Mind the gap
Many doctors leave their country of training to work in the United States. US graduates get first choice, in terms of specialty and location, and international trainees are often left filling the gaps, says Ellen M Soffin
These days, a medical qualification is a portable asset-and rightly so. After all, the systemic immune response to infection or the way bone heals after fracture is basically the same anywhere in the world. Since the 1940s, doctors have been emigrating to the United States in considerable numbers, and a recent report shows that the US is one of the most popular destinations for doctors who leave their country of training to practice elsewhere.1
The Student BMJ has published many articles for international medical graduates about the process of getting a residency training post in the US (see box). Endless advice explains about how to pass the qualifying exams; how to get US clinical experience; and how to find residency programmes that are “international medical graduate-friendly.” But few reports show where international medical graduates are practicing and in what specialties and why.
The celebrated American dream of “freedom and opportunity”