You have questions? We have answers.
Enjoying a locum tenens assignment outside of the United States is a multi-step process that requires time, attention and patience. Here you'll find some of the most commonly asked questions by doctors thinking about an international assignment.
For more in-depth information we encourage you to call, with absolutely no obligation, and talk to an international placement specialist about whether or not an assignment—or a career as a locum tenens doctor—is right for you.
Where in the world do you place locum tenens doctors?
We pioneered the placement of U.S. and European doctors into Australia and New Zealand in the early 1990s and we've since placed thousands of?doctors in locum tenens assignments. We've since leveraged our expertise orchestrating these complicated overseas assignments to locum assignments throughout the United States and its territories, Canada and the Caribbean.
Are these places where no one else wants to work?
No, quite the contrary. Many of our openings are in attractive communities that have simply grown and require additional medical assistance. Many of the communities are coastal cities with populations ranging from twenty thousand to a million people. The communities requesting family and general practitioners tend to be in farming, mining or Native communities of 2,000 to 25,000 people. Many specialties are often called for in larger metropolitan areas. Over the years we have provided assistance to coastal resort towns, major metropolitan cities, mid-sized cities, farming and mining towns and remote desert communities.
Can I bring pets with me?
Yes, but be advised that bringing pets can be a lengthy, time-intensive process. While we can steer you in the direction of the regulations related to traveling with pets, this is a process that you will have to undertake and fund on your own.
How do medical practices differ overseas?
Australia and New Zealand are not particularly litigious countries. As a result, frivolous malpractice suits and huge settlements are unusual.
Doctors are respected members of the community and patients are genuinely thankful for medical care. Both countries still focus heavily on quality patient care over the business and financial aspects of medicine - one of the top reasons many of our physicians choose to extend or repeat their locum experience.
Prescriptions have different trade and generic names and formularies can be limited to a few medications in each category, rather than the full gamut. Doctors who work with us tell us that they generally find this system to be no better or worse than their native health care system, just different. They also say that they are able to adjust to the different trade and generic names within a short period of time.
Interpersonal interaction is usually the difference most often commented on by overseas physicians. Nurses and allied health professionals routinely call doctors by their first names, as do many patients. Allied health care providers also consider doctors to be their peers (albeit highly educated and respected peers) and don't hesitate to give doctors their opinions. Another noted difference is that non-clinical personnel often manage hospital departments. These managers are not subordinate to the doctors in the department, which is also true for human resource managers in hospitals.
Practicing with colleagues from different cultures is an invaluable learning experience. You'll see different ways of looking at medicine and enjoy providing alternative perspectives to your new colleagues. Many doctors tell us that the experience of working with us Down Under reinvigorated their professional lives and love of medicine. The cross-cultural immersion is also a powerful experience - something that your family will share with friends and extended family for the rest of their lives.
Do they recognize Osteopaths in Australia or New Zealand?
Yes, New Zealand and Australia both accept U.S.-licensed Doctors of Osteopathy
What are the tax rates Down Under?
Both Australia and New Zealand have graduated tax rates that increase for highest wage earners and decrease in the lower income brackets. The rates and methods of calculating tax vary from country to country, but regardless of whether you pay tax at home or abroad, you can generally plan on paying about a third of your income in taxes. To better understand your potential tax liability, we strongly recommend that you speak to speak to an expert in international tax before depart from home. We can also help you set up a self-directed retirement account that allows you save pre-tax income for your future retirement needs.
Can I stay permanently?
Yes. The fastest way to do this to take a temporary post with a hospital that needs a permanent candidate, which we can arrange. It only takes a few months to secure a temporary visa, but a permanent visa tends to take a minimum of 24 months to procure. Once you arrive in a country on your temporary visa, you can apply for both the permanent visa and permanent medical registration. You can work up to four years on a temporary visa, which gives you more than enough time compete the process of securing a permanent visa. We've successfully arranged permanent posts with many physicians and we've found that this is a much faster and simpler way to secure permanent status Down Under.
How does Global Medical get paid?
Global Medical Staffing is paid a commission by the facilities where we place locum tenens doctors. This fee does not come out of the doctor's salary nor is the doctor disadvantaged by working with Global Medical. In fact, our doctors receive the highest rates of pay and best benefits in the industry.
