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Friends in Medicine ~ Dr Julian Ngo Ngwem: Resident in Obstetrics & Gynecology.


Dr Julian Ngo Ngwem is currently a Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Germany. She is from Cameroon but well traveled. At the age of 12 she moved with her family to Ghana and that’s where she learned to speak fluent English. She says her love for medicine started in Ghana when she was 13 years old. 
"I was watching a documentary called the ER doctors. I fell  so in love with medicine at that little age. So as stubborn as I am known to be I was determined to be a doctor. After graduating from high school I moved to Ukraine for medical school and I had always wanted to know more about Cameroon because I was away for so long, so I went back home to practice. I worked as a GP for 3 years in different fields but mostly Surgery, Emergency Medicine and Obstetrics and gynecology. I also worked part time doing home visits to the elderly and disabled. Those three years were amazing and eye opening for me. I loved my job more than ever"

 Describe your experience as a doctor and working in Germany.
I have been working in Germany for 2 years now and I have to say it has been challenging. On both the language level and the professional level. But my practice years in Cameroon definitely helped me distinguish my self amongst others. The German system is different in a way that you do not have
evaluations or yearly exams. You have an exam at the end of your 5 year training so good luck if you
are lazy. You have to set your own study program and your own practical goals. They give you guidelines so its up to you to follow it or not. That to me was a big challenge at the beginning. Not
having anyone checking my progress. But I have a goal in life so I stay true to it.

Did you have to learn German and how easy or difficult was it to learn?
In order for one to work in Germany one has to speak German. No language is easy, especially German but I love languages so I learned it pretty fast. It normally takes a year to learn and to be able to communicate but some people learn faster.

How fluent is your German and has communication with patients or relatives been easy since you learned the language.
I have a C1 German level and that is good enough for me to communicate with my patients and colleagues. But I did take a special language course for doctors to learn medical German, which I recommend for any non-German speaking doctor.

 What do you like most about working in Germany?
I like the fact that they trust me and respect my opinion. I have only worked in one hospital so I cannot really speak for the whole of Germany. There is also a system that works, this makes working as doctor very easy regardless of other hurdles.

 What attracted you to obstetrics and gynecology?
We had a great teachers in my 4th year of clinical rotation in obstetrics and gynecology, they made it so easy for me to learn. I was amazed by how a doctor could care for two patients at the same time (mother and child). The beauty of child bearing and child birth attracted me most. I really enjoy the obstetrics side of things.

 How long is residency in obstetrics and gynecology and do you have to take any exams before you become a consultant?
The residency program takes about 5 years and there is an exam to take at the end which is the only evaluation programme through out the years of training.

 Are there opportunities to do anything else other than clinical medicine?
Yes there is the opportunity to do research during or after the residency program. Unfortunately I do
not have much information about it.

What kind of visa is issued to foreign trained doctors looking to pursue a career in Germany
There are different ways to enter the country. One could come for a language course, or for an internship or best case both combined.

 What is immigration like, do you get restricted work hours with the visa given?
When a foreign doctor has received his/her equivalence and work permit, he/she works just like a
German doctor. No restrictions so it makes it easy to go through the system.

Finally, what advise do you have for aspiring trainees looking to  pursue a career in
Germany.
Getting recognised as a doctor in German takes time (2-3 years). I always advise colleagues to start learning the language at  home before coming to Germany so it can shorten the waiting process. You definitely need to be patient and not give up.



About Mute Akpomedaye

Mute Akpomedaye
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