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Perrotfish

Has an MD in Horribleness
10+ Year Member
May 26, 2007
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I graduate in May and I start residency in July. In between I would like to do some medical volunteer work (I'm considering programs both domestically and abroad). When I go, is it legal for me to act as an intern and write orders under the supervision of an attending physician, or do I need to wait until I actually start Intern year to be able to perscribe anything?
 

thechad

10+ Year Member
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May 22, 2008
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I graduate in May and I start residency in July. In between I would like to do some medical volunteer work (I'm considering programs both domestically and abroad). When I go, is it legal for me to act as an intern and write orders under the supervision of an attending physician, or do I need to wait until I actually start Intern year to be able to perscribe anything?
You've seriously never heard of medical licensure?
 

Smurfette

Gargamel always had a thing for blondes.
Staff member
Administrator
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Jun 6, 2001
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If you are in the States, you will need to have a valid medical license in the state you work in. And since as a new grad, you'll have a training license, and cannot work outside your training program under that license, you won't be able to act as an MD/intern legally. (Plus the training license start date will likely be for the day your residency program starts, so you'd be completely unlicensed between graduation and residency). Obviously you could act as a sub-i/student and get things co-signed.

If going abroad, it would depend on the country's laws regarding this type of thing. Some places may not let you do this, depending on the health care environment in that country. I suspect that most third world countries are unlikely to regulate you, but admit I have no specific knowledge to support this. Someone who has done medical mission trips may have better info.
 
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mdquestion

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2009
157
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Just a thought- Instead of working....why not just relax, travel, enjoy life before intern year starts? You have the rest of your life to practice medicine. Take a break down from all the craziness and unwind a bit from your big accomplishment!
 

Tired

Fading away
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Dec 12, 2006
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If going abroad, it would depend on the country's laws regarding this type of thing. Some places may not let you do this, depending on the health care environment in that country. I suspect that most third world countries are unlikely to regulate you, but admit I have no specific knowledge to support this. Someone who has done medical mission trips may have better info.
Perrot - depending on where you go, local rules will vary. In Iraq you could buy a medical license for about $100 American. Never did it, but gave it serious thought.

The bigger issue is American laws. You violate some laws abroad, especially while working for a volunteer organization, who's going to hold you accountable? Odds are, no matter where you're at, there's not a lot of oversight going on in medicine. But especially if you already have some form of licensure in the US or have applied for it, the laws/rules of that state will apply to you no matter where you're at. Law enforcement may be limited to certain jurisdictions, but medical board rules are administrative in nature, and can be applied much more broadly.

Example: My state medical board puts out the quarterly list of all adverse actions on licenses. Every quarter there's a handful of people who had action taken against their licenses for things they did in another state. "License revoked for boundry violations in WY." Happens all the time. Maybe they can't get charged criminally, but state boards can deny or revoke a license for things you do anywhere. And remember the whole thing with the "enhanced interrogation techniques" our CIA brothers did? California's state medical board said that any physician who participated and held a CA license would face adverse action; didn't matter that it took place overseas.

I'd be really weary of this whole thing. A problem right before internship can potentially screw you over. Last thing you want to do is face some big investigation as you're trying to get your first training license...
 
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