shan564

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The Australian Senate recently started an inquiry into the welfare of international students, paricularly in light of recent media coverage. This includes, of course, the employability of international medical students.

They're looking for submissions from various individuals who have anything to say. The more responses they get, the more likely they are to actually make a change. I can't imagine that they'll get too many submissions (everybody likes to talk about these issues, but they all just expect somebody else to take action on their behalf), so your submission might actually be pretty meaningful.

Here's the link:
http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/eet_ctte/international_students/info.htm
 

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I'm guessing a written submission here entails a letter outlining our concerns and possible solutions?
 
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shan564

shan564

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Anything is better than nothing. I think that quantity counts for a lot when it comes to politicians - they know about the issue, now they just want to see how many people care about it.

That's not to say that we shouldn't put together quality submissions - but we shouldn't shy away from it just because we don't have time to write a thorough letter.
 

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Do you think it'll be alright if my address is still in Canada? I haven't officially started as an intymedstu yet.

I'll be sure to pass this along. Maybe a posting on paging dr. as well? Also the uqms msg board?
 

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does anyone want to share what info they sent off? I would like to spend the time to send a very good letter.
 

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I seriously doubt the Australian government is going to do a thing for foreign citizens. Why would they? For the most part Australian universities admit foreign students for profits. Its much easier to get into a university as an international student in Australia than for locals. Its also a well known fact that its an important sector of their economy.
 

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I seriously doubt the Australian government is going to do a thing for foreign citizens. Why would they? For the most part Australian universities admit foreign students for profits. Its much easier to get into a university as an international student in Australia than for locals. Its also a well known fact that its an important sector of their economy.

This is exactly why they would want to do this. To keep the cash from internationals flowing. If they don't watch our backs, then their international admissions will start to drop and the cash will as well.
 

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This is exactly why they would want to do this. To keep the cash from internationals flowing. If they don't watch our backs, then their international admissions will start to drop and the cash will as well.
The biggest reason for the surge in international students is because the US effectively stopped internationals from enrolling in US universities. I know a lot of people here largely because they could not get through the front door of US immigration. The majority of internationals here could not get US visas. Australia is a well off Western country, they will still get students, if not from North America, Asia is a bigger market for them anyway.
 

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The biggest reason for the surge in international students is because the US effectively stopped internationals from enrolling in US medical schools. The majority of internationals here could not get US visas. Australia is a well off Western country, they will still get students, if not from North America, Asia is a bigger market for them anyway.
Not sure i agree with this. Stats that I've read put the numbers at ~60% of inties being Canadians. Regardless, this is all beside the point.
The fact is that doing nothing is more damaging than not. So why not try?
 

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Not sure i agree with this. Stats that I've read put the numbers at ~60% of inties being Canadians. Regardless, this is all beside the point.
The fact is that doing nothing is more damaging than not. So why not try?
Newer schools such as ANU, Wollongong, Monash, and Flinders may not qualify for California state licenses, and may not qualify for the US loans so they might consist mostly of Canadian students.

Some people I talked to in UQ said majority of the International students in UQ are Canadian.
 

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Newer schools such as ANU, Wollongong, Monash, and Flinders may not qualify for California state licenses, and may not qualify for the US loans so they might consist mostly of Canadian students.

Some people I talked to in UQ said majority of the International students in UQ are Canadian.
Actually, Flinders is one of the oldest if not the oldest GEMP program in oz. They've also been accepting inties for much of this time. From my research, the only GEMP schools with Cali licensure are Flinders, UQ and USyd.

But yes, it appears the majority are canadians. Not surprising considering how difficult it is to gain admission here (and the US is far too expensive for the layman Canadian).

Anyways, I've sent off my letter (email)
 

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My apologies I did not mean flinders.
 

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Not sure i agree with this. Stats that I've read put the numbers at ~60% of inties being Canadians. Regardless, this is all beside the point.
The fact is that doing nothing is more damaging than not. So why not try?
I am talking about the overall student population at most Australian universities. There are also many postgraduate students in Australian medical schools conducting research or working on doctoral degrees, many of these students are from Asian countries. My feeling about Australian medical schools is that they are alternatives for North Americans when all other options are not available.

If I did not get into a US school, I would go to Australia over a school in the Caribbean or some other third world country.
 