Do you have a religious affiliation?
No, Global Medical is not affiliated with any religious institution or organization.
What kinds of doctors do you need?
We have openings in most specialties, though we place locum tenens physicians most frequently in the following specialties:
- Emergency Medicine/A&E
- General Practice/Family Medicine
- General Surgery
- Internal Medicine
- Medical Oncology
- Orthopedic Surgery
- Oncology/Radiation Oncology
- Plastic Surgery
- Psychiatry ? Child & Adolescent
- Psychiatry - General Adult, Geriatric & Forensic
Do you only place doctors?
Our primary focus is to place doctors, however, many of the facilities we work with have a need for other medical professionals, so we're happy to work with either party where our expertise is helpful.
Does it benefit me to register with multiple staffing agencies?
While it might appear that signing up with multiple staffing agencies would increase your chances of finding a position, it can actually do more harm than good.
Unfortunately, some recruiters "spam" out candidate CVs without your knowledge or consent. In other words, they submit your CV without doing their due diligence; they don't talk to you first to determine if you're right for the job, or if the job is right for you. This is a significant breach of ethics. Also, there's an unwritten rule in the industry that the recruiter who submits the name or CV of a doctor first controls that candidate when it comes to that hiring party or facility.
We recently presented a locum tenens physician, following six months of careful planning and vetting, only to discover that her CV had been presented to a facility without her knowledge or consent just prior to our presentation. (Early on in her planning, a friend had convinced her to sign up with multiple agencies and she sent several of them, though never had any follow-up with them.) Consequently, the facility she was very interested in couldn't offer her the locum tenens position through us because they felt bound to the other agency - one she didn't want to work with. We placed her in another locum position in short order, but we were unable to place her in the location she had originally requested
Conversely, GMS is more than a recruiting agency - WE ARE YOUR ADVOCATE. We have a meticulous vetting process: we never present you as a candidate to a facility/location unless you've determined that the location, practice and hours fit your needs, and we work with you to coordinate all scheduling, travel and agreements. It's just one of the many things that set us apart from other locum tenens staffing agencies.
What if my locum tenens assignment doesn't work out?
In the extremely rare event that a practice has materially misrepresented itself, we will work to rectify the situation. If we cannot remediate the situation we will offer you other options for your locum experience. Should you or your family experience a serious illness or family death, we can arrange adequate time or work to release you from your obligation.
Can my children attend public school in Australia or New Zealand?
Yes, your children are welcome in the public schools in Australia and New Zealand. Most public schools in the larger cities of Australia and New Zealand are very competitive with North American and European schools. Many communities also have private schools that are reasonably priced. If your children will be accompanying you on your sabbatical, we'll help with information about schooling in the area; we'll even put you in touch with parents and school officials in order to help you make an informed choice about your children's education.
Can I bring my family along?
Yes! Many of our doctors choose locum tenens work specifically so that their families can accompany them, and so that their children might be exposed to a different culture and way of life. New Zealand and Australia are ideal for this because they very safe, clean and friendly. They speak English (though you'll learn some invaluable terms and colloquialisms that you'll never forget. Your children are welcome to attend public schools, which are of an equivalent standard to North American and European schools. The families we've placed have universally found the experience to be a profound, life changing experience. In fact, MTV produced a reality show, True Life, about one of our locum doctors, whose teenager wasn't all that sure about going to New Zealand, but loved it! Watch it here.
Why do these places need doctors?
Some of these communities no longer have enough doctors to meet their growing healthcare needs. Workforce maldistributions are a common problem; there are too many doctors in the bigger cities and not enough in mid-sized and smaller communities. This problem has been further compounded by a high demand in certain fields of specialization, which has escalated so rapidly that training facilities have not been able to keep up. Community hospitals, for instance, are struggling to provide basic services because medical school graduates are flocking to specialties that offer better pay and more predictable schedules. Also, the world's aging population is growing; older people require more and more health services and medical schools are struggling to keep up with the demand. The net effect of these issues is a significant demand for doctors, both permanent and temporary.
