Professional Challenges of Non-US-Born International Medical Graduates and Recommendations for Support During Residency Training

Division of Health Policy and Administration, Yale University School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8088, USA.
Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges (Impact Factor: 3.47). 09/2011; 86(11):1383-8. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823035e1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite a long history of international medical graduates (IMGs) coming to the United States for residencies, little research has been done to find systematic ways in which residency programs can support IMGs during this vulnerable transition. The authors interviewed a diverse group of IMGs to identify challenges that might be eased by targeted interventions provided within the structure of residency training.
In a qualitative study conducted between March 2008 and April 2009, the authors contacted 27 non-U.S.-born IMGs with the goal of conducting qualitative interviews with a purposeful sample. The authors conducted in-person, in-depth interviews using a standardized interview guide with potential probes. All participants were primary care practitioners in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.
A total of 25 IMGs (93%) participated. Interviews and subsequent analysis produced four themes that highlight challenges faced by IMGs: (1) Respondents must simultaneously navigate dual learning curves as immigrants and as residents, (2) IMGs face insensitivity and isolation in the workplace, (3) IMGs' migration has personal and global costs, and (4) IMGs face specific needs as they prepare to complete their residency training. The authors used these themes to inform recommendations to residency directors who train IMGs.
Residency is a period in which key elements of professional identity and behavior are established. IMGs are a significant and growing segment of the physician workforce. Understanding particular challenges faced by this group can inform efforts to strengthen support for them during postgraduate training.

Download full-text


Available from: Peggy Chen, Jul 01, 2015
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Historically, overseas-qualified doctors have been essential for meeting service needs in the UK National Health Service (NHS). However, these doctors encounter many cultural differences, in relation to training, the healthcare system and the doctor-patient relationship and training. Aim: To examine whether Hofstede's cultural model may help us understand the changes doctors from other countries experience on coming to work in the UK, and to identify implications for supervisors and clinical teams. Method: Telephone interviews were conducted with overseas medical graduates before starting work as a Foundation Year One (F1) doctor, followed up after four months and 12 months; and with educational supervisors. Data were analysed using a confirmatory thematic approach. Results: Sixty-four initial interviews were conducted with overseas doctors, 56 after four months, and 32 after 12 months. Twelve interviews were conducted with educational supervisors. The changes doctors experienced related particularly to Hofstede's dimensions of power distance (e.g. in relation to workplace hierarchies and inter-professional relationships), uncertainty avoidance (e.g. regarding ways of interacting) and individualism-collectivism (e.g., regarding doctor-patient/family relationship; assertiveness of individuals). Conclusion: Hofstede's cultural dimensions may help us understand the adaptations some doctors have to make in adjusting to working in the UK NHS. This may promote awareness and understanding and greater 'cultural competence' amongst those working with them or supervising them in their training.
    Medical Teacher 06/2013; 35(10). DOI:10.3109/0142159X.2013.802298 · 2.05 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Health information technology (HIT) holds promise for improving the quality of health care and reducing health care system inefficiencies. Numerous studies have examined HIT availability, specifically electronic health records (EHRs), and utilization among physicians in individual countries. However, no one has examined EHR use among physicians who train in one country and move to practice in another country. In the United States, physicians who complete medical school outside the country but practice within the United States are commonly referred to as International Medical Graduates (IMGs). IMGs have a growing presence in the United States, yet little is known about the availability and use of HIT among these physicians. The purpose of this study is to explore the availability and use of HIT among IMGs practicing in United States. The Health Tracking Physician Survey (2008) was used to examine the relationship between availability and use of HIT and IMG status controlling for several physician and practice characteristics. Our analysis included responses from 4,720 physicians, 20.7% of whom were IMGs. Using logistic regression, controlling for physician gender, specialty, years in practice, practice type, ownership status and geographical location, we found IMGs were significantly less likely to have a comprehensive EHR in their practices (OR = 0.84; p = 0.005). In addition, findings indicate that IMGs are more likely to have and use several so-called first generation HIT capabilities, such as reminders for clinicians about preventive services (OR = 1.31; p = 0.001) and other needed patient follow-up (OR = 1.26; p = 0.007). This study draws attention to the need for further research regarding barriers to HIT adoption and use among IMGs.
    Advances in Health Care Management 01/2012; 12:121-40. DOI:10.1108/S1474-8231(2012)0000012010
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: In the United States (U.S.), international medical graduates (IMGs) and American medical graduates (AMGs) confront work-related and adjustment challenges during post-graduate year one (PGY-1) of residency. Aim: To understand the challenges that IMGs and AMGs confronted during PGY-1 of a U.S. pediatric residency program from the perspective of the residents themselves. Methods: A purposive sample of PGY-1, PGY-2, and PGY-3 residents participated in three semi-structured focus groups (N = 18). The data were analyzed inductively using a grounded theory approach to identify and verify emergent themes. Results: IMGs confronted work-related and adjustment challenges during PGY-1 that included practicing medicine in the U.S., communicating with medical supervisors and nursing staff, communicating with patients, and relocating to the U.S. AMGs confronted work-related challenges that included medical decision-making and medical licensing. Conclusion: The work-related and adjustment challenges that IMGs and AMGs confronted during PGY-1 suggest that the culture of residency socializes IMGs and AMGs regarding professional expectations and responsibilities. Increased awareness of this socialization process among residency program directors, and interventions based on concrete recommendations, can help enhance PGY-1 for IMGs and AMGs across the medical specialties.
    Medical Teacher 06/2013; DOI:10.3109/0142159X.2013.802297 · 2.05 Impact Factor