Friday, October 24, 2008

Advice for Foreign Physicians on Job Opportunities

I have listed some temporary Job Opportunities for Foreign Doctors entering into US Medical System. While there are many factors that are important in the success of getting into a residency program, the ability to persist and preserve in life stands out head and shoulders above the rest!

Life to most doctors who did not match seems to be filled with uncertainty, self doubt and financial shackles. I’ve been there and I am very much familiar with that life situation, it is natural to feel let down and disappointed but the wisdom we gain from going through the process of feeling deep disappointment gives us access to the heart of humanity. If it’s any consolation, like everything else in life... this too shall pass. A few years from now you will wonder why you let yourself worry so much. I'm not trying to make light of it here. I just want to put it in perspective.

Not in a particular order but these are few of the alternative job opportunities you can pursue until you get into a residency program:

1. Physician Assistant
2. Medical Assistant
3. Working in Kaplan with Student Visa
4. Research Associate
5. Pre-Residency Fellowships
6. Nursing
7. Sleep Technician
8. Others

1. Physician Assistant - Although most states in US require a PA license to practice, there are County hospitals affiliated with Universities which provide Foreign Medical Graduates (FMG) with Temporary Residency Training License which allows you to work as an Intern/PA/Fellow, they are Non-ACGME accredited programs and will sponsor H1b Visa's if you passed step 3 and J1 if you haven't.

Some of the Non-ACGME programs, which provide these opportunities, are:

(A) Liver and Renal Transplant (Surgery) programs
(B) HIV/ Special Immunology (Medicine) programs

Your Salary will be the same as the first year resident and you are required to be ECFMG Certified.

I've known colleagues who have not completed USMLE and switched to being a Physician Assistant after taking the 2 year PA course and are now earning a very good income with a 9-5 job.

2. Medical Assistant - This also requires you to be certified but there are private clinics who will take you as a medical assistant without certification. I doubt if they will be able to sponsor your visa, but if you are a green card or a citizen and are unable to get an observerships or clinical experience, this is a safe alternative. (Also a good way of acquiring recommendation letters)

3. Working at Kaplan with Student Visa - I don't think this requires much explanation.

4. Research Associate - There are tons of positions available in this arena. All you have to do is go the website of the University near you and look at Job Opportunities section. The draw back with this is that they all require Research Experience. Don't be discouraged, the best way to approach this is to personally go to the department at least 3 times a week and just help them out with anything and everything. You have to use your interpersonal skills here. You will achieve much more by doing this than sending your application online and waiting for reply.

5. Pre-Residency Fellowships - These are fellowships which provide you with US Clinical Experience. You will be working as an Intern and earning similar income as an Intern, These programs are only available at University based hospitals. They sponsor H1b and J1 visas and require you to be ECFMG Certified.

Some of the Non-ACGME programs, which provide these opportunities, are:

(A) Interventional Radiology
(B) Trauma
(C) Neurosurgery
(D) Pediatric Surgery

6. Nursing - While working at the university, I've met number of FMG's who took a temporary appointment as a Nurse at a hospital. When I inquired why they chose this route, almost all of them replied that it was either for financial reasons or to secure their immigration status. All of them got their Green Cards through this opportunity and made considerable amount of money to finish their USMLE steps and apply for positions. Most of them had family and children to support. Last year, I was delighted to find out that out of 7 individuals, 5 of them matched successfully in Family Practice (mostly NJ). Drawback – You have to complete a nursing course at a nearby college for 1 or 2 years and have to pass NCLEX.

7. Sleep Technician - This is getting more popular now days, Sleep clinics all over the country require Sleep Technicians. The job responsibilities are simple, apply EEG electrodes and gather data. This is especially a great opportunity if you are interested in pursuing residency in Neurology. Drawbacks – Most probably no visa sponsorship and you should be willing to work at nights.

8. Miscellaneous Jobs - There are sometimes situations in life which requires one to work at jobs which are not related to the medical field. There is no shame in this, but is sign of great strength and maturity. I have known Cardiologists, Surgeons, Pediatricians etc. who worked at gas stations, waiters at restaurants, janitors and some even as barbers. Interestingly, some of them mentioned this experience in their personal statements very eloquently which added depth and humility to their personality. Honoring whatever experiences we have in our lives is an invaluable way to transcend to the next level, our greatest teacher is off course life itself.

8 comments:

Costi si Cristina said...

Hy everyone,
i am a medical student from europe in my last year i alsoi heve a registred nurse licence, i would like some more specific info regarding the jobs below

1. Physician Assistant
2. Medical Assistant
3. Working in Kaplan with Student Visa
4. Research Associate
5. Pre-Residency Fellowships
6. Nursing
7. Sleep Technician
8. Others
how can i find this kind of job that do not require the usmle
please help
thank you

preethi said...

hi i am a medical graduate from india .... i wud like to know about job opportunities in hospitals as i am preparing for the usmle steps

tea said...

It was really very honest and kind blog from you and thank you so much for all the information you shared with us, but, there is one BUT, nowhere in the position listed below you will not be able to get anything without knowing somebody. You are right when you told that it is not shame to work in a different kind of job,I worked as a caregiver,I prepared My USMLE Step 2 CK and even step 3 (which I did not take yet) working on a full time job as a caregiver 6 days a week and 24 hours in a day, I have green card and I knocked on every door,believe me, nobody wants to open it.
bottom line in this is that you should be lucky,not hard working or even smart or something else

ralph said...

I am a foreign graduate but US Board certified in Otolaryngology and licensed.
I will be setting up my own private practice in Texas in a small community. I will be pleased to consider foreign graduates to come work for me as assistants till he or she can get ahead with their career.

Holly Jahangiri said...

ralph, how would someone contact you?

kel said...

hi raph, i am am an ECFMG certified foreign medical graduate residing in miami and will be happy to work for your as a medical assistant or in any health related position available anywhere in the u.s

vcnap@yahoo.com
3125137651

Salma said...

ralph are you still hiring fmgs who are studying for their USMLE or do you know of anyone else that is hiring? thx

ralph said...

Hi Salma,

Look into Craiglist in the major cities like NY, Houston,LA and others. You will be surprised the clinics are looking for FMGs to fill MA and PA positions.

Look into Houston, I know of one Neurologist in the HUMBLE area looking for MBBS graduates from India. He advertised in Craiglist. I will find out more.