Interview with the nutritionist Magdalena Pashova - Part 2

Expert in healthy eating

Your health isn't a matter of luck or fate, but a conscious choice"

Magdalena Pashova is a holistic nutritionist. She calls herself "a food therapist". In her practice she consults her clients either by meeting them face to face or via Skype. Her main goal is to inspire people to take better care of themselves. She has a diploma from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. You can see her articles and recipes for delicious and healthy meals in her blog Naturelita. From this interview you are going to learn why people look for the services of a nutritionist despite the abundant information in the Internet, why milk is not a good option for people suffering from calcium deficiency, what is the connection between the eating habits of Americans and the condition of their health care system and where a doctor can specialize in Nutrition.

10. There is a debate in our society whether it is so important for people to eat organic foods or buying them is just having unnecessary expenses. What is your opinion? Is it worth spending money on organic food?

Up until 50 years ago, the chemicals which are present in the food today just didn't exist. The human body cannot learn for such a short period of time to process these chemicals successfully. They accumulate in the body until at a certain point they block the normal functioning of the processes. Definitely, it is worth spending money on organic food. 
11. In his book "The Enzyme factor" the Japanese specialist in gastroenterology, Dr Hiromi Shinya, says that if people could see their digestive system from the inside, they would be much more careful with their eating habits. Do you think that people eat unhealthy food because the effects from the food on the body can be seen months or years later not right after you eat it?
Many people think that they feel alright but in fact they just ignore the signals of their body. They have got used to the feeling of discomfort so much that they just perceive it as something normal. The frequent headaches, chronic tiredness, PMS and painful menstruation are all signs that something is wrong with people's health and their eating habits. Our body is a very smart mechanism. When there is a problem, it starts giving us signals like knocking on a door. If we don't pay attention to this "knocking on the door", it stops knocking and breaks down the door with force.

12. According to some of my friends, buying healthy foods is not just a major expense in a person's budget but also another burden in their busy lifestyle as they have to find where to buy these foods from instead of just going to a supermarket and purchasing whatever catches their eye. How would you comment this?

I will give you an example with the photographer Peter Menzel who traveled around the world and took photos of the food different families ate for one week. He also interviewed them. In one Mexican family the woman gave her children Coca-Cola every day in huge quantities - 33 litres a week. She was a medical specialist and when Peter asked her why she allowed her children to drink so much of this harmful drink, she answered that the government had approved this drink which meant that it should be safe. People need to understand that the food industry tries to make as much profit as possible and we can't change this. These companies put in the food substances like sodium glutamate to make their products irresistible to consumers. It is our own responsibility to make informed choices and take care of our health.

13. What kind of people usually look for your services? People who want to get slim, people who have a health problem or people who have realized that eating healthily is important?

In my practice I meet people from all these types. I have noticed that the number of people who are interested in healthy eating is growing. Most of my clients are women. The husbands or boyfriends of some of these women come to me after they see the positive change in their spouses. Most often people become interested in healthy eating at the age of 30-45. These are my observations.

14. What are the trends in eating habits in different places of the world?

Germany and France are the two countries in Europe with the highest demand for organic products. The trend for healthy eating appeared for the first time in the USA which is the native country of the opposite trend - the fast food and the junk food trend. Americans have reached the bottom in terms of suffering from diseases connected with unhealthy eating. They are on the edge of a health care bankruptcy. Their health care system is exhausted. Last week there was a very interesting online conference organized by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Over 50 leading specialists in Medicine and Nutrition took part in it and shared their scientific findings and observations. They presented a frightening statistics that 1 in every 3 children in the USA suffer from an allergy or asthma, autism or diabetes. These are the future adults in the USA. American politicians have realized that if they don't change the situation, there will be a disaster because the country won't have a population fit for work. 

15. Is it important for medical students to study Nutrition?

Yes, it is important. There are institutes in England, the USA and Canada where physicians can specialize in Nutrition. It is sad that some medical specialists still spread the wrong idea that in cases of calcium deficiency people should increase the consumption of dairy products. Milk raises the level of acidity in the human body and the body tries to restore its alkalinity by getting alkaline elements like calcium from the bones. This means that people with osteoporosis should restrain from eating foods high in acidity.

16. Is it true that the tahini (sesame seed paste) is among the best resources of calcium?

Yes, it is assimilated well by the body unlike the calcium in milk.

