Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why You Don't Want to be an IMG*

Here is a little taste of how you are treated by Canadian universities--below is a timeline of correspondences that started last August when I was offered an elective (by the head of the department) for four weeks this summer. 

Anytime I'd email the hospital staff I'd get prompt, professional replies. When I'd email a question to the university in charge of overseeing this elective every reply started like this (I am the one who put things in bold):

The &*& Visiting Elective Office will not accept any email registrations until after February 1st, 2012 for April 2012 onwards.  I will not be keeping  a copy of this email so please email again on or after Feb 1, 2012 to officially register for this elective. 

(This in reply to a question regarding police record checks--i.e. do I need one from Ireland or from Canada or from both?)

Visiting student applications for the clerkship year April 09, 2012 – February 28, 2013 can only be considered after February 1, 2012. (There are no visiting electives between Feb 27 - April 08, 2012.) Please get in touch with me again at that time and I will provide you with department contact information. Thank you for your understanding.
  
That was a little annoying. But I rolled with it.

When the hospital coordinator emailed my offer and dates to the university a few days before Feb 1st the reply came to me:

 I will not be keeping  a copy of this email so please email again on or after Feb 1, 2012 with the department confirmation (email below from *&* is fine) to officially register for this elective.

So that was a little frustrating. But I just chalked it up to normal university proceedings and waited for the magical day that I could send my offer of elective email....again

Feb 1st rolls around. I send in my offer letter. Hear nothing for two days and then get...

Visiting student applications for the clerkship year April 09, 2012 – February 28, 2013 could only be considered after February 1, 2012. Once the mandatory rotation schedules for the next class had been distributed to the departments. As such applications for visiting electives opened Feb 1, 2012.

Thank you for your message requesting elective time at the University of &*&.  Unfortunately, with the increase in the number of our own students we are no longer in a position to accommodate all of the requests we get from visiting students. On Jan 30, 2012 UMEC has just passed a motion that is effective immediately that at the present time we accept applications (medical students) from LCME accredited international medical schools. With the increase in the number of U of &*& and Canadian medical students, it is felt that we can no longer accommodate students other than those from LCME Accredited schools. LCME Accredited schools are only in Canada and the US. Please go to the LCME website for a list of LCME accredited medical schools - http://www.lcme.org/directry.htm

Therefore your elective has been cancelled.  

Repeat.
I would suggest that you try one of the larger medical schools in Eastern Canada to see if they would be able to assist you.

 
I suspect s/he is referring to those Eastern Canadian schools which rejected my applications in the FALL because all the electives were already full there. Thanks, tips, for the help! 

And thanks for the apology for pulling the rug out this late in the game. Oh wait, there was no apology. 

Here are some simple equations for the uninitiated: IMG + electives in Canada = possible shot at Canadian residency

IMG + no Canadian electives = Would You Like Fries With That? + MD + $300 000 Debt. 

It does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I think about how hard I am trying to get back to a country that doesn't want me. 

Oh, Canada


---

*International Medical Graduate

20 comments:

NurseJannie said...

Oh. My. God. This is insane. I really, really hope that things will work out for you in the end.

Albinoblackbear said...

Thanks, yep. I could have actually done a montage with all the emails from various university admin's with regards to electives. It is all in a similar vein. Unbelievable.

Beach Bum said...

It totally sucks! You have a FB message (or two)...courage!

Solitary Diner said...

So sorry to hear this. I've been participating with interviews for new residents recently, and the IMGs all had very similar experiences. It does work out for many of them, though - we have a number of IMGs in my internal medicine program, and my attending at the moment is an Ireland grad who did his residency training at my university. Wishing you the best with this.

And if it's any consolation, many of the university administrators are rude to Canadian grads too. I'm currently applying for visiting electives, and two of the schools haven't even had the courtesy to reply to me.

Albinoblackbear said...

