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Looking for advice from a Canadian in Ireland...

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ryanmtl

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Hey guys,

I'm currently weighing 2 options as alternatives if I happen to not get accepted to any med schools in Canada or US...

Given the increasing difficulty of landing a residency in Canada and the US for IMGs would you recommend that if all other options have been exhausted, that someone go an Irish med school or an SMP in the US? I thought it would be helpful getting some opinions of Canadians currently studying over there.

Im a Canadian citizen and plan to matriculate in 2013...

Thanks!
 

atran017

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Hey guys,

I'm currently weighing 2 options as alternatives if I happen to not get accepted to any med schools in Canada or US...

Given the increasing difficulty of landing a residency in Canada and the US for IMGs would you recommend that if all other options have been exhausted, that someone go an Irish med school or an SMP in the US? I thought it would be helpful getting some opinions of Canadians currently studying over there.

Im a Canadian citizen and plan to matriculate in 2013...

Thanks!

I am a Canadian Citizen who also has experience in the US at a US med school (btw i'm at an irish med school), you'd have to provide some more information (i.e. grades, MCAT scores, etc.) - and you can PM me if you wish in the event you don't want to post them publicly. However, I think you're comparing two entirely different things....SMPs are still by no means a sure shot and you very realistically still run the chance of no US matriculation. From experience, SMPs are difficult and many view them as a last ditch effort for med....on the contrary, if you gain acceptance to an Irish med school, you're in a reputable med school, done (better than the carribbean alternative in my opinion). Both present their challenges but in diff. ways and both are extremely costly - but at least one means you're on your road to becoming a physician/surgeon, while the other you're still in limbo (SMP). Obviously i'm over simplifying but you get the idea...

You also need to take into consideration that landing residency is not entirely impossible or "that" difficult...from my perspective, it's the speciality that will determine the number of hurdles you'd have to jump through as an IMG. Irish meds who are North Americans have matched fairly well provided good board scores, proactive planning, strong CVs, strong LORs, meaningful observerships and electives, and good grades (in contrast to some of the people I know who don't think med grades matter that much)....And the limitations for CaRMs against IMGs are slowly being changed (i.e. you can participate in first round matches in Ontario already, and we recently had a talk about Alberta, etc.).

There are plenty of Canadians studying in Ireland, so perhaps someone else can chime in here. Again, you can PM me if you want to ask anything else.


A.
 
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ryanmtl

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Thanks for the reply...definitely something to think about. Anyone else have anything to add? Any SMPers?
 

JohnSnow

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Hey guys,

I'm currently weighing 2 options as alternatives if I happen to not get accepted to any med schools in Canada or US...

Given the increasing difficulty of landing a residency in Canada and the US for IMGs would you recommend that if all other options have been exhausted, that someone go an Irish med school or an SMP in the US? I thought it would be helpful getting some opinions of Canadians currently studying over there.

Im a Canadian citizen and plan to matriculate in 2013...

Thanks!

Ireland is definitely better than an SMP. As atran pointed out, completing a SMP does not guarantee you a spot in a medical school, but an Irish medical school guarantees you that you will be a doctor.

Honestly, the Irish schools have high admissions standards, almost as high as US schools, RCSI seems to have higher standards than some low-tier US schools. I think a residency program would look more favorably upon an applicant from an Irish school than a Caribbean program, but obviously a lot depends on the applicant you need to have good board scores, letters, etc..

It doesn't sound as hard to get a residency as people make it out to be. Getting a competitive residency will be where the major challenge lies. Something like dermatology or radiology will be difficult, amongst other popular specialties.

One thing people often forget is that once you get a residency and complete it, whether it be in family medicine or internal medicine (the easier residencies to match into) you are free to do a fellowship and get into any field you desire. And a great deal of US/Can grads end up in primary care themselves.

Messing around in SMPs can be tricky business. First it sets you back at least a year, there's no guarantee you'll be accepted into medical school after you complete it, and they can be costly. Georgetown, which I think is the most successful one, only boasts something like 80% success rate at getting into medical school upon completion and it's by no means easy to get into (it's been a while since I looked at it).

What is your ethnic background?
A lot of US & Canadian citizens are eligible for dual citizenship based on their parents' lineage (the number is around 10-15%). Considering the majority of North Americans are white, most of us can trace our roots back to Europe and some of us can grab dual citizenship. I was able to get EU citizenship through my father. If I get accepted to an Irish school I'll be eligible to do post-graduate training there which is another option to think about.
 
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ryanmtl

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Thanks Johnsnow, unfortunately (in this circumstance), i'm 4th generation canadian so it would be practically impossible to land dual-citizenship.

I think with my stats as of now, I'm pretty competitive when it comes to Irish med schools. Keeping it that way for this and next semester is my main priority! Thanks a lot for your input though, I'm a realist and I figured that if I did attend an Irish school I would limit my choices of residencies to FM, IM, etc. And don't get me wrong, I'd be more than happy to practice in either of those specialties!

