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Prospect of obtaining Irish medical internship

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Andrew M

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Hey guys, I am currently a first year graduate entry medical student at UCD. I am from Canada, but I am looking to practice medicine in Ireland as I have family here and I love Ireland. I have an EU passport and Irish citizenship, and I was wondering what are the chances of me obtaining an internship post and going into general practice? I understand matching back to Canada or the States is difficult, and I wonder what my chances would be to obtain residency in Ireland. Thank you!
 

beaglesbagles

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Hi there. Current 2nd year in Ireland and I am doing what you are doing.

The ranking for students is as follows:

1) EU Citizens who are also CAO applicants (Students who applied to medical school through the Central Application Office)
2) non-EU citizens who applied via CAO

3) EU citizens who applied directly to an Irish university or through a liason such as Atlantic Bridge

4) non-EU citizens who graduated from an Irish or EU medical school
5) non-EU students who graduated from a non-EU medical school

Due to the pandemic, last year anyone who graduated from an Irish university was given an internship.

While there are not enough internships for every student who graduates, about 1/3 of Irish graduates leave Ireland immediately to go to Canada, the US, singapore etc. In recent years, there has not been a shortage of internship positions for any Irish graduate who wanted one.

In a nutshell, priority for internship is given to CAO applicants. After that, it is based on class rank. There are no interviews due to nepotism concerns in such a small country.

In order to apply though the CAO, you need EU citizenship (doesn't have to be Irish) and live in an EU state for 3 years prior to the year you want to matriculate. So, 2020 CAO applicants had to provide proof they lived in Ireland in 2017, 2018 and 2019. For some applicants, residence in the state is assumed if they sat their leaving cert exam here or graduated from an Irish undergrad.

Best of luck!
 
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Andrew M

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Hi there. Current 2nd year in Ireland and I am doing what you are doing.

The ranking for students is as follows:

1) EU Citizens who are also CAO applicants (Students who applied to medical school through the Central Application Office)
2) non-EU citizens who applied via CAO

3) EU citizens who applied directly to an Irish university or through a liason such as Atlantic Bridge

4) non-EU citizens who graduated from an Irish or EU medical school
5) non-EU students who graduated from a non-EU medical school

Due to the pandemic, last year anyone who graduated from an Irish university was given an internship.

While there are not enough internships for every student who graduates, about 1/3 of Irish graduates leave Ireland immediately to go to Canada, the US, singapore etc. In recent years, there has not been a shortage of internship positions for any Irish graduate who wanted one.

In a nutshell, priority for internship is given to CAO applicants. After that, it is based on class rank. There are no interviews due to nepotism concerns in such a small country.

In order to apply though the CAO, you need EU citizenship (doesn't have to be Irish) and live in an EU state for 3 years prior to the year you want to matriculate. So, 2020 CAO applicants had to provide proof they lived in Ireland in 2017, 2018 and 2019. For some applicants, residence in the state is assumed if they sat their leaving cert exam here or graduated from an Irish undergrad.

Best of luck!
Thank you for the reply! Would you say it is easier statistically for me as an non-CAO Irish student to obtain an internship as opposed to matching back to Canada or the USA? I am trying to figure out what gives me the best chance to match somewhere, there are lots of information about match rates regarding matching to North America but I can't find anything regarding internships. Do you know of any statistics for obtaining an internship for non-CAO EU passport holders?
 

polarpanda12

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Hi!

I actually asked UCD about this a while ago (I also have an EU passport but live in Canada), and they told me that once you graduate, they do not take into account how you applied (CAO vs non). Direct quote is, "Just to mention that how you applied (CAO or direct) isn't taken into account once you graduate. " Though I'm not sure how much truth this holds considering the response above :/
 

Andrew M

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Hi!

I actually asked UCD about this a while ago (I also have an EU passport but live in Canada), and they told me that once you graduate, they do not take into account how you applied (CAO vs non). Direct quote is, "Just to mention that how you applied (CAO or direct) isn't taken into account once you graduate. " Though I'm not sure how much truth this holds considering the response above :/
I guess this means Irish students get first choice, and then all EU students are ranked after this?
 

beaglesbagles

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I guess this means Irish students get first choice, and then all EU students are ranked after this?

The EU students who applied via the CAO get ranked for internship first. They can be Irish, British, Italian or Polish, it doesn't matter. The reason for this is that CAO applicants are habitually and ordinarily resident in Ireland. As an aside, the Irish government subsidizes the tuition of CAO applicants who have proven they are ordinarily resident. The tuition subsidy is not given on the basis of citizenship, just on residence. Your medical school will have classified you as a non-EU student if you are paying international fees.

This information I have is based off a presentation that was given to 4th year medical students about their internship applications last month. It is based on my own recollection of the presentaiton, so there may be mistakes, but I do know for certain that CAO applicants are ranked above other applicants. This makes sense, as the government has invested in these students who are more likely to stay in the country and practice, or at least return to Ireland after a stint abroad.

As for your own strategy --- should you apply to the US, Canada or Ireland? I'd apply everywhere if you would be equally happy practicing in these countries. Studying for and sitting the USMLE or MCCQEE will not hurt you. It will boost your basic science and clinical knowledge.

