May 31, 2020
3
2
United States
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello! I will be starting college in the fall, studying exercise science and biology on a pre-med track. Currently, I am a surgical intern with a specialty orthopedic group, and I plan to continue this during college. I ultimately would like to practice medicine in Australia (I'm American). I have several questions regarding the path to this and am hoping for some insight. I've already discovered that it is relatively hard for IMG's to practice in Australia. That being said, I plan to pursue a career as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. I know that it can be difficult for women to place in orthopedic trainee programs in the US, will this be even more difficult in Australia as an IMG? I also am working towards becoming a certified orthopedic technician to get more experience in this field; what would the re-certification process be like in Australia? I need the most advice when it comes to deciding which pathway I want to take to practice in Australia. When looking at these options, I'm not necessarily looking for the easiest path, but rather the one that is the most financially astute and will yield the most job opportunities in the future.
  • Option 1: Attending medical school in Australia. Is this a financially smart decision, and how hard will it be to secure a surgical internship? How hard is it to obtain PR through this?
  • Option 2: The Competent Authority Pathway. If I understand this correctly, this path is for individuals who complete medical school internationally, as well as a residency program. How difficult is it to secure a surgical job offer through this path? How difficult is it to obtain PR through this path?
  • Option 3: The Specialist Pathway. So this path is for doctors who have completed a full residency and fellowship, and now are specialists, correct? How difficult is it to find work as a female orthopedic surgeon through this path? Is it worth the risk of not finding a job?
Any advice at all would be great, especially from US surgeons working in Australia.
Disclaimer: I am not putting all my eggs in one basket for working in Australia; I am also preparing to practice in the US if this does not work out. I also know that it's a little early to be looking into this, but I'm a planner so I want to have a general plan for which path to take.
 

Wolvvs

2+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2017
487
732
Status
Pre-Medical
This forum is pretty dead, and the chances of you getting a US surgeon working in Australia to reply here is slim. So hopefully someone more qualified can answer! But I can speak generally about the process.

Planning to go to Australia and having the US as a backup isn't the right way to think about this. If you want to practice in Australia, you should attend an Australian medical school, and the same for the US. The options 2 and 3 you mentioned could work if you attend a US school but it's much harder to make them work, and you're going to spend a lot of time potentially repeating training years. Regardless of the path you take, however, it's going to be harder to accomplish your goals in Australia than it is in the US.

Becoming an orthopedic surgeon won't be easy either. It's true that this is a relatively male-dominated field, and there are a number of reasons for that. But if you set yourself up well and are committed to the path/play the game, it won't be much of an issue. The bigger issue will be performing well academically, scoring well on your rotations, getting lots of research, and proving yourself for LORs on away rotations. Orthopedics is one of the most difficult specialties to get into. In Australia, there are between 4 and 5 applicants for every spot. It's a bit more manageable in the US, although still very competitive: in the 2018 match around 15% of applicants didn't match. And those applicants are already self-selected unlike in Australia. The unmatched rate was second only to IR (and people looking to go into IR usually apply into rads as well).

I think all of this is too far away to truly plan for, though. The most important thing right now is to maintain a high GPA while getting through the prerequisites, get a high MCAT, and make sure you have enough extracurriculars. It's great that you're able to work as a surgical tech (also make sure you don't say surgical intern because that means first year resident :x) but it's essential that you get volunteering as well. Many, many students enter college as a premed with big dreams and switch to something else after going through bio or gen chem. If you're committed to this path, focus most of your energy on the next four years, not the following four.

Hopefully this is helpful :)
 
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May 31, 2020
3
2
United States
Status
Pre-Medical
This forum is pretty dead, and the chances of you getting a US surgeon working in Australia to reply here is slim. So hopefully someone more qualified can answer! But I can speak generally about the process.

Planning to go to Australia and having the US as a backup isn't the right way to think about this. If you want to practice in Australia, you should attend an Australian medical school, and the same for the US. The options 2 and 3 you mentioned could work if you attend a US school but it's much harder to make them work, and you're going to spend a lot of time potentially repeating training years. Regardless of the path you take, however, it's going to be harder to accomplish your goals in Australia than it is in the US.