BB--Thanks for that, will check the FB! :)

SD--Well it is always good to hear about CSA's getting jobs / interviews back in the Motherland...though I fear the competition is getting so fierce I may have to start a NGO and tap-dance into my interview while developing an AIDS vaccine to actually land a spot (esp if I apply for surg...).

Amazing how we must always represent the epitome of professionalism to the schools, yet it is alright to treat us with zero professional courtesy. Oh dear, if I keep ranting I'll have to take this post down....better stop!! hahah

Liana said...

I'm sorry. That sucks.

Have you tried Saskatchewan? There seem to be a lot of IMGs in Regina. I've met quite a few first year residents who managed to snag electives here as med students.

NP Odyssey said...

What about south of the border. Out here in the San Francisco area international med students are everywhere. Seattle would be closer to BC, or any metro area.

Albinoblackbear said...

NPO--I have actually looked into all the med programs in San Fran 'hood. None take intl students for electives. I haven't checked out Seattle though, that is a good point.

I am going to scramble in Canada for now and then look at the US (only because my USMLE Step 1 score is def not high enough to be competitive for surg.)

If my USMLE score was aces I'd probably peace-out on Canada completely...

Albinoblackbear said...

Hey--Avidasystolereader--thanks so much for your comments, thoughts, and suggestions. Much appreciated!

Don't know how else to contact you so...cheers for that. Glad you enjoy the blog! I will definitely look into those links.

Albinoblackbear said...

P.S Avid I don't know why your comment didn't show up here, I did receive it through my inbox...

Sarah said...

That sounds awful and stressful. I'm so sorry you're getting the runaround.

PGYx said...

Do all of the IMGs who make it really get Canadian rotation experience?

Keeping fingers and toes crossed that all the obstacles lead to the right open door (and I truly believe they will)!

Ryan said...

ABB, this path to (and through) medical school has been fraught with these kinds of difficulties, but you've always managed to perserve and find a solution. It's amazing and infuriating how hard they're making it for you, but I'm sure you'll find your way through one. more. layer. of bureacratic bullshit.

Allison said...

There's another place that's quite close to Canada- Detroit. Check out Henry Ford Hospital. Lots and lots of IMGs here, at all hospitals in Detroit.

NP Odyssey said...

Not sure how the elective thing works, but it sounds like you have plenty of experience. Too bad, I talk with many international students mostly seem to be out of Asia and South America, but they must be permanent. We could use a few more exotic Canadians down here.

Absentbabinski said...

Come to the UK! - It may not be Canada, but parts of Yorkshire are pretty rugged :)

Keet said...

I'm with Absentbabinski, I'm sure that we could accomodate you somewhere here in London. We could revisit the good ole days, (except now I have OCD re: bathroom cleaning), it would be kick ass. LONDON CALLING!!!

Jessica said...

I live in a smaller community between London and Windsor, Ontario. We just recently started an affiliation with the Schulich School of Medicine (in London). Perhaps you could look into that? We are considered an under serviced area, so if you agree to stay in the community for five years after you graduate, they are eager to have you! And do provide some compensation, too.

I'm not involved in the medical recruitment process, but do work at the local hospital. I've got some contact information if you are interested.

Must be frustrating! After all, we have tons of foreign-born and trained doctors in the area, who's first language is not English, and who don't have any ties to Canada, yet here they are, working. You're a Canadian citizens eager to come back to Canada and provide an essential service, and you're getting the run around. Something is broken in the system....

fARSIGHT said...

Yes it is frustrating. I am an IMG too and am trying to apply for an elective in Canada next year. One of the universities requires me to have a vulnerable sector check. I have contacted both the regional police where I used to live and the RCMP, and they both stated that it is impossible to perform such check unless I am physically in Canada.

Right, that certainly is all within the realm of possibility. The university in question will just have to explain to my med school why I need to take a couple of weeks off in the middle of clinical rotations to fly back to Canada for the sole purpose of doing this check, and maybe footing the expensive plane tickets as well. *facepalm*

Albinoblackbear said...

@Jessica--thanks for that, will let you know.

@fArsight--Send me an email and I'll let you know how I got around that.