Medical students: The need for emigration

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Hamnah Tajjab, a 3rd year MBBS student at Lahore, Pakistan. She is also affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

After reading the title of the article, a quote just slipped in my mind all of a sudden. I still remember those lines “sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed and re arranged to relocate us to the place where we want to be”. The desire to go way beyond your imagination is the only driving force that keeps us motivating all those years where we have those sentiments of an insentient animal who persistently strives to get up but can’t. The emigration of medical students is justified with their need and urge to fly as high as possible. Being frustrated in your own country with that patriotic feeling is far less important than being happy in your own little encapsulated space where you can serve humanity in the best possible manner you want to be and enjoy the essence of life.

But beyond our urge on the level of practicality, the need for emigration is mostly due to financial opportunities overseas and level of debt, the strongest motivating factors to leave. Repayments towards student loans and increased salaries are basically factors that lead medical students to go for this emigration policy. But personal interest is, no doubt, the strongest motivator for career choice.

According to a survey on the target group of countries including European Union (59%), with Slovenia at the top of the list, it was found that the most frequent reasons for emigration involved “better earnings” (47%) and “getting a job” (27%). Other reasons involved “better organization of the health system” (14%), “better opportunities for career advancement” (7.6%), and “more respect for medical profession in the society” (4.4%).

Readiness to emigrate remains a hot topic among medical students in Croatia according to a study.High percent of graduating medical students identified in this study still consider emigration as an alternative to failure in getting the desired specialty in Croatia. With recent changes in the European Union political scheme, high proportion of students aiming at Slovenia will be forced to reconsider their options, as Slovenia now, as a member of the European Union, is bound by EU legislative, making it more difficult for non-EU members to get a job.

Moreover, American system has the highest-paid general practitioners in the world, the best healthcare so far and the most advance technologies. But despite the fact that Europe is way ahead of the United States, we as medical students are still craving for emigration. From health care to civil liberties to sexual attitudes, one can make a strong case for “European exceptionalism. I think it’s our call to choose where we want to be.

Today, even new transportation and communications technologies allow the smallest firms to build partnerships with foreign producers to tap overseas expertise, cost-savings, and markets. So why shouldn’t we struggle for the best possible thing if we are strong enough to strive for it.

In an economic history review about European emigration, the question was why did some medical students choose to migrate while others don’t. I find this question quite relatable. We cannot simply measure the idea of emigration. If we have the manpower for exploration, conquest and settlement, we should choose to leave or stay where we desire, only for our very own betterment.

If economic opportunity is one of the most motivating factor for emigration, a country which loses its medical professionals should examine the social relationships within the profession and should investigate whether the opportunities for deriving professional satisfaction from everyday work exist or these have been thwarted by the hierarchy, conservatism, cronyism, and a general lack of comprehension of what good medical care is about.

 

References

1) http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/11760240

2) http://www.alternet.org/world/10-things-europe-does-way-better-america

3) https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hrvoje_Mihalj/publication/8006339_Research_involvement_specialty_choice_and_emigration_preferences_of_final_year_medical_students_in_Croatia/links/00b4951615b4557f20000000.pdf

4) https://books.google.com.pk/bookshl=en&lr=&id=SRWSe7s_xUIC&oi=fnd&pg=PP7&dq=European+emigration+&ots=kkjjv_fbh3&sig=dOKclgGLuQak82tV7bIJ_JxzdTo#v=onepage&q=European%20emigration&f=false

 

About the author

Hamnah Tajjab is a 3rd year MBBS student in King Edward Medical university in Lahore, Pakistan. She is also affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA).

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