17. Where is the place of nutritionists - in the health care system (hospitals and clinics), fitness clubs or other institutions?

Nutrition is the element which the health care system needs in order for it to become holistic. In Canada there are nutritionists in gyms, spa centres, beauty salons and other places specialized in health prevention. Nutritionists can prepare menus for kindergartens, schools and restaurants promoting healthy eating. Last but not least, nutritionists can help people recover from an illness. There should be a partnership between physicians and nutritionists.

18. What is your most important message for the people who will read the interview?

My main message to them is to realize that their health is not a matter of luck or fate, but a conscious choice. They make this choice by choosing their lifestyle - what they eat, how they eat, the physical activity they do on a daily basis, the regular breaks they take, the way they cope with stress and their overall attitude towards themselves and their life.

Interviewer: Mariya Dim

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Interview with the nutritionist Magdalena Pashova - Part 1

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Interview with the nutritionist Magdalena Pashova - Part 1

Healthy eating

"Your health isn't a matter of luck or fate, but a conscious choice"

Magdalena Pashova is a holistic nutritionist. She calls herself "a food therapist". In her practice she consults her clients either by meeting them face to face or via Skype. Her main goal is to inspire people to take better care of themselves. She has a diploma from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. You can see her articles and recipes for delicious and healthy meals in her blog Naturelita. From this interview you are going to learn why people look for the services of a nutritionist despite the abundant information in the Internet, why milk is not a good option for people suffering from calcium deficiency, what is the connection between the eating habits of Americans and the condition of their health care system and where a doctor can specialize in Nutrition.

1. Hello, Magggie! Why did you decide to study Nutrition?

I wanted to have a profession which is a convergence of all my interests - healthy eating, psychology, writing, meeting people, creative activities. I found all these things in my work as a nutritionist. I think that if a job is monotonous and there is no variety in it, I will get bored quickly. I like my work because it is connected with alternating activities. It fills me with energy and a desire to learn and to develop my skills and knowledge. The most significant thing according to me is the opportunity to convey my positive energy to other people.

2. What is the nutritionist's role? There is so much information in Internet and people can find answers to their questions there.

Yes, in Internet there is so much information that it has lost its high value. Even if a person discovers contradictory experts' opinions, he or she can filter this information and derive only this that makes sense for him/her. What really matters is the way you convey the information when you meet them and how well you motivate these people to take good care of themselves.

3. What approach do you use in your job?

My approach is holistic - I strive to help people learn what food is healthy, but also to learn to perceive their body as something invaluable and to love themselves. I teach them how to recognize their body signals and how to respond to these signals.  Taking care of yourself means not just eating the right foods but also having a rest when needed and dealing with stress successfully.

Another important thing in my approach is implementing changes in my clients' lifestyle gradually because if things happen abruptly, people will respond negatively to the changes.

4. What are the other factors, except healthy food, which contribute to a achieving the desired results?

I tell people that 50% of results deoend on what we eat and 50% depend on how we eat. My goal is to help people learn to eat mindfully.

5. What does "to eat mindfully" mean?

The majority of people eat while talking on the phone or driving. They don't feel the taste and aroma of the food. They don't feel the pleasure of eating. When we don't eat mindfully, we don't know when to stop because our mind is busy with something else. If we don't chew up our food very well, we hinder the digestion process. When we eat under stress, the blood flows to the peripheral tissues of the body which makes digestion ineffective. In fact when a person eats consciously, they don't need a big quantity of food. You can neither overeat nor feel hungry all the time.

6. What would you say to those who think that nowadays there is no chance to eat mindfully because people are so busy that they often miss the lunch break or eat while working at their desks?

I am not optimistic that things will change drastically in the outer world. I believe that people should try to do whatever possible to ensure having meals in quiet and calm surroundings and if it is not possible to have lunch in such an environment, then they should aim for at least one meal a day eaten mindfully.

7. What is your opinion about omitting breakfast? I have noticed that many people who omit breakfast are overweight.

Yes, there is such a connection. I always advise people to have breakfast. When a person eats healthily, they wake up hungry. Those who say that they don't feel hunger in the morning can be sure that there is something wrong in their eating habits and their body is dehydrated. When you omit breakfast, you omit waking up your metabolism. It is not an accident that the word "breakfast" come from "break the fast" - the body has been fasting the whole night and you have to stop the fasting.

