Dr Elif Ezgi

Image: Dr Elif Ezgi

In 2016 I decided to move abroad and I decided on the UK because I knew the language and it was easier for me. I took the IELTS and PLAB exams and applied for jobs. I had a couple of offers and I ended up in Hull because it seemed less expensive than other parts of the UK.  

It’s not career progression that motivated me to move. In fact I went backwards because I was a consultant back home and I’m working as registrar here now and none of my training is recognised.

I have a daughter and she was four-and-a-half when I decided to leave. I was not happy with the politics in Turkey and the status of women’s rights. I wanted my daughter to have other opportunities. I just wanted to change her life rather than mine.

It’s a completely different system, a completely different culture. I was questioning myself, my abilities, my knowledge because it’s weird in the beginning. But then I think it made me even stronger. I adapted quite quickly.

The first few weeks of the Covid pandemic were quite chaotic. Nobody knew what to do. Back then the advice was that you don’t have to wear masks. We were told it’s okay if you wash hands and keep your distance from the patient, which is practically impossible because you have to examine the patient. In the first couple of months, I wasn’t able to sleep; it was quite stressful. 

I had a night shift with one of my colleagues who was coughing constantly. A few days later, I got tested and found out I was positive for Covid. I was exhausted and couldn’t get out of bed.

On day three, I couldn’t smell anything and I couldn’t taste anything. Then my husband started with the symptoms and my daughter had the virus too, but she was asymptomatic. Thankfully we all recovered quickly.

I’m now back at work. I’m working 12-hour shifts and I worked three weekends consecutively in June. When you have children and a family it’s not very easy because your family wants to be with you after school.

I feel a little bit guilty about not being a good enough mother, not a good enough doctor, not a good enough everything. But hopefully it's going to be a little bit better as the Covid cases fall.