When deciding what your ideal candidate will look like during the physician recruitment process, most recruiters will cover training first. Some organizations prefer certain residency/fellowship programs or medical schools, due either to the specific focus of a program or the culture of the group. One thing that is common in many health care organizations is an unspoken preference for candidates that graduated from American medical schools, despite the fact that both American Medical Graduates (or AMGs) and Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) must complete residency and fellowships in the United States in order to practice medicine in their desired specialty.
This preference is often misguided and can cause an organization to miss out on fantastic candidates that would be an excellent addition to their team. In fact, candidates that were educated and trained abroad can bring a unique set of skills, experiences, and characteristics that would only enrich an organization. Below are four perks to making foreign graduates a part of your physician recruitment strategy.
Maturity & Experience
It’s rare to find a foreign medical graduate that is entering an American residency program right out of medical school. Many of these physicians complete residencies in their home countries, practice as licensed physicians for a time, and conduct research in the United States before applying for residency programs. Generally, this is done to increase the odds of their matching to a residency program, which is much more difficult for foreign graduates. This means the average foreign medical graduate is often more mature and experienced than his fellow residents. This can be an asset when hiring a new physician, decreasing the amount of time needed to ramp up.
Diversity & Language Skills
It’s been established that patients who share a cultural and ethnic background with their providers receive better care and report higher patient satisfaction. Everything from the removal a language barrier to patient comfort plays a role in this. While recruiters know the importance of hiring physicians who come from the same background as their patient population, many struggle to find candidates that would help them meet this need.
This is where recruiting foreign medical graduates can help – many of these physicians come from Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries – all populations which are growing in the US and are in need of more physicians who understand their unique needs. By actively recruiting internationally trained physicians, recruiters can help provide their patients with higher quality, individualized care.
Perseverance & Initiative
Becoming a physician in the United States is no easy task for a foreign trained physician. Between studying for the USMLEs (which include a comprehensive test of English language skills), volunteering or conducting research at US hospitals to get American letters of recommendation and make themselves more competitive, and often failing to match with a residency program more than once (while the match rate for US grads is 93%, for foreign grads it is under 50%), foreign medical graduates face a difficult path to becoming a physician in America. For these physicians, it requires untold amounts of determination, perseverance, and initiative to even enter into a residency program.
This qualities would be an excellent addition to any team, providing the organization with candidates that would do (and have done) whatever it takes to succeed and do their jobs well, even when it would be an uphill battle.
Key Take Aways:
- Foreign medical graduates often have completed a residency at home and practiced for several years before beginning residency in the US, providing them with valuable experience that their fellow residents don’t have.
- Hiring foreign physicians can help an organization meet it’s needs for a diverse physician workforce.
- Foreign physicians have often faced a long, hard slog to become physicians in America. Their drive, grit, and perseverance are all fantastic qualities to have in a physician employee.