When you omit breakfast, this is unnatural for the body and it tries to store in the fat cells as much as possible from the nutritional substances present in the food which you eat during the rest of the day. This is the reason why people omitting breakfast are usually overweight.

8. What should people eat for breakfast?

It doesn't have to be anything similar to the popular English breakfast - eggs, bacon and beans. It can be a cup of yoghurt with oats, a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit. Breakfast should correspond to your lifestyle. If your work is connected with heavy physical activity, you'd better eat a bigger quantity of food. If you spend the whole day in front of the computer, you don't need a large portion because you burn almost no calories during the day. The bottom line is that you have to have some kind of breakfast to wake up your metabolism.

9. Some people,  like me, for example, eat small portions at small intervals of time. Other people eat large portions two times a day. Which is healthier or this is something so individual that there isn't a strict rule?

Yes, it depends on the individual to a large extent. Everyone should listen to their body. However, it is important to learn how to recognize our body signals. Many people force their body to go through long periods of hunger because this seems more comfortable. They just wait till the end of the working day to give their body some food. Another example for unhealthy eating is trying to subdue a negative emotion with food even if you are not hungry. 

We really need to put our health at the beginning of our list of priorities.

Interviewer: Мariya Dim

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What steps should young doctors make towards their career development?

Career steps for doctors

Young people who choose Medicine for their profession are usually those who enjoy helping others and being useful is a mission for them. The feeling that you can change someone’s life for the better, save a life or see the good consequences of your efforts for solving a problem – these are the things which make the time spent at work meaningful. 

Except the pleasure from doing their job very well, medical specialists want to be rewarded the way they deserve and to be offered opportunities for a good professional development.

The development of physicians can happen in two directions – horizontally (by becoming better at putting diagnoses and curing their patients) and vertically (by climbing the hierarchical ladder). Most medical specialists derive pleasure from their job provided that they develop both horizontally and vertically.

In order to make this happen, doctors need to take a few well-planned steps.

1.       Choosing a university

The first step is taking the decision which university to apply for. Except the good medical equipment and the image of the lecturers, another important criterion is the international connections of the university with foreign universities and research centres which increases the chances for students to gain international experience.

Why is international experience so important?

The world is changing towards a removal of the health care borders. People will be able to freely search for medical help in foreign countries where huge innovative health centres will be built. These centres will have the potential to serve thousands of people. There is a tendency for small hospitals to become part of the structure of bigger, much more financially powerful hospitals. These enormous centres will need medical specialists with international experience to cope with serving foreign patients.

Nowadays, preparing for a career in the international area is equivalent to freedom of choice. If a doctor isn’t satisfied with the working conditions in their country or they want to make a big change in their life, then they can move to a foreign country and apply for a job position anywhere in the world where their qualifications are recognized.

For EU citizens this means opportunities for a career development in any EU member state since all medical diplomas issued by universities situated on the territory of the EU are internationally recognized.

Another good opportunity for getting international experience while studying Medicine is applying for a university in Eastern Europe where taxes are relatively low and the university hospitals have modern facilities and equipment. These medical universities strive for gaining competitive advantages through implementing innovative teaching methods like the 3D training at the Medical University in the town of Pleven, Bulgaria.

In the beginning of 2014 the Bulgarian Medical University in Plovdiv won an award for being “The best university in Southeast Europe”, given by the Europe Business Assembly and the International Socrates Committee. When a foreign student studies in such a university, they learn a lot about the culture of a European country, enrich their personality and master another European language. 

The knowledge of several European languages is important for a career in the EU because even if a physician works in their native country, they will inevitably encounter foreign patients or immigrants. In Germany multilingual medical specialists are highly valued because they can communicate with representatives of other cultures.

The European parliament has set a goal to facilitate as much as possible the mobility of medical specialists. It has recently modernized the Directive of Professional qualifications (Directive 2005/36/EC). One of the new things is the creation of the European Professional Card - an electronic certificate to allow the cardholder to obtain the recognition of his or her qualifications in a simplified and accelerated manner. This will allow doctors to move from one country to another much faster than before.

When a 19-year old young person is trying to make an important decision like which university to apply for, it is better to rely on the services of a competent consultancy like Forum der Medizin to help him/her get oriented in the sea of opportunities.  Studying Medicine is a huge investment of financial means and time and the aim is to derive maximum benefits from the university education in terms of future career prospects.

