International Matching Tips for Medical Graduates
International medical graduates (IMGs) face a difficult battle when seeking medical residency in Canada. IMGs are generally considered to be lower-level candidates solely because of the medical school they attend. However, you can take steps to make yourself more competitive! IMGs are often more resilient than their US counterparts, making them capable of being stronger and better doctors. The main key is to master the IMG pairing!
Unfortunately, about 50% of IMGs will not find a medical residency in Canada match. It’s not because they are incapable. On the contrary, it’s often because they do not know how programs view their files.
IMGs are much more likely to correspond to primary care domains. This is because there are more places available in these areas and because non-primary care specialties tend to have very competitive candidates from American schools. Therefore, IMGs should apply to internal medicine, family practice or pediatrics, even if it is a backup.
Also, do not forget to be realistic about your school performance. If you have average scores, you need to realize that some programs may not be open to you.
Plan Your Rotations Strategically
Although many IMGs do not control their schedules, it is very important to know where your school offers rotations, and if these rotations have a faculty that can really help you. It is important to know in advance who is a faculty member of a particular institution and try to rotate when they are on duty.
You should seek advice from the day school coordinators and ask relevant questions about the staff with whom you will rotate. Are they well respected? Are they members of the residency committees? Have they written strong letters for IMG matching in the past?
It does not help to get a rotation and then discover that the faculty is out of order or on vacation. When planning your rotations, do your homework and look for challenges.
Select IMG-Friendly Residency Programs
Research residency programs that are compatible with IMG. Ask residents who are former IMGs about their experiences and the challenges they have had to overcome. In addition, ask the student coordinators what their experiences are. These personal testimonials are invaluable to getting medical residency in Canada.