When MUDr. Zain Siddiqui from London, stumbled across options like the Czech Republic and Poland whilst looking for alternatives to studying in the United Kingdom, he thought he would “give it a shot, take the exam and see what happens”. Fast forward to results, he soon found that he had passed the exams and continued to accept his place to study medicine at Charles University, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové. “And the rest is history” says Zain about how it all began. He mentions that his first impressions of the university upon arrival were that it was “a small, compact and old school” but at the same time, “well organised”.
Currently, Zain is a GP trainee working in London, GPST1 which stands for ‘General Practice (GP) Specialty Training (ST1) Programmes’. After finishing medical school and completing the two foundation years required by the NHS, doctors can choose which speciality they would like to pursue. Zain decided on General Practice, having chosen it for the “flexibility, variety and general possibility to have a better work life balance”.
GP training programmes generally consist of 12 or 18 months in hospital placements and 18 or 24 months in General practice, barring some variation across different regions. Doctors in this training programme may be referred to as a GP Registrar or GPST1 etc depending on the year of their training.
Currently, Zain is on his General medicine rotation, which is a hospital placement. He describes a day in the life is to “get there slightly early, get an update from the nurses about any sick patients. Look at the ward list and look through the patients, to gather some brief knowledge about them”. The next port of call is to “prepare notes for the ward round, ready for when the consultant arrives”. Zain then accompanies the consultant on the ward round to see the patients followed up by a ‘Board Round’; which is essentially a meeting where the Nursing team, Physiotherapists and Occupational health teams are all present to discuss the patients. After this he completes all pending jobs and tries to finish up everything that needs to be done by 5pm. “If there are urgent things left over then we can hand over to the on-call team before going home” he goes on to add.
When asked about the transition from studying in the Czech Republic to going back to the UK to work in the NHS, Zain says that because his university “focused more on theoretical and deep medical knowledge” he found the switch to NHS in stark contrast where he found an instant expectation of more “practical knowledge and clinical skills”. To bridge this gap, however, Zain made sure to do all his clinical attachments throughout medical school, back at home in the UK. He mentions that this made his adjustment to the NHS much easier.
This is the first article in the UIMS Alumni Series, which will feature our alumni from around the world and what they have been up to since graduation. Keep following for more updates and to keep in touch with your fellow classmates!
Dr. Zain Siddiqui at his graduation from Charles University, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové in 2016
Alka Kaushik is a 3rd-year medical student at Masaryk University. She is an Alumni Officer at UIMS with a keen interest in dermatology as well as Obstetrics and gynaecology. If you have recently graduated and would like to be featured in this series, we would love to hear from you! You can follow and message her about this on Instagram @alka_kaushik