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Never too young to be successful
In many European countries it can take as many as 10 years of medical training to become a qualified practitioner. Candidates often have to wait years before securing a research position in a clinic, with even longer waits before being able to take over managerial tasks. Increasingly, such responsible positions are a distant dream for the majority of doctors and a good salary is often not to be expected before turning 50.
As a top student at the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry section of the University of Palermo, Italy, Viviana Porcari always wanted to gain first hand experience in the field of mental health and undertake work as a researcher. Fulfilling a long term ambition, Viviana studied psychiatry for a year at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), USA, spending time in the specialist ‘trauma centre’ there. Gaining an inside view of American standards and procedures in the practice of mental health therapy, she enjoyed working in a multicultural environment and was enthusiastic about reaching the highest international standards in her work.
Once back in Italy, “I discovered the warmth of the ‘old’ continent, but also the discomfort associated with the general slow progress of medical careers,” Viviana says. Eager to undertake a new professional challenge, she began looking for employment opportunities abroad, but this time within Europe. Just six months before her specialisation studies in Palermo were due to finish, she found out about a recruitment campaign jointly organised by EURES Pavia, the British Embassy in Rome and the South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for Italian Psychiatrists. Without hesitation, she contacted Aurora Scalora, a EURES Adviser and one of the coordinators of the recruitment campaign. Aurora helped Viviana to highlight her good qualifications and appropriate profile in her CV and prepared her for the interviews to come.
Viviana’s first interview in English went well, with the NHS Foundation Trust covering her costs for a two-day visit to the clinic in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, UK. Here she toured the facilities and met the key staff members providing mental health services for the county. “I liked the professionalism of the clinic’s employees and the up to date medical technology they were using,” says Viviana. “I felt that the NHS Foundation Trust would be an ideal working environment and I knew then that I would have to study hard to pass my exams and the final interview to get here.”
For the next six months Viviana kept in touch with Aurora Scalora, who had been updating her on the selection process and the activities of the NHS Foundation Trust. Then came the final hurdle in the form of a demanding final interview session, where Viviana had 30 minutes to field questions and put the knowledge gained in her eleven years of studies to good effect. Her perseverance, hard work, courage and optimism had finally paid off and a few weeks later she was delighted to receive word that she’d got the job.
“I’m really happy with the work I’m doing at the clinic in Southend-on-Sea in Essex. I’ve registered for an additional programme in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I’ll shortly be attending a prestigious management course held by professors from Yale University,” says Viviana, after one and half years spent in the UK. “It was thanks to the EURES Adviser Aurora Scalora, the British Embassy in Rome and the NHS Foundation Trust staff that I’ve realised my professional dream. I’ve still got many ambitions and I’m more confident today about fulfilling them. I have a wonderful life now, my own apartment, two cats, and many genuine friends. Sometimes I miss my beautiful Italy, but I’m happy that I did not have to leave Europe behind to further my career and make my dream come true.”