2.       Choosing what to specialize in


You need to determine whether you want to do clinical activity, ambulatory service, or health management.  

Health management is an area which will become more and more significant due to the growing need for good management in the newly-built tremendous hospital chains.

One of the criteria for determining what to specialize in is the internal feeling of students while studying the different university subjects as well as during their clinical practice. If they feel drawn to a certain area, this should be their biggest reference point and not things like the opinion of friends, relatives and parents.

And yet, if a student cannot feel what attracts them the most, they can rely again on the assistance of a consultancy to help them determine the most suitable specialization for them based on personality traits, goals and values.


3.       Choosing an employer

The next step is applying for a job in the native or a foreign country. The different employers focus on the development of different aspects of their hospitals. Some of them think that the luxurious working environment is a priority. Other employers provide very good training opportunities for their employees while a third group of hospital managers take measures to ensure a more flexible working time and health care for the physicians. Hospitals have a different policy regarding the service of patients, the bureaucratic procedures, etc. All these criteria should be taken into consideration by doctors when making a decision where to apply for a job.

A person can come across a lot of misleading information in the Internet about the working conditions in different hospitals. Your career depends to a great extent on your chance to make a well-informed decision. Professional consultants specialized in providing career support to medical specialists can give you their objective viewpoint on a great number of employers. Consultancies are not financially tied to hospitals. This means that consultants can offer you a critical opinion about different employers.

4.       Individual coaching for solving work and personal issues

Finding a good employer isn’t the last step towards a career growth. Physicians’ profession is connected with a lot of responsibilities and challenges. 

They are required to be able to work independently and in a team, to be able to win patients’ trust, to react calmly in urgent and stressful situations. Sometimes medical specialists might face personal crises which affect the quality of their work. Keeping the balance between private life and work is also an important issue because it influences doctors’ health, satisfaction and ability to concentrate. At such points in their lives, it is recommendable that physicians search for professional help in the form of individual coaching so that they will be able to find a way out of the crisis in the best and least painful way. Seeking such kind of support isn’t a weakness at all. In fact, it is one of the smartest investments a doctor can make into his/her career and personal happiness.

The article was created with the cooperation of Dr Meridonov

The text was written by: Mariya Dim

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How can young doctors deal with stress?

Doctors dealing with stress

The question about dealing with stress is so often discussed that it has become banal. It is a fact, however, that the majority of the world population still ignores the chronic stress until the consequences become clearly noticeable – impoverished health, burnout, lower efficiency at work, etc. Physicians are among these professionals who need to develop good skills for dealing with stress since the jobs in the medical field are connected with facing difficult and urgent situations every day.

It seems logical that people who have dedicated themselves to preserving human health – doctors, should be an example of timely taking measures against the consequences of chronic stress. Unfortunately, things are very different in reality. A great number of medical specialists find themselves unpleasantly surprised, when exactly like their patients, they develop an illness as a result of total physical and psychological exhaustion. It is hard for many physicians to accept that they too are vulnerable and they sometimes need the help of consultancies, mentors or individual coaching. They start changing their lifestyle only when the change is inevitable. To say that you don’t have time to change your thinking or lifestyle is like saying that you don’t have time to stop and fill the tank of your car because you are busy with the driving – eventually you will have no other choice. The career of such doctors is suffering, their family is suffering and the life of these doctors is shattered because they haven’t paid attention earlier.

If you are a young medical specialist, striving for achievements in your profession, place your health in the beginning of your list of priorities. Yes, doctors’ profession isn’t one of the easiest since it is connected with illnesses, human pain and a lot of stressful situations. However, the most important thing is not the situation itself, but how a person reacts to it. Physicians can do a lot of things to neutralize the effects of stress. Even the most resilient people have to keep their health in focus.

More and more employers in the health care sector realize that it is important to take care of their employees’ health. In many hospitals the working time has become more flexible and programs for preserving staff’s health have been implemented.

What can doctors do to reduce the negative impact of stress?

Stress is a state in which the body prepares itself for a “fight or flight” response towards a threat. The stress hormones arouse the organism and create a great amount of energy. If it is not expended in physical activity, a person can remain in this state of overexcitation for many hours. When this repeats every day, the organism pays a huge price.

