Shortage of doctors creates career opportunities

 

Doctors trained in Germany enjoy an excellent reputation all over the world. They are therefore in demand throughout the world in hospitals and medical care centres, in the public health service, in research institutes and in the pharmaceutical sector.

Almost half of  thedoctors of medicine were working in a hospital in 2009. Photo: Dörfel

The largest group of doctors of medicine, almost 50 percent, worked in a hospital in 2009. Almost a third had their own private practice or were employed in one. Around a quarter of them was not working as doctors – an indication of the broad spectrum of employment options for doctors. More and more of them opt for jobs in industry and research. This means that there are vacancies in hospitals, and successors are being sought for doctors’ surgeries. [Almost half of the doctors of medicine were working in a hospital in 2009. Photo: Dörfel]

Removing obstacles for young doctors

Doctors of medicine have first-rate career prospects, including graduates from abroad. The vice president of the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer – BÄK), Dr Martina Wenker, explains why and, in the light of the shortage of doctors, outlines the need to create even better conditions for starting a career in medicine. Read the whole interview here:-

The figures speak for themselves: doctors of medicine have first-rate career prospects, including graduates from abroad. The vice president of the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer – BÄK), Dr Martina Wenker, explains why and, in the light of the shortage of doctors, outlines the need to create even better conditions for starting a career in medicine.

Martina Wenker, Foto: BAEK

Many older doctors are retiring. Will we soon not have enough doctors?

The demographic development has long since caught up with the medical profession, too. In the meantime only about one in six working doctors is under the age of 35; the large proportion of colleagues aged over 50 (some 56 percent) and over 60 (some 16 percent) is growing constantly. Many of them will be unable to find successors in the future if the current conditions do not change soon. In the hospitals almost 20,000 senior physicians and consultants will retire in the next ten years. So the shortage of doctors is going to intensify. [Martina Wenker, Foto: BAEK]

In this situation, what opportunities are there for graduates from abroad to gain a foothold as doctors in Germany?

The growing shortage of doctors in towns and in the countryside of course provides students from abroad with opportunities to work in Germany. In recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of foreign doctors moving to Germany. In 2009 more than 1,900 doctors immigrated to Germany. Between 2000 and 2009 the annual immigration rate rose from 2.5 percent to 7.7 percent.

What are the reasons for the shortage of doctors?

Unfortunately more and more trained doctors decide against taking up a work in curative medicine and go into other occupational fields or move abroad. A total of twelve percent of medical graduates plan to work in other fields than preventive or curative medicine. The major factor underlying this decision is their assessment of the working conditions, the pay or the compatibility of work and family. Excessive bureaucracy and administrative tasks can also put people off. We urgently need to remove these obstacles.

How can the compatibility of work and family be improved?

Especially young doctors consider a good work-life balance to be important, especially as the proportion of female doctors is increasing. This trend has emerged in recent years and appears to be persisting.

In times when we have a shortage of doctors this means that we have to enable our young colleagues to develop their careers even if they have families. In the health service this process seems to be taking longer. Many hospitals are only gradually realising that the hospitals which promote the compatibility of work and family deliberately and actively have a clear location and competitive advantage when it comes to finding qualified doctors. Some pioneering examples of child-care models in hospitals or medical faculties are presented for example in the German Medical Association manual “Familienfreundlicher Arbeitsplatz für Ärztinnen und Ärzte – Lebensqualität in der Berufsausübung” (“”The family-friendly workplace for male and female doctors – quality of life while working” – only available in German).

Doctors in the pharmaceutical sector

“Doctors are involved in the entire lifecycle management of a pharmaceutical product,” Dr Simone Breitkopf reports, herself a doctor and head of the “Clinical Research and Drug Safety” division of the German Pharmaceutical Industry Association (Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie – BPI). Here, read the whole interview:-

“Doctors are involved in the entire lifecycle management of a pharmaceutical product,” Dr Simone Breitkopf reports, herself a doctor and head of the “Clinical Research and Drug Safety” division of the German Pharmaceutical Industry Association (Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie – BPI), which represents 260 companies with around 72,000 employees.

Simone Breitkopf, Foto: BPI

How great is the demand for doctors of medicine in the pharmaceutical industry?

Demand is rising again after a dip in the late 1990s because many fields that used to employ mainly scientists and other specialists are now being staffed by doctors. One such field is drug safety.

Are pharmacology specialists especially in demand?

Yes and no. This particular medical speciality may be the ideal preparation for entering research but it is not essential. It always depends on the company, the product or the research project which type of specialist has the best chances. Clinical experience is always desirable. [Simone Breitkopf, Foto: BPI]

 How large is the proportion of foreign graduates? Is any recruiting done abroad?

Much of the pharmaceutical industry is international. The employees are recruited in the country where they are currently needed for a project. That is why our member companies employ a relatively large number of foreign graduates in medicine. The doctors they employ very often rotate, working, for example, at the corporate head office in Germany and then at a branch office in the USA. This ensures constant exchange. This especially applies to the trainee programmes for managers.

What are the main tasks performed by doctors of medicine in the pharmaceutical industry?

Basically, doctors are employed throughout the lifecycle management of a pharmaceutical product. In pre-clinical and fundamental research, they primarily work with pharmacologists, chemists or biologists.

In human pharmacology, that is when drugs are tested on human beings for the first time, all processes require medical supervision. During clinical development, doctors and other scientists are responsible for planning and conducting the clinical studies and looking into the question: How can you record what effect the medicine has on the patient? I am not aware of asingle case in which the clinical testing is not headed by a doctor.

Doctors can also be entrusted with approving drugs although that is usually still the province of the pharmacologists and chemists. Doctors now predominate in drug safety, monitoring product quality, effectiveness and safety after the drugs have been approved.

Managerial positions in marketing or medical science departments (medical directors) are frequently staffed with doctors, partly to appeal to the medical community or because contacts at the health insurance providers, for example, are also doctors.

Original Source: study-in.de

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