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American attitudes to non-American doctors

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by miscalculated, Sep 2, 2002.

  1. miscalculated

    miscalculated Senior Member
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    After reading a few threads on this forum I've got the impression that American medical students look down their noses at foreign graduates and even label us FMGs/IMGs. I get the feeling there is a lot of stigma attached to this "FMG/IMG" term and that American students think their medical degree is the only one worth having. But what about doctors from other economically developed countries like Great Britain, Ireland, France and Germany? Are our medical degrees seen as inferior?
     
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  3. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I don't think degrees from developed countries (UK/Ireland/AUS/France/etc) are regarded as inferior, but I would always be prepared to deal with American arrogance. I can't say that there aren't those who think US med ed is the most superior, but I haven't really met any who lord over others based on education. There's quite a lot of FMG's in the US. I think the main stigma may be between US and caribbean students, but generally the ones educated in developed (and English-speaking) countries do not encounter that type of thinking.
     
  4. will_lam

    will_lam Junior Member
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    Aarrgghh?.do we really have to get into this again? Doesn?t anyone use the search feature to get answers from previous posts? The reality is that there is no definitive answer to this question.

    First off it?s impossible and pretty foolish to generalize about the American medical community from a message board comprised mainly, if not entirely, from pre-med students, medical students, and physicians still in training. The American medical community, like the U.S. itself, is too vast and too diverse to ever allow for a single, convenient stereotype.

    Is there some arrogance with respect to an American medical degree? Yes. But don?t try and tell me this type of discrimination doesn?t exist in Britain (or Canada or Australia etc?). When I was in England last year there were plenty of reports from foreign-educated doctors unable to climb the ranks of the NHS with the same ease as their British-educated counterparts. This may not necessarily be arrogance, but rather the fact that there is a general level of confidence and control with respect their own level of training whereas it?s nearly impossible to compare or guarantee these same standards within another country?s medical education. Every time the U.K. government talked about bringing over doctors from Spain or North America the British Medical Association released a statement explaining why this wouldn?t work and how it would be bad for the public. People tend to protect their own. America and Britain are no different in this way. There is arrogance, but putting it all down to this is inaccurate.

    The more complicated issue is in respect to IMG?s already in the American medical system. There will never be a universal consensus on this issue because some choose to put all IMG?s on the same level while others choose to make distinctions based upon various factors. The general belief (and please note that I am not advocating or stating this as a fact of truth) is that those IMG?s who couldn?t get into US medical schools and therefore attended one of the many for-profit offshore schools located in the Caribbean can face a certain amount of stigma upon their return. As far as IMG?s from foreign countries go, some believe there are distinctions made such as English speaking vs. non-English speaking countries or developed vs. undeveloped nations. Within this theory, an IMG from the U.K. or Australia may be treated differently from one coming from India or China. Again, all of this is speculation based purely on unofficial trends or opinions because under the law there are no differences between IMG?s, regardless of their nation of origin or country of training. From my own experience, I do believe that there are distinctions made between IMG's based on the criteria above, but this is just my thinking and it should mean nothing to someone whose experiences are bound to be different from my own. Ask 25 different doctors about IMG?s and their role in U.S. healthcare and I can almost guarantee you will get 25 completely different answers. There really is no single underlying truth or belief that can accurately answer your questions.

    That said, while there may be a collective stigma towards IMG?s held by the medical system in the U.S. (and in Britain and elsewhere), most doctors I have come across treat the physician in front of them as an individual, not as part of some larger unseen group. Ultimately you will be judged by your ability to perform.

    Please don?t let this turn into one of the many ?us vs. them? debates that are already present in sufficient number in this forum. Hopefully this thread stays civil or ends quickly.
     
  5. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    In my years working professionally with doctors trained both in the U.S. and abroad, I never noticed any discrimination or derogatory comments made. This, in part, was determining in my decision not to waste any more time and money with AMCAS and apply directly to the Caribbean.

    Doctors are doctors, no matter where you train.

    -Skip
     
  6. USMedStudent

    USMedStudent Member
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    Trust me, that's the least of your concern unless you want to become Chairman or Dean of a US med school later.

    You'll be too busy to find time to sleep in your residency to care how your colleagues THINK about you. I know of a woman who went to a med school nobody ever heard of in Pakistan, took the USMLE-1 7 times before passing, and now are doing just as competently if not better than the rest of the resident crowd. She's additionally the most caring individual I've known in my life, and at the end of the day that's what counts not only to me but to the entire staff. Maybe a bit of inferiorily complex makes FMGs more caring than the domestic graduates. I don't know.

    A few years later, you'll be too busy working as a board-certified doc, and caring for your family, to pay attention to who is saying what when where about you.
     
  7. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Ooohhooo hoo hoo. I DEFINITELY don't think FMG's have an inferiority complex whatsoever. Caring people are just caring by nature. I don't think status has anything to do with that.
     
  8. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    I think, regarding IMGs, this website pretty much and literally says all that needs to be said about the matter:

    http://www.aaimg.com/words/index.html

    -Skip
    MS2 Ross University
    Portsmouth, Dominica
     
  9. volvulus

    volvulus Senior Member
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    As a us med student I have no problems with people who trained in europe and countries of their origin. But I think what me and my fellow US students look down upon are US citizens who go to the caribs for med school. Why would you leave the US and go to to a third world country to train? The weakest residents that I have seen at our hospital are from the carribean. But some of the best I have seen come from Europe and India. My two cents.
     

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