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Actually, Flinders is one of the oldest if not the oldest GEMP program in oz. They've also been accepting inties for much of this time. From my research, the only GEMP schools with Cali licensure are Flinders, UQ and USyd.
Flinders WAS the first GEMP. It was readily apparent to them when they started a GEMP that their curriculum was then similar to US students and they could pull in a fair amount of cash from internationals, especially from the US and Canada.

UWA, Monash, and UniMelb are also on the Cali list of approved schools. All the schools currently on the list are those that existed before the GEMP days. No school that was established since Flinders went GEMP (~1995) is on the list including the newer undergrad entry schools (JCU, UWS, Bond).
 

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Flinders WAS the first GEMP. It was readily apparent to them when they started a GEMP that their curriculum was then similar to US students and they could pull in a fair amount of cash from internationals, especially from the US and Canada.

UWA, Monash, and UniMelb are also on the Cali list of approved schools. All the schools currently on the list are those that existed before the GEMP days. No school that was established since Flinders went GEMP (~1995) is on the list including the newer undergrad entry schools (JCU, UWS, Bond).
So UQ and USyd are not on the list? I just read it on this board so assumed it was true. The only one I've actually checked is Flinders (obviously, since that's where I will be going). Didn't know that. Thanks jake

Shan, please keep us updated, I'm interested to see what comes of this
 

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I thought of something interesting.

Technically as international students we are paying for medical qualifications from a university. Now technically in Australia without an internship even with a degree, your education is not finished because you cannot practice medicine even on the most basic level. Without the internship year you cannot be registered as a medical practitioner...So technically since we are paying to get something to allow us practice medicine to be in fact Doctors, but without an internship we technically cannot practice medicine or be a doctor...so if we do not get an internship isn't it technically we aren't getting what we pay for?

A full medical education is degree + internship which makes us medical practitioners in the most general sense...just a medical degree is not a full education.

http://www.amc.org.au/index.php/ar/bme

"The AMC assesses and accredits basic medical education courses, that is courses that lead to a qualification that permits the holder to obtain a license to practise as a medical doctor. A graduate of a medical course accredited by the AMC is eligible to apply for registration as a medical practitioner in any state or territory of Australia." That is what we are paying for.

I'm really tired right now and I just thought of this, so someone correct me if I'm way off base.
 
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pitman

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Once graduated, you're a doctor (i.e., you have the academic qualifications to call yourself a doctor).

Once an intern, you have Geneal Registration as a Medical Practitioner (i.e., you are licensed to practice medicine, albeit with restrictions -- my old registration says that I "may practice the profession only in accordance with the prescribed internship, ie [sic] as an intern in a prescribed internship program in an approved hospital in Queensland." You also have 3 years to finish your internship.

Once completing internship, you have Full Medical Registration. Professionally, it makes you a JHO in hospitals. There really isn't any meaningful licensing difference though, it's mostly legacy since it used to be you could be a GP after internship. But it becomes easier to get a job in any state, since the real crunch is with internship training spots.

I think one could argue the practical or moral point about responsibility schools have to help ensure there's a job at the end of academic training (you pay for the degree and title of doctor), but not that's there's any breach of promise or contract. That also isn't much of an argument however until it's shown that grads can't reasonably go anywhere to get a job. This hasn't been the case, though it may happen at some point.
 

pitman

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The Australian Senate recently started an inquiry into the welfare of international students, paricularly in light of recent media coverage. This includes, of course, the employability of international medical students.
I think the more submissions the better, and from my experience I think the various govt. bodies will take notice if the argument is presented well AND the powers that be can see it in their own best interest to help OR not in their best interest to ignore something that might be damaging (like bad media attention, or being seen to be jeopardizing what in Queensland at least is either the #2 or #3 income generator).

In other words, and this is what I tell int'l students at UQ and have practiced myself when involved with the UQ med society -- organize, and show that you can cause trouble, without causing too much trouble. Once you cause the trouble, you 1) have shown your cards, and the damage is done; and 2) have pissed off those who might be able to help by violating the tall poppy rule of not whingeing (and not whistleblowing).

Ok, you can disagree with the reasons why, but that's what I've found seems to be the case after a number of years of advocacy on the state and national level.

