05 11 / 2012
the ridiculous thing is that i’m pretty smart but at the same time i manage to be the dumbest person alive
22 10 / 2011
So I been updating about what books and review material I been using so some who might not be well aware of Top Medical education system i.e United States Medical Licensing Exam etc might be curious & may not understand that reading & using right material/resources for exam and wards is really crucial so I been posting all the stuff which I prefer to use so it may give some idea to those who are also preparing/studding that what might be good for them.
Secondly, by mentioning and highlighting Pakistani Medical education system, books and study material we (Pakistani doctors and Med student) use I’m explaining (to those who may not already ware of it ) that we have same standard and books and also language of learning as US, or UK medical graduate have, we use same books as one might be studying in US Med school, unlike some countries i.e former Soviet Union states, Eastern European countries etc(they not only have different language of teaching and I thinks they also have their own version of medical text books etc too !) …. no harm in appreciating & complimenting the system in which you studied even if you are strive for the best and open for improvement! Right???
Other than this it is not of any personal benefit for me, I alraady have my permanent US MD certification, I also passed my USMLE step 3 exam, I don’t need to prove or show anything else to anyone(i.e people who haven’t been able to earn any genuine credential but are very keen in making drama using media, criticize and keep trying to find shortcoming on others who are struggling!)
25 9 / 2011
Personal impression/experience about joining a physician training program(Residency training program) in US:
So first let me make it clear these are my personal impression may not necessarily correct/perfect, may not fit for everyone as advise/guideline, I am writing it as foreign medical graduate prospective ( which actually I myself am!), may actually need some improvement as when you are inexperienced and just struggling in dark you naturally entitle to make few dumb moves LOL, so feedback and suggestions are welcome!
There is common misconception that to join a PGY1 all you need is very good scores in USMLE Step 1 & 2 and recent graduation, but this is more like a myth, may be correct a decade earlier but in reality this is not all you need.
You are foreign graduate you have no idea how to function in US medical system/hospitals, you may not be able interact properly with physicians and other staff in the hospital, you may not be able to built proper patient-physician relationship/interaction due to your lack of proper understanding of social and other variables effecting a patient’s mind at the time of his illness. Most program director don’t value clinical experience gained outside the US, and also Research which yet haven’t been able to get its place on some reputable international medical general. Beside passing 2 tests and having a medical degree is not enough you also need to have whole package representing you as an MD(personality, dedication, score result mirroring you while they are interviewing you, fit to be physician in their particular hospital) to stand equal with them and they wont feel any embarrassment or feel lowered while introducing you as one of them to the faculty members of other programs/world!
So basically a foreign medical graduate who wish to work as physician in US need US clinical work as internship or in some other form, but this is not enough as US med student have more than this, a nurse can have much more than what you may gain in years! In US not only physicians but even general public pays lots of efforts to stay current and up to date with latest research, evidence based medicine may not yet have its proper place in some other countries but in US teaching hospitals its imperative, even most US med students from good medical schools already have published research articles with their names in it at the time when they are seeking PGY1 position!
Okay this will give you a basic information that what kind of resume you need to work on and should have on table when you are trying to approach a program director and acting as a physician.
So now about my own situation which might give a practical understanding of real life situation.
Most people(in my particular setting) who are actually unaware of medical system in US think its just a simple process you got your medical degree and boom get into a hospital there and start earning lots of money but as I mentioned above I must had to overcome lots of other obstacle before being eligible to work as physician, I passed initial two licensing exam and then got chance to travel to US and passed final exam to get MD certification and be eligible to work as physician, during this period for short period I worked with a Pakistani American physician to get clinical learning and some interaction with US staff. Then I joined West Virginia University Charleston Area Medical Center and got chance not only participate in extensive clinical research but also it was also FDA approved center of Clinical drug trials so I got to learn about drugs which were under process of approval under FDA guideline and how this whole process is completed.
Then next I got opportunity to work in NYU medical center in Aging and Dementia Research center with Dr. Barry Resiberg MD who is world renowned psychiatrist lots of research, scales and also invention of a drug for Alzheimer’s disease is on his credit. And finally after appearing in United State Medical Licensing Exam Step 3 which most US physicians like to pass while they are already have joined a hospital as then it become easy to pass it, I had to return back as my visa was expiring.
Okay make it clear, when you work in a research project its not a few weeks or months process, it take years to get published an article in some reputable general and it become a reference point in rounds and medical meetings for patient treatment… because you have to do your own research work, then other people(other faculty members, physician participating in it) also contribute/asses it, then submission process, then publishing general has it’s own review board and process to consider it eligible to be published in their general and then finally may have waiting period as many other articles may already be there in queue waiting to be published….. So this not like you go there and work few months and all done you become someone who actually have something on his name!
So obviously when you are adding research credit on your resume you need time, you can’t claim that yeah I graduated from med school last year and now I am that person who did this and that in American research field! And when you are seeking a position as psychiatrist it is meaningless that when you graduated and what test score you may have if you don’t have experience in filed of psychiatry, beside in psychiatry you need much more patience and endurance as many of psychiatric illnesses are either chronic or require very long period of care for patient to make him fit properly in a community.
So I think I built a very good resume and become a very good candidate to work as physician specially in field of psychiatry in US but unfortunately when I was able to add proper credentials and qualification then visa situation couldn’t remain in my favor. You know having letter of recommendation mentioning that you participated in such and such project without you being able to show that such work really exist on medical filed and physician seek it as reference while treating patient don’t put much weight in your application and image unless you happens to be someone who have letters from someone who is extremely well known to the interviewer!
So do I feel this five years of hardship and struggle was just a waste of time, energy and money as having MD certification and being able to pass all the US licensing exam didn’t provide any further benefits outside US specially here in Pakistan?
No I don’t think so, there are lots of other benefits I have by being involve in this process e.g:
- What percentage of physician outside US actually ever been able to published some research work in major medical general with their name included in author section? Regardless of percentage, I been able to achieve this! Don’t you think it is achievement as a physician?
- Worked in major FDA clinical drug trial center, experienced lots of drugs and devices going through approval process and eventually be available to patient all over the US/world. Such experience I wouldn’t be able to get in my own setting here regardless of whatever efforts I may be able to do.
- Worked in US hospitals and also learnt work etiquette prevail there, so now I have experience crucial to work in any international institute not just in US but anywhere in the world, so now feel much more qualified and competent to function as a physician anywhere in the world.
So these are my impressions and experience I hope it will give a general idea to physician planning for their career that what might be most suitable next step for them to chose/do!
Good luck guys!