The time-tested ways of dealing successfully with stress are:


1.       Aerobic training

Aerobic workouts are an irreplaceable means for neutralizing the effects of stress. This type of physical activity expends the extra energy and releases the tension built up in muscles. The result is a sensation of relaxation, pleasant physical tiredness and a serene mind. Fast walking, riding a bike, swimming and dancing are different alternatives to training in the gym. You will be able to believe in the positive effect of sport only after you have practiced it regularly for at least one month.

2.       Avoid drinking coffee

Even when you know that drinking coffee makes you nervous, it might be hard to give it up as it is the case with any long-established habit. Besides, giving up coffee abruptly may cause headaches similar to migraine. The best way is to do it gradually and try to perceive it as an experiment. Reduce the cups one by one until you reach the number zero. Then, restrain yourself from drinking coffee for 3 weeks and see how you feel. If you think that the tension and feeling of distress hasn’t diminished, you can go back to drinking coffee if you wish. Most people stop the consummation of this drink after this experiment.


3.       Maintain a good psychological hygiene

This includes a careful selection of activities during the spare time. For many people watching criminal movies and thrillers is the only way to provide themselves with adrenaline but for you situations full of adrenaline are a part of your daily routine.  This means that you need to avoid spare time activities that tend to increase the level of tension. Laughter is one of the best cures so watching comedies and having fun with friends is essential for your overloaded brain. In case that the communication with so many people at work makes you tired, try to find time and space for the much-needed solitude. It is well-known that meditation is more effective than sleeping when it comes to recovering the mind from the stress. Not many people harness this relaxation technique but it is worth trying since your health is in the line.

Playing with your pet, watching the fire in the fireplace, reading a relaxing book are all highly beneficial activities for physicians. Getting a massage isn’t just a treatment when you suffer from back pain. There is scientific evidence that it stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin which has a very positive effect on human’s body and mind.

You can also listen to CDs which are specially created to enhance a serene state of mind.

4.       If you are at a crossroad in your career, find an experienced guide

Nowadays the career opportunities are abundant. Sometimes a person feels as though he is in a labyrinth and doesn’t know which way to go.

Medical specialists can choose between emigration, working in the native country or establishing a private practice. Weighing the pros and cons of all the options and making a huge step in the professional development causes stress in doctors. The solution is to look for consultancies like Forum der Medizin which can help them take the most suitable direction and assist with the necessary procedures connected with the process of moving from one country to another if this is what they want. These companies also help medical students gain education abroad. Some of the consultancies offer opportunities for getting a scholarship. It would be good for medical students to seek support from mentors and consultants even before applying for a university so that they can be sure that they will make the best possible choice.

5.       Release the tension by expressing it with words


It is important to have someone in your circle of friends whom you can trust and feel free to share with them what bothers you. You can rely on a colleague, relative, therapist or a life coach to help you go through a life crisis. Maybe you have heard the saying: “A shared problem is a half-solved problem.” If you feel very tense and you have no one to talk to on a particular day, you can write down in a diary so that the sadness, pain, anger, etc. will diminish in intensity. During the process of writing, you might come up with a possible solution to the problem.


6.       Sense of humour

It saves most of the doctors from emotional exhaustion. Black humour is typical of medical specialists and for sure there is a logical explanation for this.  It is a way for them to transform the traumatic experiences into something they can see from a different angle.  

Not every doctor has a well-developed sense of humour before choosing this profession but fortunately this isn’t a trait you are born with - it is a skill that can be learnt.

7.       Professional emotional detachment”

This is a skill all physicians learn in order to decrease the intensity of the pain and emotions they experience from witnessing things that are hard to accept. Doctors “distance” themselves from the situation. It is important not to go to the opposite extreme – total lack of empathy towards patients. Having a kind attitude and expressing compassion is an integral part of doctors’ profession and contributes to the fast recovery of patients.

It is a matter of doctors making a conscious effort to master the skill to “approach” and “distance” themselves emotionally according to the situation, the need of empathy a particular patient feels and the state of the physician on this particular day (whether they still have energy or tiredness has taken over).

When tiredness has taken over, medical specialists should keep their kind and professional attitude towards their patients and at the same time apply the professional emotional detachment approach.

8.       Taking regular breaks

This is requirement for maintaining high efficiency of employees. It is better to do medical checkups and procedures in a good condition of the mind rather than in a state of exhaustion since an exhausted person is much more likely to make mistakes. 