Going back to submissions, while I think a general solicitation for submissions like the above can't hurt and could help (as a forum to publicize the general issue of "how can schools justify or even be allowed to just churn out professional degrees for int's if their prospects once graduated are in serious jeopardy?"), I think it's best to go for more specific, focussed forums.

The federal government doesn't have a heck of a lot of say on the matter of how schools and state Health bodies work together to help give the int'l grads (state-run) intern jobs.

At the national level, something the feds control would be a better target. For example, at the Biennial Review of the Medicare Provider Number Legislation (it's now only done every 5 years now), everything related to 19AB (same 1973 Health Insurance Act) is included, like the Moratorium. Thus they tend to listen, they just haven't had the balls to make significant changes.

While for internship prospects, and student numbers (the Commonwealth Supported places aren't the issue here), it's the schools and the states that need to be targeted.

But there won't be any purpose in any submission (except venting and publicizing issues) without practical proposals to help with a solution. Is the point to squeeze more internship spots out of the states? I think the ones most stretched are the ones trying hardest to come up with as many places as possible. Or is the point to have the schools accept fewer int'l students? Or for schools to build bigger bridges to other countries (Cali registration, int'l rotations, Ochsner-like programs, etc.)? These aren't issues that schools and health bodies haven't thought a lot about (I can however speak specifically only about Queensland).

In the end, and I'm sorry if I sound like a pessimist to current students (though I don't think I am), I think the long-term solution is to have the schools and state health boards to work together to control numbers to something that they can both handle -- the schools accepting some students who by self-selection will focus most on getting back without expectations to stay here, ala the Ochsner program, and maybe a few others who can stay if some sort of 'deal' can be made with the state health boards (though I know Qld Health has been bending over backwards to try to accommodate the int'ls and increasing numbers in general here).
 

pitman

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Schools don't want to hurt their reputation. That is the limiting factor which makes them, in my mind, something better than 'money grabbers'. Based on reality or not, reputation (expected reputation, more accurately) will guide the behavior of the schools more than anything else -- they will change their behavior if they think that is necessary in order to protect their reputation. They just also like money.

Case in point: UQ. UQ has positioned itself as "The Global Australian medical school", whatever that means. It's the thrust of their marketing. Ochsner and Brunei and Malaysia are a big part of that vision. Well, the school has every interest in making sure its int'l students can get jobs once they graduate, or its entire marketing plan fails (through word of mouth affecting reputation, but ultimately, through poor placements). I will guarantee you 100% that UQ is not interested in getting the most money from the most students, independent of its status. I also know that it is willing to take a short-term hit in terms of its reputation alone among the sceptics (there are many important Australian alumni who fall in this group, too). But it's gambling that in the long-term, it will benefit from the direction it's taking, and that its grads will be reasonably placed.

So it's the job of any digruntled organized group to show the school that it's on the wrong track. The thing is, the school doesn't have any reason to believe the naysayers, yet. They only have a few yahoos screaming, many irrationally. So the only way to change their behavior, if that's what's needed, is to either convince them that they have the wrong projections, or to show them, through the power of the organized group, that their image can be hurt significantly by organized behavior.

Assuming anything can be done proactively (rather than waiting for what *some* see as impending doom), Who can do that? The current students and other publicity coming out of the schools themselves more than anything, since a forum like this has very limited reach in the scheme of things. As one example of policy strategy, that's why the UQMS' website is as transparent as possible -- it's high profile for all to see, including prospective students. And the School monitors it. Sure, that makes it a focus for mere whingeing/venting and all the nutters, but it's also a tool to help gauge opinion, and it's leveraged to help get what the med soc wants. A little.
 

pitman

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Going back to the real problem -- what do those of interest want? Jobs, for sure, but that's not helpful. What policy change should be advocated for an improved outcome, for more jobs? And for whom, since many proposed solutions would hurt domestic students?

Should Queensland cut its Emergency term in half, for example, since the biggest bottleneck in increasing internship spots is how to get them trained in ED? Should it put more students in sleepy towns to do mandatory rural terms? Should it have one, two, or three interns per surgical team, or allow really poorly conceived computer software to (incidentally) justify throwing more interns into each hospital just to be able to do all the extra 'paperwork' it generated? Or should it just cut the number of int'l students in half?

If you can get an organized group to agree on that, non-controversially, then it's an easy matter to market the idea. Or at least that's what I think.
 
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