Locums for a Small World Blog

The unique benefits of practicing healthcare in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Guam

Posted by Kari Redfield

Thinking about exploring another part of the world, while working and gaining valuable career experience? Global Medical Staffing can help make it happen.

We place physicians in first-world countries for six-month to one-year assignments (and shorter assignments in U.S. territories) — and as part of our services, we handle all the logistics of securing the assignment, your visa, and any necessary professional credentials. And, in most of our international assignments, we pay for your airfare, housing and transportation.

The reasons physicians choose a particular part of the world vary, so it pays to learn about the differences in healthcare systems, along with the unique benefits these places offer.

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Australia: Good pay and plenty of travel opportunities

Physicians in Australia make good money, similar to what doctors make in the U.S. That’s a big part of the draw for physicians doing locum tenens there — that and the boundless travel potential.

In Australia, the remote areas need physicians (not the urban centers), which means locum tenens physicians on assignment in Australia practice in facilities similar to those found in rural areas in the U.S. (adequate but not super high-tech).

“Typically, physicians decide to take a locum tenens placement in Australia in order to make good money while traveling extensively all around the country and region,” explains Matt Brown, director of Global Medical Staffing’s international division.

Australia provides universal healthcare to citizens, so locum tenens physicians can see high case loads but get paid a pre-negotiated salary that eliminates the hassle of medical billing.

“Our international locum tenens physicians often tell us that they desire a break from private health insurance billing — and they get that in Australia and in most of our international placements,” Brown says.

Three doctors share what it’s like to work locum tenens assignments in Australia.

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New Zealand: A slower pace of life in a gorgeous, wild country

Many of New Zealand’s home-trained doctors (1 in 6) go to other countries like Australia for better compensation, which results in a need for physicians throughout all of New Zealand.

“This provides numerous opportunities for visiting physicians in both urban and rural areas,” Brown says.

In fact, any qualified physician who wishes to live like a local in New Zealand for six to 12 months should be able to go, as New Zealand needs physicians in all medical specialties.

Other benefits: great weather, friendly people, and skills that easily transfer. “New Zealand makes it really easy for visiting doctors,” Brown explains.

“The pay is much lower than what a U.S.-practicing doctor makes, so physicians go to New Zealand for the experience,” says Brown. “They go for the lifestyle of being able to walk right out their door into nature to hike and to surf, to travel extensively, and to get back to the roots of practicing real medicine. Every doctor loves their time there.”

Find out how this physician found a new love for medicine while on assignment in New Zealand.

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Guam and the U.S. territories: Toehold into Asia

Guam and the Pacific Islands use the U.S. healthcare system, so the quality of care and the way practices operate are identical to U.S. rural areas, making it easy for physicians to adjust.

Because visas and special licenses aren’t required, since Guam is a U.S. territory, doctors who decide to take an assignment can go for a short time while earning the same high wages as they would in the continental U.S.

“Guam is close to everything you would want to see in Asia, making it a perfect way to access all of Asia for travel and exploration. Because of the similarities in pay and assignment duration, going to Guam looks more like what taking a locum tenens assignment within the continental U.S. looks like,” Brown says.

Get one doctor’s take here.

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Canada: Good work/life balance, good pay, pretty places

In Canada, healthcare operates as a single-payer government system with some private hospitals and clinics too. Locum tenens physicians earn a similar salary as they would in the U.S. The quality of care and the facilities rank high, but physicians work with large case loads. That said, many locum tenens physicians report that Canadian physicians experience a better work/life balance and lower burnout rates than U.S. physicians. Additionally, assignments can take physicians to especially beautiful places.

We offer two scenarios in Canada:

  1. The typical international locum tenens situation where you’re not responsible for client billings and instead receive a pre-negotiated salary.
  2. A longer-term model. “Physicians can own part of the practice and begin to set up their long-term home in the community,” Brown says.

We can arrange for a Canadian citizen to begin practicing in Canada within two weeks. For a U.S. doctor, it takes three to six months to get everything, such as visas and licenses approved, but, as with all our international placements, we secure these for you.

Take the leap

If you’re considering an international placement, we can help you turn your dream into reality.

“Reach out to us with what you want your adventure, downtime, and medical practice to look like, and we can help you find the perfect fit,” says Brown. “Helping place physicians in the right assignments is what we do.

Click the button below to browse our current opportunities. Or just pick up the phone and give us a call at 1.800.760.3174.  

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Topics: New Zealand, Locum Tenens, Canada, Guam, Pacific Islands, Australia, Health systems

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