During the break you can go to the hospital balcony, take a few deep breaths, talk with your colleagues on topics different from problems at work, or even deal with a work activity which doesn’t require a high level of concentration.  

If you have an opportunity for taking a nap during the day, set an alarm to wake you up after 15-20 minutes because when a person naps for more than 20 minutes, they wake up feeling dizzy and sleepy.

Author: Mariya Dim

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Why Nurses Should Change Shifts at Patients’ Bedside

Nurses change shifts

It is a wide-spread practice across the world nurses in hospitals to change shifts in nurses’ room. They exchange information about the conditions of the patients they are in charge of. A new study revealed that this should be done in front of patients. There are two main benefits coming from the bedside handover – patients become active partners in their own care and medical errors occur much more rarely.

The lead author of the medical study Dr Lianne Jeffs says:

"The start and end of a nurse's shift are critical moments. Having handover take place at the bedside with patients is better for everyone, but especially for our patients. It means they have a voice, better understand their treatment and are engaged in their care."

When patients are not involved enough in their care, they feel helpless as though they have lost control over their life. To regain the feeling of control they need to be able to ask questions. Having the opportunity to clarify information with both nurses seems to be very efficient in terms of relieving a patient’s anxiety and improving their satisfaction.

The study was published in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality. It was based on qualitative interviews with 45 patients. Dr. Jeffs has been doing research on the necessary transitions across the health care system in the USA.

Such studies should be carried out in every country to assess the overall satisfaction of patients and to take measures for improving the quality of health care. It is known that patients who are more relaxed recover much faster than patients who are under a lot of stress. Any factor that contributes to a faster recovery is worth researching and applying into practice.

Ray Shaver who was a caregiver for his late wife, Queenie, for more than 16 years said:

"Patients feel more important when they're involved in their own care. And it's so much safer for the patient when everyone comes together in the same room."

Dr Jeffs also commented:

"Most patients felt safer, more satisfied and better informed of their care plan. But some long-term patients did not want to participate in the twice-daily routine because their conditions had not changed from day to day."

The author of the study points out that it is important to recognize and be sensitive to patients' preferences which can change over time and from patient to patient.

Nurses have reported making fewer mistakes when they change shifts at the bedside of patients. They are able to prioritize their tasks better and get a clearer view of patients’ situation when they receive information from the outgoing nurse in patients’ presence.

Piloted in 2011, nurses on every medical and surgical unit at St. Michael's Hospital now perform handover at their patient's bedside.

Author: Mariya Dim

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Your career development as a medical specialist abroad depends on your labour rights awareness

Foreign medical doctors

The professional growth of specialists in different fields is determined by several factors: their good educational background, finding the most suitable workplace and position according to their qualifications and personal qualities and last but not least - their labour rights awareness so that they can defend themselves in case of a labour rights violation.

When doctors move abroad, the third factor becomes particularly important since the work rules for the medical jobs are different from the ones in doctors’ native country. Medical specialists should be well informed regarding their labour rights when they start working in a German hospital and when they leave their job.  

The hierarchical level of the position of newly hired foreign doctors in Germany has to correspond to their qualifications and skills. Foreign medical trainees who are employed by a hospital in Germany have to be provided with the necessary training.

When doctors leave their job, they receive a certificate of their qualifications which contains information about their professional skills and all the procedures they have conducted in their job.

Employers are also required to provide a worker who is leaving the job with a document giving information about their personal characteristics. It is an assessment of employee’s abilities to work in a team, their attitude toward their job and the patients, etc. The text is encoded and workers often cannot be sure whether their assessment is positive or negative. Different variations of the text mean different things and correspond to a certain mark according to a five point marking system.

Since the opportunity to find a new job in the desired hospital depends to a great extent on the personal characteristics document received from former employers, it is very important for doctors to seek the services of a consultancy like Forum der Medizin, specialized in providing assistance to doctors and students in Medicine.

Consultants are competent in decoding assessments and doctors can rely on them to learn what mark they have been given. In case they disagree with the mark, workers have the right to put in a claim to the Court for changing their personal characteristics assessment. This should be done within 2 weeks of receiving their assessment from the former employer.