Another consideration would be financial. A lot of North Americans are $300 000 in debt on average once they graduate from an Irish school. Irish salaries are not as high and the training is longer. For instance, it takes a minimum of 5 years to become a GP here.
 

Andrew M

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The EU students who applied via the CAO get ranked for internship first. They can be Irish, British, Italian or Polish, it doesn't matter. The reason for this is that CAO applicants are habitually and ordinarily resident in Ireland. As an aside, the Irish government subsidizes the tuition of CAO applicants who have proven they are ordinarily resident. The tuition subsidy is not given on the basis of citizenship, just on residence. Your medical school will have classified you as a non-EU student if you are paying international fees.

This information I have is based off a presentation that was given to 4th year medical students about their internship applications last month. It is based on my own recollection of the presentaiton, so there may be mistakes, but I do know for certain that CAO applicants are ranked above other applicants. This makes sense, as the government has invested in these students who are more likely to stay in the country and practice, or at least return to Ireland after a stint abroad.

As for your own strategy --- should you apply to the US, Canada or Ireland? I'd apply everywhere if you would be equally happy practicing in these countries. Studying for and sitting the USMLE or MCCQEE will not hurt you. It will boost your basic science and clinical knowledge.

Another consideration would be financial. A lot of North Americans are $300 000 in debt on average once they graduate from an Irish school. Irish salaries are not as high and the training is longer. For instance, it takes a minimum of 5 years to become a GP here.
Thank you for the information. Just to clarify, because I applied as an international and am paying international fees, am I ranked as a non-EU if I apply for an internship placement? Or am I still ranked as an EU student, even though I am paying international fees?
 

beaglesbagles

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Thank you for the information. Just to clarify, because I applied as an international and am paying international fees, am I ranked as a non-EU if I apply for an internship placement? Or am I still ranked as an EU student, even though I am paying international fees?

You are considered non-EU because you didn't apply through the CAO or prove habitual residence in Ireland or the EU 3 years prior to your first year.

All that said, being ranked first may not matter if the goal is just to obtain an internship in Ireland. So far, there hasn't been a shortage of internship spots for anyone who graduated from an Irish school. As I said previously, most North American students will go back home for internship, so there are plenty of spots.
 

Andrew M

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You are considered non-EU because you didn't apply through the CAO or prove habitual residence in Ireland or the EU 3 years prior to your first year.

All that said, being ranked first may not matter if the goal is just to obtain an internship in Ireland. So far, there hasn't been a shortage of internship spots for anyone who graduated from an Irish school. As I said previously, most North American students will go back home for internship, so there are plenty of spots.
I see, thank you for the information!
 

Gos81238ia

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Your chances are excellent to get an internship in Ireland. Talk to students in the years above you, there has not been issues with spots if you hold an EU passport.

Asking whether its easier than getting residency in North America tells me you may not be familiar with the process. To get an internship in Ireland in your position you just complete medical school and fill out a 2 page application and its pretty much guaranteed. No exams, no interviews, nothing.

To get residency in North America you have to complete and score competitively on the USMLEs, MCCs, complete overseas electives, secure reference letters, apply to hundred of programs, fly to North America several times for interviews and even then its not guaranteed.

Keep in mind that the concept of "residency" does not exist outside of North America. If you are going for family medicine lets say, then once you secure your residency spot, its a set 2 year (Canada) or 3 year (USA) training program with progression through without having to re-apply in between years. In Ireland, the UK, Australia etc. you have "training schemes". To be a GP in Ireland, you do your intern year, then you need to apply for an be accepted for the GP training scheme which is 5 years long (so 6 years total). If you don't get in, then you need to apply for SHO jobs and apply again. Progression never guaranteed, you may be stuck at one point of the training scheme.

Bottom line is, if your goal is to remain in Ireland, you are golden.
 

Andrew M

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Your chances are excellent to get an internship in Ireland. Talk to students in the years above you, there has not been issues with spots if you hold an EU passport.

Asking whether its easier than getting residency in North America tells me you may not be familiar with the process. To get an internship in Ireland in your position you just complete medical school and fill out a 2 page application and its pretty much guaranteed. No exams, no interviews, nothing.

To get residency in North America you have to complete and score competitively on the USMLEs, MCCs, complete overseas electives, secure reference letters, apply to hundred of programs, fly to North America several times for interviews and even then its not guaranteed.

Keep in mind that the concept of "residency" does not exist outside of North America. If you are going for family medicine lets say, then once you secure your residency spot, its a set 2 year (Canada) or 3 year (USA) training program with progression through without having to re-apply in between years. In Ireland, the UK, Australia etc. you have "training schemes". To be a GP in Ireland, you do your intern year, then you need to apply for an be accepted for the GP training scheme which is 5 years long (so 6 years total). If you don't get in, then you need to apply for SHO jobs and apply again. Progression never guaranteed, you may be stuck at one point of the training scheme.

Bottom line is, if your goal is to remain in Ireland, you are golden.
Thank you very much for the reply!
 
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