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: 2.93). 09/2011; 86(11):1383-8. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823035e1
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "However, the opposite is demonstrated by the findings of Baer et al. [13]. An earlier study conducted in the USA found that foreign-born GPs were less satisfied with primary health care work than native GPs [14]. A previous Finnish study found that the intent to leave a job is more prevalent among foreign-born GPs than Finnish GPs [15]. "
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    • "The patient-centred approach emphasised in the UK can be at odds with the focus of regulators in many countries (Rand 2009), with doctors' own cultural values and experience (Manderson & Allotey 2003; Hall et al. 2004; Jaffrey & Faroqui 2005; Hamilton 2009; Slowther et al. 2009; Chen et al. 2011; Dahm 2011; Slowther et al. 2012) and with patients' expectations of consultations or the physician-patient power dynamic (Dorgan et al. 2009; Hamilton 2009). Communicating emotional support for patients can be a challenge for doctors who have graduated overseas (Fiscella et al. 1997; Hawken 2005). "
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