Practice shows that in 100% of the cases, characteristics are changed in workers’ favour. It is considered that the most valuable thing for a person is their ability to do their job and putting obstacles in their professional development is avoided whenever possible.

 That is why being aware of your labour rights is of great significance. Seeking the services of a consultancy will help you steer away from career traps and enhance your chance to make the most out of your job experience abroad.

Author: Mariya Dim

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Moving abroad

The tendency for opening the borders world-wide and the global economic crisis have caused a huge wave of migration of people who want to work abroad temporarily or permanently. According to the statistics this applies not only for the residents of the countries most badly affected by the crisis but also for the residents of developed regions of the world like Germany and England. Looking for a better life is a common human feature. IT specialists striving to excel in their profession abroad and medical workers trying to find a better job in the medical field are among the most usual cases of emigration.

No matter if the reason for moving to another country is seeking  job vacancies or something else, a new study shows that the adaptation to a new environment and a new culture spurs creativity and entrepreneurship in emigrants.

Scientists from the business university INSEAD have done a series of surveys in order to find out what the effects living abroad has on human mind. They tested the widespread thesis that “travel broadens the mind.”

The participants in the study fell into three categories: those who live abroad or who spent many years abroad, those who had been only on excursions without settling in another country and those who had never been abroad.

All participants were assessed in terms of their inclination to take risks and to seek adventure. This was done in order to check whether people moving to another country are more creative by nature. The results of the study confirmed this assumption but it also showed that moving abroad increases the level of creativity in people.

It is not just a coincidence that some of the most famous people like Pablo Picasso, Rudiard Kipling and Ernest Hemingway spent years abroad.

The adaptation process that takes place when a person moves to a foreign country is a challenge at all levels (professional and personal) and it establishes new connections in the brain.

This is the reason why travelling abroad doesn’t bring the same benefits like living abroad. Scientists have discovered that people who have spent a longer period abroad are also more likely to become entrepreneurs. They also predict that in the future companies will start looking for people who have lived abroad to fill the job positions requiring a higher level of creativity.

It turned out that age matters when it comes to deriving the maximal benefits from living abroad. These people who move at an earlier age enjoy the biggest positive psychological transformation.

Emigrants fall into two main categories: those who seek adventures and those who want to escape from a poorer country to a richer one accepting any job they can find.

In the new millennium, however, emigration or temporary living in a foreign country doesn’t mean giving up the qualifications and professional experience you have attained in your native country. The new wave of people moving abroad are highly qualified specialists who want to continue their career in the new country without making a compromise with the hierarchical position they deserve.  They seek the support and assistance of competent consultancies like Forum der Medizin in order to plan carefully the career steps they want to make and to find the most suitable workplace abroad. The adaptation process runs smoothly when people are prepared about what they can expect in the new country. In this way they can enjoy an adventure that will make them more creative as well as more successful in their profession.

Last but not least, scientists have come to another wonderful conclusion – those who have returned to their native country are able to change their mindset to a more creative and problem-solving mode (the effect lasts about 10 to 15 minutes) just by remembering a situation from their stay abroad when they coped with a challenge successfully!

Author: Mariya Dim

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When students find it hard to choose a medical specialty

Choosing a medical specialty

One of the most decisive moments for medical students is when they have to choose what to specialize in. Their choice will determine their lifestyle, their living standard and their job satisfaction. One of the disadvantages of the educational system in some countries is that it does not provide these young people with an effective consultation so that they can make a well-informed decision.

Students need to find the best criteria for choosing their medical specialty. An inexperienced young person is likely to make the financial benefits and the prestige of a specialty their main criterion. However, becoming a doctor is a responsible decision which requires a high level of devotion to the working process and to the patients which is hard to achieve unless you really enjoy what you are doing. Being patient towards your patients and feeling compassion for them depends to a large extent on the compatibility of a medical specialist with the type of work they have chosen to do in the long term. Since working in different departments requires different amounts of inpatient and outpatient visits, uncomfortable shifts and emotional stamina, it is of great significance to be honest with yourself and assess your strengths, weaknesses and core values.

Medical education

While the shadowing experiences during the preclinical years are important, they are not the best basis on which you should choose a specialty. You can gain a clearer perspective of medical specialties in your third year at the medical school when you start your clinical practice and every 4-8 weeks you rotate to a new specialty. Take into consideration what kind of people are drawn to the work in a specific department. Talk with as many physicians as possible about the pros and cons of their specialty and what they have learnt about the profession over the years.

