Monday, September 3, 2012

Need Not Apply

This is what it feels like to be an IMG in the medical community:

Clostridium difficile 

I found out this weekend that I am inelegible to apply to the UK for internship.

Is this some kind of sick joke??
Yes, if you are not a UK, Irish or EU citizen then you need to write the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board exam) which ensures you have a basic grasp of the English language and basic clinical medicine. The downer is that I can't write it while still in medical school which means I am not eligible to meet the criteria to apply for internship. Annoying because Irish students don't have to write it, yet...I am going to graduate from an Irish medical school.

I was really getting excited about the prospect of possibly going to the UK if Canada didn't work out, so having another post-graduate door tightly closed in my face really is starting to get to me.

I feel like standing on top of something large and yelling,

"HEY! Will someone just GIVE me a CHANCE?!? 

I am competent and eager and ridiculously excited about medicine!!!"

It is so hard to stay positive and upbeat about things. I am working really, really hard studying for the Canadian exams, working on CaRMS, doing my current school work, applying for more electives...and sometimes I just feel like it is for nothing. It feels like no one will even consider me as a legitimate applicant because I have a big NEON sign that says, 


over my head. 

Ok. I am done ranting for now. I am letting it go. No sense regretting things from the past and no point worrying about the future. 

My only request is that if you happen to see an IMG walking around your neighborhood you should give them a hug. And tell them not to let The Man get them down.   


Anne said...

So sorry.
Virtual hug, and real best wishes.

MDToBe said...

Big hug! Sorry to hear about this, that sucks. From reading your blog since you were an MS-I, I can tell you're an awesome candidate and anywhere that can get you would be lucky to have you. Hope things start looking up soon!

PGYx said...

Virtual hug from the East Coast of the U.S.

Does this mean you could take a year off, write the PLAB, and apply for UK internship next year? While this may not seem ideal now, I know a couple of people who have taken a year off between med school and internship (and ended up happier for it).

Hope you get the internship you want this year. Sounds like universe is working hard to direct you to a very specific place by closing any distractingly open doors.

Anonymous said...

Big Hugs from across the Atlantic. CaRMS is a cruel mistress, and it tends to beat the crap out of even the strongest candidates.

Remember how awesome you are, and remember that as a Canadian citizen, you DO have a leg up on a lot of the other IMG's.

Skype/phone sometime this week?

S said...

From one fellow IMG to another, ::HUG::

I've been told it gets better, but I'm still waiting for that to happen!

Allie2 said...

Love your blog, sorry to hear of your worries.

This is the time for using every contact you have back in Canada to help you get back there. Family, friends, former colleagues - you don't yet know who has the contacts that will help you get a training place, so put out a call to everyone to say you are looking for a training place. Specify your preferred type(s) of training and the date you want to start, but don't put any other restrictions on where, how, etc.

Send out an email to every contact you have back in Canada: do they have any contacts in medic training programmes? Can they ask around for information which might help you?

This is not the moment to be shy, or worried about asking for favours. If you get into a training programme in Canada as a result, you will have plenty of opportunity to pay them back or pay them on.

Liana said...

Ouch. Wish there was something I could do to help.

Anonymous said...


Albinoblackbear said...


It was really nice to find so many lovely comments of support on the blog today.

This makes the blog effort worth it, big time.

Much appreciated. <3

Dr. Courtney said...

Aww I'm sorry to hear that. I know it must be incredibly frustrating. I'm worried about that as well. I've been thinking about doing residency in Canada since I've recently fallen in love with Montreal. I was wondering though, I know you're a Canandian citizen, who attends med school in Ireland, I noticed that you didn't say anything about doing an internship in the U.S. Any particuliar reason why? I've always curious to know poeple's reasonings for choosing countries of for training and/or practicing.

Hope everything gets better! :)

Anonymous said...

Keep your head up, things will work out! Best wishes.
-the Daily Medical Examiner

NPO said...

Sorry about the speed-bump in your career journey. I will stay positive that things will work out.
Similar to Dr. C, I am curious as to applications in the States. Is that not something you want to do?

Albinoblackbear said...

@Dr.C and NPO: There were a handful of reasons why I opted to not apply to the US this year.

1) I didn't do as well on USMLE as I'd hoped so I figured I wouldn't be a very competitive candidate (especially as I am leaning towards specialties)

2) Money. It would have cost me about an extra $5000 to study and write the steps 2 and 3.

3) I wanted to focus my energy, time, studies, on getting back to Canada. CaRMS is going to be a big enough time sink on its own.

4) If you match in the US then you get pulled out of the 2nd iteration match in Canada.

5) I decided that if I ended up in Ireland for internship I would write steps 2/3 and apply next year.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how that feels. I'm an EU citizen technically, but I grew up in international schools around Asia. That means that I was classified as an international student when I came to study occupational therapy in the UK. Which, in turn, means that I wasn't allowed any NHS placements, missing out on a lot of the basic clinical experiences that everyone else got while I was put in very specialist private/charity placements. I've just graduated and am applying for jobs. A lot of them say that NHS experience is essential, which means I probably won't get any of the jobs I'm currently applying for just in case they'll give me a chance.