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FunkyMedic

US Embassy PA positions

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Has anybody here had experience working for the state department as a PA in a foreign US Embassy. I am starting school in Aug. and my ultimate goal is to work somewhere in a European/Eastern European US Embassy.  I was hoping to work a rural ED for a few years (3-5) as well a look for a PRN gig in an UC, gain experience and pay down some debt and begin applying through the US foreign services. My wife Bulgarian and our ultimate goal is find a PA position where she can be closer to her family (some now in Germany and others in Bulgaria). I am Ex-military and from what I understand the foreign service is similar in terms of contracts, meaning the longer you've been there the better chance you have of getting your preferred duty station. I have no problem working places like Africa, Middle East, Asia, South America for a few years if need be.  If anybody has any experience working in an embassy clinic I would love to hear the positive and negative aspects of your job, what your day to day life was like, how difficult was the hiring/clearing process, did you ever feel concerned for your family's safety any complications with maintaining certifications and legalities of overseas practice and what experiences/education you think may be beneficial for somebody looking to go that route.  Thanks everybody.

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A good friend of mine is on his 3rd 2 yr stint with the state dept as a PA. typically 1st assignment is Africa. 2nd is eastern europe or south America. you get more choice for #3 and thereafter. he loves it. I think I would like the travel aspect, but be bored otherwise. he says he sees 10 pts/month with the vast majority being minor. he also has to do all the environmental safety stuff for the embassy like check water purifiers and fire extinguishers, do kitchen safety evals, etc. He is prior military and this is a bridge to retirement for him after years as an ortho and em pa.

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If I were a new graduate, this would be my direction. Applied once, but my life was too complicated by that time.

 

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I'm also starting PA school in August as well, but in my prior career I found myself working as a "medical consultant" located out of a US Embassy and I have seen how a Foreign Service Medical Officer works.

Where I was located we had a US trained MD and a local Doc working with some administrative assistance and a local nurse - all of whom were well educated and professional.  Unfortunately we did not have a PA/NP working but from what I understand the size of the diplomatic mission dictates exactly how they are staffed.  Typically the Embassy has a primary medical officer plus additional medical providers as needed but the primary will spend time TDY (traveling) to other Embassies in the region since Doc's specialize and an Embassy cannot hire one provider for every specialty.  My first trip we had a cardiologist that functioned as a Regional Medical Officer and he spent most of his time each month on the road in other countries seeing patients at other Embassies.  

I have also thought about an Embassy gig at some point, but to be honest I want to see as many patients as I can early on in my career since that is really the most formative stage.  From my experience the patient load at an Embassy is minimal compared to a practice in the states.  NOT saying the job is not tough and that FSMP's do not earn their keep, it is just a different context to practice medicine in because there is a litany of other tasks associated with Embassy work and I posted a link to an application so you can see what they expect if you have not already.

As far as the family deal, an embassy gig can be pretty cool but, it depends on the country's status as a hardship tour and if it is considered permissive or not as to whether they will let you bring your family along.  The country I was in was considered a hardship tour but it was a permissive environment (mostly) and everyone there had their families with them.    

Not trying to rain on your paraded, I just thought I could share some of my experience to help you ask the right questions when the time comes.  

https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/career-tracks/medical-provider/

 

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