Naturally, temporary assistance is needed for doctors who take maternity or sick leave; doctors Down Under are also allowed to accrue long-service leave, which means they often need a locum tenens to cover during these accrued sabbaticals.
How long are the assignments?
Our U.S. assignments vary from one weekend, to several months, to one-year extended placements. International assignments are generally for one year or more, with a minimum of six months. Our goal is to help you find the assignments that work best for you.
Do I qualify to work with Global Medical?
Doctors with training and experience from developed countries, who are in good standing, will usually qualify. Specialists must be either Board Certified or Fellows of their respective specialty college. Family and general practitioners, as well as Emergency Medicine doctors, are not required to be Fellows or Members of their respective college.
To begin the qualification process, supply us with your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and your thoroughly completed application form
. At the same time, we also ask that you submit notarized copies of your medical diplomas and training certificates. You'll also need to obtain and submit a certificate of good standing from the body with which you are registered to practice medicine. Please note: this certificate must have been issued within ninety days prior to the start of your locum tenens position in order to be considered valid.
Is my training accepted in Australia and New Zealand?
Generally speaking, doctors must have recent, significant experience (3 years or more) working in one of the following countries in order to qualify to work Down Under:
- Hong Kong
- Republic of Ireland
- The Netherlands
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Non-native English speakers are also required to pass the International English Language Testing System
(IELTS). The government of Australia requires a score of at least 7 in all four sections. New Zealand requires a passing score of at least 7 in reading & writing and a passing score of at least 7.5 in listening & speaking. For more information on the test, visit www.ielts.org
Do other countries recognize my current medical registration?
Each country we serve has its own medical registration or licensing processes. Every doctor, without exception, must complete every process before they are allowed to practice. But we make it easy for you. Our experience allows us to systematically usher you through the medical registration process. We explain how to complete the forms; we review the forms carefully before submitting them; and we routinely monitor your application to ensure that it moves swiftly through the system. Because we have placed many thousands of locum tenens doctors Down Under, we are able to walk you through the visa and medical registration process much more swiftly and efficiently than if you attempted this on your own (many doctors have failed to succeed without our assistance.)
How much money can I make?
GPs/FPs working Down Under earn an estimated NZ$425-800 a day or more and approximately AU$425 per day or more. Specialists earn an estimated NZ$450-500 a day or approximately to AU$500-1,100. (check today's foreign exchange rate at OANDA, the Currency Site)
How often do you pay your doctors?
We've earned a reputation for having fastest and most reliable payroll in the industry, with payments made directly into your account twice monthly. You simply submit your time sheets to our accounting department via fax, email or our website on 1st and the 15th of each month and the funds are deposited directly into your account within two business days.
What is a typical work week like?
Aussies and Kiwis tend to live a very relaxed lifestyle compared to their European and North American counterparts. They're content with what they have and not obsessed with acquiring more possessions or status. And while they work hard at work, they also take their time off very seriously. This translates to very reasonable hours, typically 40 to 50 hours per week. Anything more than this is unusual. To assist you in gaining an understanding of the work schedule, practice duties and lifestyle of any position, we provide you with a description of the practice and set up a teleconference for you to speak with a doctor in the practice - before you accept any locum position. We can also put you in touch with doctors who have take locum assignments in the same area.
Do you provide malpractice insurance coverage?
Yes, we offer medical defense occurence insurance with built-in tail coverage.
Do you provide health insurance for me and/or my family?
We'll be glad to put you in touch with a reputable agent who will help you secure an individual health insurance policy for you and your family. The agent will help you find the best package with the policy limits and features that are right for you.
Can my spouse work Down Under?
Australia automatically grants a work visa to the spouse of a doctor who is working in the country. New Zealand will grant a work visa for a spouse if the doctor accepts a position that's longer than six months in duration, but you must also apply for a longer term visa. In general, your spouse's ability to obtain a work visa depends on several factors and since countries vary in how they deal with this issue, it's best to discuss the details with your physician placement speicialists who can answer specific questions.
Where do I start?
Start by contacting us. We're glad to answer your questions and learn about your interests and availability. There's no obligation and we'll only follow-up with you at your request.