From IMG to Consultant Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; An Interview with Mr Husam Ebied

From IMG to Consultant Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; An Interview with Mr Husam Ebied

Navigating your clinical career, personal life, as well as arriving to work in a new country is a daunting experience. In recognition of Miad Healthcare’s courses for IMGs (International Medical Graduates) and LEDs (Locally Employed Doctors), we were thrilled to speak with Consultant Surgeon Husam Ebied of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Trust who shared his own career journey and advice to others considering the CESR route.

About Husam

Husam Ebied is a Consultant Surgeon in General, Emergency and UGI at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, with a special interest in complex abdominal wall reconstruction, abdominal wall hernias and benign biliary disease. He is also an honorary senior lecturer at King’s College London, and the lead for Undergraduate teaching within the surgical department.

Q. Can you tell us about your career path and life as an IMG (International Medical Graduate)?

A. I graduated from Ain Shams University Medical School in Cairo, Egypt in 1999 and arrived in the UK as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) in 2010. I completed my advanced surgery training in the UK as a senior clinical fellow at Liverpool, Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, and Barts Health with special interest in UGI (Upper Gastrointestinal) and advanced laparoscopic surgery. I then spent three years as a senior at Guy’s & St Thomas Hospital in London at the South East regional unit for upper gastro-oesophageal surgery before getting my first consultant job in 2016. I was granted my MSc and MD, after which I became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and was appointed as a consultant surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in September 2017.

Q. How was your journey from LED to Consultant?

A. My journey has been fulfilling but never easy. I arrived in the UK as an IMG and worked as an LED. I soon decided I wanted to stay and build my career here in the UK. It then took me 10 years to become a consultant via the CESR (Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration) route. (Personal And Organisational Development Archives – Miad Healthcare Library)

One of the challenges is that as an LED, you are thought of as being there to take on the workload rather than as a long-term prospect, so I needed to develop and plan my own career path and search out the training opportunities I needed to get here. You need a lot of determination, commitment, initiative, and support.

The application is also challenging;. It was incredibly hard especially with work and family commitment . The application process and courses needed for the application is expensive. In fact, if it wasn’t for the support of my wife, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

Q. What advice would you offer to others following your path?

A. Firstly, be clear with yourself from day one about your long-term plan. When you arrive in the UK, are you planning on staying or going back? If you are staying, then make a clear plan based on your career goals.

Once you have a plan, become aware of your own competencies and those that you need to develop. Choose the right jobs to develop those competencies and work towards them. Don’t be afraid to ask for the training opportunities if you aren’t getting them. Be patient, but be clear, as if you don’t ask, you may well be left doing to same job and never getting the progression you need.

You also need to be in the right place with the right team so make sure you are working in a supportive environment. I have been in Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for 10 years and it is a very supportive department, the department does not distinguish between trainees and those who are not part of the national training programme. It’s about the value of each person

You may be in a good job, but make sure it’s the right job for you As an LED you have the freedom to move so my advice is to move outside your comfort zone if necessary to develop your competencies. As an LED there is a risk of staying in your comfort zone where you know everyone, and everyone knows you, but you’re stuck in one gear because the service becomes very dependent on you and there is no career progression. One of the advantages of being an LED is that you do have the freedom to move.

Lastly, you will need plenty of resilience and patience! it’s easy to start losing hope mid-way.

Q. What can Trusts do to better support their IMGs and LEDs?

A. Firstly, I think Trusts need to think how they value and develop their LEDs. As they are an important part of the workforce and if they receive investment and development they will stay for the long-term.

 Trusts should have active conversations with LEDs to ensure their skills continue to develop and they feel professionally fulfilled. And help them to design a portfolio career which is  fulfilling, utilises their  skills.

I also believe that the application process could be streamlined. There is an incredible amount of paperwork involved which is another hurdle on top of the workload and training commitment.

Q. How are you supporting other LEDs in their career development?

A. I’m a supervisor for trainees and undergraduates as part of my role. I also support LEDs informally, sitting with them, giving them space, helping them with applications. I am building an advocate group of LEDs who can support others coming up along the route that I did.

Investing in IMGs and LEDs

We hope you are inspired by Husam’s story and his career path. At Miad Healthcare we have a series of new programmes to support new and existing Locally Employed Doctors (LED’s) and International Medical Graduates (IMG’s). Please CLICK HERE for full course details.