Money, flexible working hours and social recognition matter a lot. They are the tangible benefits of particular specialties. And yet, your job satisfaction and health status will depend on how well your job fits your personality. Most people, and especially young people in their early 20s, are not well aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Their self-knowledge hasn’t reached a level high enough to be able to find the best match for themselves based on their system of values. Often they choose a specialty based on what they think others might be impressed by and end up hating going to work.

Maybe you like the idea of being a plastic surgeon because of the high salary and luxurious lifestyle but bear in mind that you need to enjoy working in this field because most of your waking hours you will be spending at work and not on fancy vacations.

Medical students who are not sure what kind of specialty fits their personality may seek the help of consultancies like Forum der Medizin which provide competent career advice and support in finding the most suitable specialization or job in the medical field.

Author: Mariya Dim

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Foreign medical specialists

More and more people have adopted the mindset “My country is the world”. In search of a job vacancy or a different lifestyle they decide to move abroad. Some emigrants want to start afresh while others want to continue in the same direction but earn much more money.

The immigration statistics in countries like Germany is indicative of this new reality. The population is a multicultural blend. Of 10.8 million people living in Baden-Württemberg, nearly three million are immigrants - about 27 percent.

The implications of this trend are numerous. The immigrants strive to adapt and integrate into the new environment but the connection goes both ways - immigrants change the environment. The accepting country of this huge wave of newcomers encounters issues it has never faced before. A specific one is treating patients who don’t know well the official language of the country. The demand for foreign doctors in Germany is on the rise.

A good example is the need to find bilingual or multilingual psychotherapists who can provide effective consultations to the immigrants seeking therapy. According to the German Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists, one in five immigrants do not speak German well enough to be able to complete a psychotherapeutic treatment successfully.

In Germany some employers have found a partial solution to the problem by hiring interpreters but the therapy process requires such a level of intimacy which cannot be achieved when there is a third person in the room. This means that multilingual specialists are highly valued. The medical recruitment has caught up with the trend and language skills are a major determinant factor for hiring a medical specialist.

Foreign physicians and psychotherapists who see the great opportunity in this situation to be useful to the people needing their help and to develop professionally can rely on consultancies like Forum der Medizin to find the best possible workplace matching their skills and values. Moving abroad can be a smooth and relatively easy transition when you can draw upon the knowledge and experience of competent consultants.

Author: Mariya Dim

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Jobs in the medical field

Physicians’ profession offers a lot of benefits but it is also one of the most stressful jobs. Such a career path is usually chosen by highly responsible, hard-working and courageous people. The values and goals of physicians may vary but the desire to help other people is one of the most common drivers for seeking development in this professional field. Many medical specialists, however, find it difficult to search for help when they feel overstressed, exhausted, lost or insecure about the next step in their career.

When you are used to perceiving yourself as the person in charge, it is hard to accept that from time to time you might be the one needing support. Things have changed recently. The number of specialists seeking consultation from competent medical recruitment agencies is rising. It is one of the newest career trends in the medical field.

Physicians who truly believe in the healthy lifestyle know that prevention is better than cure. Such medical specialists prefer to take measures when they feel the tension building in themselves and sense that they have started running out of resources to cope with the situation on their own. It is invaluable to be able to talk with someone who is much more experienced in this field or someone who knows a lot about career changes and has helped many others go through a transition smoothly.

Dealing with diseases, impatient patients, bad relationships with colleagues, feeling stuck in a rut, dissatisfaction with the salary or the work atmosphere…the list with all the possible sources of frustration is a long one.

Sometimes a physician needs to learn some new skills and behavior patterns like being more assertive and confident at the workplace and in other cases a change of the workplace is needed or even choosing another career path. Nowadays doctors can find a well-paid permanent or temporary medical job in Germany or any other country in the EU.

Spending money on professional advice will pay off later in the form of becoming a better specialist, finding a new medical job, earning more money and feeling satisfied and healthy since the level of job satisfaction has a lot to do with the level of happiness and the health status of a person.

 It is advisable to search for consultancies like Forum der Medizin which have specialized in the medical field. These consultants are experienced in helping physicians clarify what is best for them taking into consideration their core values, strengths and personal drivers in order to make the most appropriate career change.

Author: Mariya Dim

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