I've just been reading a lot on these forums regarding residencies for IMGs and many people paint quite a bleak picture for future IMGs.
 

atran017

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Thanks Johnsnow, unfortunately (in this circumstance), i'm 4th generation canadian so it would be practically impossible to land dual-citizenship.

I think with my stats as of now, I'm pretty competitive when it comes to Irish med schools. Keeping it that way for this and next semester is my main priority! Thanks a lot for your input though, I'm a realist and I figured that if I did attend an Irish school I would limit my choices of residencies to FM, IM, etc. And don't get me wrong, I'd be more than happy to practice in either of those specialties!

I've just been reading a lot on these forums regarding residencies for IMGs and many people paint quite a bleak picture for future IMGs.

Perhaps it may be bleak for the entire population of IMGs however, this is not the case for well known schools with good programs. I have the match documents from RSCI, Trinity, and UCD North American Students in 2009/2010...and the residency matches include orthopedic surg, diagnostic radiology, neurology, gen. surg., EM, opthmalology, neurosurg, peds, anaesth, .... data was collected through CIMSA (now NIMSA) which is the north american group of students in ireland. Mind you, around 50-60% of matches included FM and IM and there were a good handful that pre-matched to good institutions like UPenn and Mayo, but just to give some perspective...we match well and at good institutions (of course, I can't say it enough, but it's the applicants entire profile that really makes this all happen).

If you are really reluctant to leave north america and don't mind delaying your studies for a year or two, then re-apply to canadian and US schools while in the SMP - it's typical for most canadian applicants to apply 2-3 times before an acceptance anyways (Canada is extremely hard to get into)...So if you don't get any offers this round, and you are nervous about leaving N. American soil, then do the SMP (better odds then a trad. graduate degree) or a MPH or M.S. (of the Canadians in my class, probably 40-50% of us have graduate degrees and some doctoral), but just make sure that you can do well in that SMP (there were a good number of Canadians in the RFUMS SMP last year, so you're not alone).
 

JohnSnow

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Thanks Johnsnow, unfortunately (in this circumstance), i'm 4th generation canadian so it would be practically impossible to land dual-citizenship.

I think with my stats as of now, I'm pretty competitive when it comes to Irish med schools. Keeping it that way for this and next semester is my main priority! Thanks a lot for your input though, I'm a realist and I figured that if I did attend an Irish school I would limit my choices of residencies to FM, IM, etc. And don't get me wrong, I'd be more than happy to practice in either of those specialties!

I've just been reading a lot on these forums regarding residencies for IMGs and many people paint quite a bleak picture for future IMGs.

I strongly agree with what atran has said.

Do not worry about where you go to medical school! I've worked around enough doctors who have told me "it doesn't matter where you go, just get in somewhere". My ENT went to medical school in Italy, instruction was in Italian, and he is a brilliant doctor in the United States now.

Another doctor that I know went to med school in Mexico he is still well respected by his colleagues.

Ultimately, it's not the school that makes the doctor, it's the individual. You can go to Harvard Med and be a social reject, and not make a good doctor and not land a competitive residency.

Irish medical schools will likely be seen more favorably than typical foreign medical schools for several reasons.

1) it's an English language program in a 1st world country (other options to consider would be the UK & Australia but in my experience the UK is looking for UK high school qualifications. Aus schools, like Irish schools, are willing to look at GPA and MCAT as they're geared towards graduate entry and target N Americans. The UK schools don't really care about what you did in undergrad or what you've got for an MCAT score, they pretty much just care about your A-levels, or equivalent, end of which doesn't really bode well for interested North Americans).

2) Irish schools don't have the 'diploma factory' reputation that comes along with the Caribbean schools. They are high quality schools regulated by the Irish Medical Council, which is huge. On a lot of the Caribbean islands it's easy for medical schools to start-up. Ireland actually has high standards to meet and maintain, and that will be known by residency programs.

3) It's NOT easy to get accepted to an Irish school! It may be easier than Canada but it's by no means easy.

I think many of the IMGs/FMGs that have difficultly matching fall into one of a few categories. Either they went to a non-English program, with non-English clinicals, and don't have good English-language skills as a result. Or they went to one of the "diploma factory" Caribbean schools. There are some better Caribbean schools, and some bad ones (e.g. Atlantic University) that are full of North Americans who are doing clinicals in places like St. Lucia and not accredited by anybody. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of IMGs/FMGs who don't match came from dodgy medical schools or went to good medical schools but had awful USMLE scores.

Another program to consider, which is one of the easier ones to get into ("easier" but not 'easy'), is the University of Queensland's Oschner Clinic Program. You spend years 1 & 2 a the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia then years 3 & 4 doing your clinical rotation in New Orleans, or elsewhere in Louisiana.
 
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