Eight out of 10 doctors in Korea want to leave for another country to work as a physician under a better environment, a survey found.
Intermd, an online site for knowledge sharing among physicians, surveyed 1,009 doctors on May 23 and found that 72.9 percent of the respondents said they once considered working overseas or emigrating to a foreign country.
The doctors preferred the U.S. the most, with 66.8 percent of them choosing the country. Japan came next with 11.9 percent, Southeast Asia including Vietnam and the Philippines with 6.6 percent, Europe such as Germany and the U.K. with 5.6 percent, and the Middle East with 1.7 percent.
The biggest reason (multiple responses) that they considered working abroad or emigrating was “to lead a humane life in a medical environment better than that of Korea” (73.6 percent).
Other reasons included children's education (43.5 percent), salary and income (31.3 percent), broader experience including overseas training (18.3 percent) and medical volunteering (3.6 percent).
Physicians considering working overseas or emigrating picked language barriers (85.1 percent) as their biggest challenge (multiple responses). They also mentioned racial discrimination and locals-first policies (45.6 percent), cultural differences (44.6 percent), and lack of clinical experience on local people (28.2 percent) as other challenges.
Doctors interested in working in a foreign country obtained information through internet searching (44.6 percent), a recommendation from acquaintances (39.5 percent), government sites (9.2 percent), and professional headhunting agencies (5.7 percent).
“Getting a job overseas was one of the options depending on individuals’ calling in the past. But in recent years, so many doctors are considering working overseas. It has become my personal issue now,” a doctor who participated in the poll said. “I feel really sad that doctors should consider moving overseas, leaving all the families and friends behind.”
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