For most, it is dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations in the department where they work, inability to advance, strict vertical hierarchy, inadequate salary, etc. For young doctors without specialization, the reason for leaving is mostly related to the possibility of specialization of the desired specialization without the need for contractual penalties. after specialization in another health facility.
- Are Croatian doctors appreciated abroad, if so, what is the reason for that?
Zrinka Stanic: I can rightly say that Croatian doctors are extremely appreciated and demanded abroad. In each process in which we participated, we also receive a report from the employer on the work of the candidate after 6 months and after one year. Employers are mostly very satisfied with the knowledge, skills, work and progress of Croatian doctors. Our education system generates truly excellent doctors who are gladly chosen by foreign employers.
- Does your company also offer the possibility of finding the desired specializations in foreign health care institutions, and do these doctors return to Croatia after completing the specialization or do they stay abroad?
Zrinka Stanic: We offer the invention of specialization in Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Austria. These four countries have the largest offer for specialist training of doctors, and doctors mostly opt for one of them. Most doctors plan to return to Croatia after obtaining a specialist degree. Such a return of young specialists, which will be much more mobile, unrelated to specialist contracts, could significantly improve working conditions in Croatian health care institutions since only working conditions will decide whether a certain specialist stays in a health care institution.
- What is the interest of Croatian doctors in going to work abroad? What is the average age of doctors leaving? In which countries are they most often employed?
Zrinka Stanic: The interest of Croatian doctors in going abroad has taken on a constant in the last two years. Since the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the EU in 2013, there have been oscillations in high demand for work abroad, then stagnation and then high demand again. Currently, a large number of doctors are interested in working abroad but here we have 3 categories to consider. We have doctors who want contracts for an indefinite period, doctors who are interested in locum positions that can last from 2 weeks to a year depending on how many people can get unpaid leave, and we have doctors interested in specialist training who are free to choose whether to stay abroad. or return to Croatia. The average age of outgoing physicians is between 35 and 50 years, while the average age of non-specialist physicians is 25 to 30 years. Age does not mean much, any person can be ready or unprepared for such a step at both 25 and 55 years of age. I find that if someone really wants it, some new experience (or even working until retirement) is possible if they made that decision themselves and are motivated to do so. Doctors are equally employed in all countries, but the most attractive is the Scandinavian concept, which provides a lot to both the candidate and the family.
- Norway and Sweden have introduced a novelty in the form of 3 work options (occasional work, trial and decision and permanent employment) for family medicine specialists in these countries, can you say something about that?
Zrinka Stanic: This was a project of Norway and Sweden in which they wanted to present themselves to family medicine specialists. Namely, the Scandinavian countries have based the entire health care system on stronger primary care, where teams led by family medicine specialists cover 80% of all patient needs, and only 20% of cases that require specialist care are delegated to hospitals. This has relieved the hospital system, the emphasis is placed on prevention, family medicine specialists in a team of 6-7 people can deal with medicine, not bureaucracy, there are smaller queues and patients are more satisfied. In order to acquaint foreign family medicine specialists with the Scandinavian way of working and perhaps interest them in working in the Scandinavian system, they introduced these three work options. You could come to work occasionally for shorter periods, you could come to work for a probationary period of 6 months, and if a person likes the position, stay in the workplace or immediately sign an employment contract.
- How many doctors a year from Croatia go to work abroad through headhunter agencies?
Zrinka Stanic: It is difficult to say the exact number because doctors go to work through numerous agencies but also independently. Also, the number of doctors leaving Croatia per year includes those who leave permanently as well as those who go to locum positions for shorter periods, after which they return to Croatia. Physician migrations can also be viewed through the positive prism of learning new skills, gaining new experiences and broadening horizons, and it is up to the Croatian health system to bring them back.
- Did you have any inquiries from Croatian health institutions to find staff?
Zrinka Stanic: We had only a few inquiries from Croatia, primarily from the private sector, where private clinics hired us to find the necessary staff. For example, we currently have inquiries regarding the employment of specialist of clinical cytology and specialist of medicine of work and sports where applications from Croatia and the region are welcome.