Becoming an orthopedic surgeon won't be easy either. It's true that this is a relatively male-dominated field, and there are a number of reasons for that. But if you set yourself up well and are committed to the path/play the game, it won't be much of an issue. The bigger issue will be performing well academically, scoring well on your rotations, getting lots of research, and proving yourself for LORs on away rotations. Orthopedics is one of the most difficult specialties to get into. In Australia, there are between 4 and 5 applicants for every spot. It's a bit more manageable in the US, although still very competitive: in the 2018 match around 15% of applicants didn't match. And those applicants are already self-selected unlike in Australia. The unmatched rate was second only to IR (and people looking to go into IR usually apply into rads as well).

I think all of this is too far away to truly plan for, though. The most important thing right now is to maintain a high GPA while getting through the prerequisites, get a high MCAT, and make sure you have enough extracurriculars. It's great that you're able to work as a surgical tech (also make sure you don't say surgical intern because that means first year resident :x) but it's essential that you get volunteering as well. Many, many students enter college as a premed with big dreams and switch to something else after going through bio or gen chem. If you're committed to this path, focus most of your energy on the next four years, not the following four.

Hopefully this is helpful :)
This does help. Thank you!!
 
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canquito

5+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2015
100
111
United States
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Mandatory Reading: Australian Medical Student's Association 2017 Policy Document

I first tried quoting parts of it but there are too many technical terms littered for it to be clear without context. TL;DR There are too many grads, only domestics ones are guaranteed intern spots, foreigners have to deal with high competition and PR time commitment to apply for similar pots. Oh and some specialties, like surgery, have PR pre-requisite in order to even apply for those.

In all honestly, it's too early for you to plan a life/career in a surgical specialty let alone in a foreign country. I'll be attending med school in Australia soon, but even I'm not planning that far ahead yet. :rofl:

My advice is to keep an open mind regarding medicine's specialties and focus on doing well in your classes, extra curriculars and the MCAT. In the mean time, keep reading about Australia's foreign-grad/trained physician policies, and understand that you would have a infinitely easier time (and I only mean this comparatively not absolutely) becoming a US orthopod.

At the expense of sounding crass, may I ask why have you decided on orthopedic surgery already? And have you given any consideration to other specialties as well as your own motivation for these let alone going to Australia? I apologize if I come off as dismissive, but I've been jaded by one too many social medical #futureorthopedicsurgery posts.

That being said, if your heart, mind and soul are set to be in an OR with a subset of sport-related surgical cases, why not also consider podiatric medicine (DPM) as they offer foot and ankle surgical residencies? Or if you love sports and want to work closely with the athletes, maybe look into physical therapy (DPT) and see what it would entail to join a pro team's medical team as a physical therapists/certified athletic trainer (PT/ACT) and help athletes prevent, manage and recover from injuries.

Just my 2¢
 
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May 31, 2020
3
2
United States
Status
Pre-Medical
Mandatory Reading: Australian Medical Student's Association 2017 Policy Document

I first tried quoting parts of it but there are too many technical terms littered for it to be clear without context. TL;DR There are too many grads, only domestics ones are guaranteed intern spots, foreigners have to deal with high competition and PR time commitment to apply for similar pots. Oh and some specialties, like surgery, have PR pre-requisite in order to even apply for those.

In all honestly, it's too early for you to plan a life/career in a surgical specialty let alone in a foreign country. I'll be attending med school in Australia soon, but even I'm not planning that far ahead yet. :rofl:

My advice is to keep an open mind regarding medicine's specialties and focus on doing well in your classes, extra curriculars and the MCAT. In the mean time, keep reading about Australia's foreign-grad/trained physician policies, and understand that you would have a infinitely easier time (and I only mean this comparatively not absolutely) becoming a US orthopod.

At the expense of sounding crass, may I ask why have you decided on orthopedic surgery already? And have you given any consideration to other specialties as well as your own motivation for these let alone going to Australia? I apologize if I come off as dismissive, but I've been jaded by one too many social medical #futureorthopedicsurgery posts.

That being said, if your heart, mind and soul are set to be in an OR with a subset of sport-related surgical cases, why not also consider podiatric medicine (DPM) as they offer foot and ankle surgical residencies? Or if you love sports and want to work closely with the athletes, maybe look into physical therapy (DPT) and see what it would entail to join a pro team's medical team as a physical therapists/certified athletic trainer (PT/ACT) and help athletes prevent, manage and recover from injuries.

