Hey, Below is an article that I found on line about IMGs going to nursing school at the Florida International University. Seems like a nice career alternative for you guys. Rather than get stuck transporting patients at some hospital, you can be a nurse. Apparently the ones that are doing it right now say that it is as challenging, or more than their MD experience in their home countries... and they are very satisfied. Just thought you guys might want more info on what's available to you. Peace! Foreign Physicians Take Up Nursing As They Resettle in U.S. South Florida Sun-Sentinel - December 2, 2002 South Florida Sun-Sentinel (KRT) FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Edwin Vides was a doctor in his native Colombia. Next year he will become a registered nurse, helping to ease the nursing shortage in South Florida. Vides, 30, practiced in Yopal, a city of 90,000 in the shadow of the Andes, before political turmoil and guerrilla activity drove him to Miami in 2000. He is among 40 foreign physicians - chosen out of 500 applicants from Cuba,Haiti, Romania, Central America, the Caribbean and Africa - accepted into the first accelerated physician-to-nursing program in the nation at Florida International University School of Nursing. The doctors are on track to graduate in December 2003, and all are assured of nursing jobs the second they toss their mortarboards in the air. "Some have tried taking the medical boards to practice here as doctors. There are different stages of the exam and some have a problem with one part, but not others," said Dr. Divina Grossman, dean of the FIU School of Nursing. "Some may have passed but have not been able to secure a residency in this country." A second class of 40 foreign doctors will enter the nursing program in January. "We interview to find out the extent to which they are interested in the nursing profession, as opposed to those who are just using it as a stepping stone (to resuming careers as doctors). The ones you want are the ones truly interested in becoming nurses," she said. Because the students get credit for the science courses they have taken in medical school, the nursing program takes about 18 months, compared with the four years it would take a student just out of high school. The doctors are tested to make sure their knowledge is current, Grossman said. --- Vides said he has always been interested in psychiatry and if he had remained in Colombia, he likely would have made it his specialty. Now he looks forward to taking course work in psychiatric nursing. "I love psychiatry, behavior. I'm very skilled with my hands, but I love dealing with the mind, and that's always been my strength," he said. Vides graduated from high school at 16, went right into medical school, started his internship at 21, and by 22 was running a rural clinic to fulfill a year of government service. "I loved what I did as a doctor, and if it hadn't been for the turmoil there, I would still be doing it," he said. Grossman said one of the problems anticipated from the beginning is how to ease doctors into thinking like nurses rather than doctors. "There is the challenge of socializing them from the role of a physician to the role of a nurse. "They practiced as physicians in their own country. They were accustomed to looking at the chart and examining the patient, and that was it. But nurses are responsible for their patient all day." For some it is an adjustment to go from giving the orders to carrying them out, she said. The physician-to-nursing program, the first of its kind in the nation, not only will help to lessen Florida's severe nursing shortage and get the doctors back to caring for patients, but also will improve the diversity of the nursing population, Grossman said. "Nationally, nursing is still very much a white profession, 90 percent white," she said. Most of the students come from Spanish-speaking countries, while some speak Creole, but all must be proficient in both reading and speaking English to be admitted to the program. Teresa Fernandez, chief nursing officer at Kendall Regional Medical Center, said the new nurses will be able to use their previous medical training to apply for jobs that require more experience and extra skill, such as critical care, emergency and other areas where the need is greatest. It was a conversation between Grossman and Fernandez that got the program rolling. Fernandez knew there were many foreign doctors working in her hospital, some doing menial jobs. They hadn't been able to pass the medical board exams but still wanted to be in medicine. "They take jobs in health care as transporters, moving patients from place to place in the hospital, or as orderlies, and there's a lot of knowledge there that's not being used," Fernandez said. She mentioned to Grossman that she wished FIU had a program to train the doctors to be nurses. Grossman said she got approval for such a program in 1998, at the suggestion of a group of Cuban physicians, but the program had never been funded. --- Fernandez got her hospital administration interested in helping to fund the program, with the understanding that the graduates would be committed to work at the hospital upon graduation. Participating hospitals get the new nurses after they graduate. The money raised so far is not enough to provide scholarships or other financial help, so most students continue to work full-time to support their families, Grossman said. Nearly all are making a living in some area of medicine, such as surgical technicians, nursing assistants, phlebotomists or case managers, Grossman said. The nursing program is structured so that the students can continue working their full-time jobs. Classroom work is scheduled in the evenings, and clinicals - working with hospital patients under the supervision of a nurse and their FIU instructor - are Saturdays and Sundays. Hancy Brignol, 46, works at the University of Miami School of Medicine with Dr. Margaret Fischl, an internationally known HIV/AIDS specialist and researcher. Brignol already has a master's degree in health services from Nova Southeastern University. Brignol got her medical degree in Bolivia and practiced there for three years before returning to Haiti, where she worked in the state hospital emergency room in Port au Prince. She came to South Florida in 1991 because she wanted better educational opportunities for her two young daughters, she said. She never tried to take the state doctor's exam because she was too busy working as an AIDS case manager to support her children, who are now 18 and 23, and in college. Brignol said there is an adjustment to make in switching from the role of a doctor to a nurse, but she has no plans to return to her former profession. "I'm very comfortable with nursing," she said. Gabriella Said, 40, who came from Romania, took the state doctor exam several times but could never score high enough to pass. "I was very depressed, but then I heard about this program. I am actually enjoying the time I'm having right now. It's challenging," she said. Having trained in Romania, the biggest adjustment is to the technology available here that was unknown there. "It's like waking up 200 years in the future," she said. "I'm always amazed at the technology. I'm coming from a different era." Said eventually would like to teach nursing, another area where there is a shortage of qualified people. "I would absolutely embrace it," she said. --- (c) 2002 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.