Nearly half of immigrant physicians in U.S., Canada forced into ‘survival jobs,’ Toronto study finds

posted on June 27, 2014

By Ians, | Link to Article

By Ians, | Link to Article

A lack of medical residency positions has forced a number of foreign-trained physicians to turn to “survival jobs” – from delivering pizzas to driving cabs – instead of practising medicine, according to a Toronto hospital study.

Residency is a mandatory stage of medical training in which someone with a medical degree works in a teaching hospital for two to five years to learn from senior doctors.

“Only about 55 per cent of international medical graduates, or IMGs, living in Canada are currently working as physicians,” said Aisha Lofters with Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, which surveyed international medical graduates for the study.
In 2011, 1,800 applicants competed for less than 200 residency positions for foreign trained physicians in Ontario – the country’s largest province.

The odds proved better for Canadians who went abroad for medical training, finding a 20 per cent success rate, compared to only six per cent for immigrant IMGs.

The numbers are similar in the United States where almost half of international medical graduates are unsuccessful in their first attempt at securing a residency position.

In 2013, nearly 48 per cent of non-U.S. citizen applicants secured a residency position compared to 53 per cent of U.S. citizens trained in international schools.

“Those statistics for IMGs in Canada and the United States are not specific to immigrants from low and middle-income countries, so it is possible their numbers might be even lower,” Lofters noted. “Many spoke of the shame they felt in taking what they viewed as survival jobs like delivering pizzas or driving a cab instead of practising medicine,” Lofters added.
The study, which surveyed a total of 462 people, appeared in the Journal of Risk Management and Healthcare Policy.What do you think?

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