Just my 2¢
I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm 100% set on orthopedic surgery yet. I've spent the past year interning with an orthopedic surgery group, and I had no intention of going into surgery when I first started. I initially was trying to secure a spot with the Atlanta Falcons, but that didn't work out. I started the program wanting to be a Sports Medicine PA, but my main mentor convinced me to pursue the MD path. My first time in the OR, I observed total knee arthroplasties, arthroscopies, and a clavicle ORIF. So I got to see all sides of orthopedic surgery, and that was honestly all I needed. I knew that I wanted to try and pursue a career in orthopedic surgery. As an athlete, I've been able to witness how doctors in this field play a key role in helping injured athletes return to the field. I want to offer future athletes that same service and help them overcome their injuries. My mentors also have played a huge role in my passion for this field.

I have considered other specialties such as Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, and OB/GYN. However, I have the biggest passion for orthopedic surgery.

I definitely see where you're coming from. I have spent a little time observing PT, and I just didn't feel that it was the right path for me. I have nothing against individuals who chose to pursue a career in PT; I just didn't like it. I have considered pursuing a medical career with professional sports teams. My main mentor, at one point, was one of the surgeons for the US Men's Soccer Team, and one of my other mentors worked as a surgeon for the Atlanta Falcons. That being said, they were able to offer a lot of insight into that career path. I feel that it would be too difficult to have a family and travel with a team.
 

canquito

5+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2015
100
111
United States
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm 100% set on orthopedic surgery yet. I've spent the past year interning with an orthopedic surgery group, and I had no intention of going into surgery when I first started. I initially was trying to secure a spot with the Atlanta Falcons, but that didn't work out. I started the program wanting to be a Sports Medicine PA, but my main mentor convinced me to pursue the MD path. My first time in the OR, I observed total knee arthroplasties, arthroscopies, and a clavicle ORIF. So I got to see all sides of orthopedic surgery, and that was honestly all I needed. I knew that I wanted to try and pursue a career in orthopedic surgery. As an athlete, I've been able to witness how doctors in this field play a key role in helping injured athletes return to the field. I want to offer future athletes that same service and help them overcome their injuries. My mentors also have played a huge role in my passion for this field.

I have considered other specialties such as Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, and OB/GYN. However, I have the biggest passion for orthopedic surgery.

I definitely see where you're coming from. I have spent a little time observing PT, and I just didn't feel that it was the right path for me. I have nothing against individuals who chose to pursue a career in PT; I just didn't like it. I have considered pursuing a medical career with professional sports teams. My main mentor, at one point, was one of the surgeons for the US Men's Soccer Team, and one of my other mentors worked as a surgeon for the Atlanta Falcons. That being said, they were able to offer a lot of insight into that career path. I feel that it would be too difficult to have a family and travel with a team.
LOL my experience with ortho was the opposite. I got the chance to shadow during a tedious hand surgery, an interesting arthroscopic knee procedure, and a total hip replacement complete with drills, hammers and leg contortion and thought to myself, "nope, this ain't it for me."

Glad to see that you've given much thought to the many options that lie in front of you. Plus the benefits of having mentorships this early on cannot be overstated. I'm afraid I can't help your questions about studying/emigrating to Australia but I wish you best of luck!
 

sean80439

7+ Year Member
Apr 15, 2012
345
143
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Get through college first. There is no point trying to plan anything this far in advance. Getting into med school requires excelling in your college courses and taking the MCAT. You are asking people to speculate 10 year in the future. Do some research on your own.
 

BigPikachu

Family Physician / Hospitalist
5+ Year Member
May 25, 2015
87
109
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Status
Attending Physician
Come over prior to starting medicine (i.e. accepted as a Medical Student at an Aussie University); or,
Come over after finished all your specialist training (e.g. received your Board Certification / Fellowship of a Specialty).

It's a very tiring and tedious process trying to come over in the middle of your training (i.e. anywhere between Internship / Residency / Registrarship), because it's hard to translate qualification and experience during this phase.

That would be my recommendation.
 
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