Does a nurse really know better than a foreign MD?

Hospital Roberto Santos recebe novos médicos recidentes.
Na foto:
Foto: Ivan Baldivieso | AGECOM

I received this letter from a friend in USA and I will put it as it is:

It is time now to ask ourselves this question:

Should we all as foreign medical graduates stay silent or reach out to make our voice heard and be treated as what we really deserve to achieve?

I practiced family medicine and dermatology in Egypt for almost 20 years after I got my MD from Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University in Assiut, Egypt. In 2003, I moved to the USA to achieve a better future to my kids and my family. I searched for how to practice medicine in the USA as a foreign medical graduate and I found out that I have to go through some tests to be licensed. USMLE which stands for United States Medical Licensure Examination is a mandatory test for all medical graduates including graduates of US medical schools to pass in order to be licensed to practice medicine in the United States. I applied for the USMLE which includes 3 steps and I passed all these steps in relatively high grades. I applied for residency programs in all 52 states. To my surprise, I did NOT receive any single invitation for an interview.

I called a lot of programs and they told me that the year of graduation is the problem. I was graduated in 1982 and they prefer recent graduates. I tried to explain to them that I passed all the USMLE steps in a higher grades than a lot of recent graduates of US medical schools but no one responded to me or even listened to me. By the way. USMLE assesses medical graduates in all basic and clinical subjects of medicine. It is, by statistics, the most challenging test in the USA and may be in the whole world.

I didn’t waste my time and I didn’t apply anymore for residency but I started teaching foreign medical graduates online and in live classes. I am so proud that a lot of my students achieved their dreams and got residencies in the USA.

Fast forward, one of my family members got Acne and needed treatment. We called the dermatology clinic to get an appointment. There was no available appointments for 6 months. A nurse practitioner will see him in 6 months. Wow!!

Thousands of medical school graduates working in research or minimum-wage jobs to support their families because residency programs do not accept them. Their only fault that they are graduates of foreign medical school. I understand that it is hard to evaluate their education abroad but the USMLE is more than enough test to evaluate their knowledge and ability to practice medicine in the USA.
My heart is broken when I see medical graduates and foreign doctors spend thousands of dollars on USMLE and residency applications while they are working in minimum-wage jobs for the hope to get a license to practice medicine while a nursing practitioner can freely practice medicine after four years of college and one or two years of internship.

I didn’t mean to criticise nurses. They really do great job and without them, medical field will be totally messed up.

It is a lose-lose situation for America and all medical graduates to ignore this problem.

To all my colleagues, please speak up. Let all people around you and the legislature in your state be aware of this problem. Reach out to all communities, government and non-government organizations stand for this cause.

You spent a lot of years of your life studying and dreaming, please don’t give up.

11 thoughts on “Does a nurse really know better than a foreign MD?”

  1. Very true sir!!! Discrimination shd end!! But after the political changes in US, this looks like a distant dream!!!

    • I do not think it is a distant dream. The need of healthcare providers should move those who make decisions to think about these thousands of foreign medical graduates but we have to make them aware of this problem. Let us be hopeful and raise our voices. Thank you Dr Kaur for your comment.

  2. Yes its very true. I m a post graduate dermatologist from Pakistan, worked in MOH Saudi Arabia. After moving to US i dealt with the same difficulties. I did a dermatological lasers course n wanted to move into cosmetic industry. I was surprised to notice that i m not eligible to inject botox n other cosmetic injections but their RN can!! So we are less than their nurses even. Their nurses can inject better than us. What to do!!!!
    We cant even work as a phlebotomist in a lab because there medical assistants can draw blood better than we do. Hats off to system makers.

    • This is exactly what I am talking about. We need to treated at least as academics and that way we can just take some training to do decent jobs. Thank you

  3. You all are right but this is their system nobody invites u to got admission in your own country which needs you more but instead of being local to you own country u all are running to USA.your country made u drs for own people but when u are on your own feet and poor people of ur country are expecting your services you run away u dont like their system u dont go.secondly what happens to foreign non arab drs in arabian countries all know it.drs salary is lesser than his dispensers salary who doesnot know how to give i.m and comes only once in a week and about pakistan same drs what they comment foreign graduate pakistani drs as made in china etc so everywhere is discrimination so dont blame one USA see your own attitude first.dont mind please what i am writing its only peak of iceberg

    • First of all, I don’t blame anyone about that. I blame ourselves because those who make decisions are not aware of this problem. Second, we have the right and our families too to improve our lives wherever there is a better life for our kids. Third, what doctors can do to poor people of my country if they don’t find hospital beds or appropriate medications?. I am sorry Dr Azmat but I doubt that if you get a chance to go to the USA or Saudi Arabia, you will do what you had said. Thank you.

  4. I am full agree with you, after all this is not the only problem in USA it is the same problem as well as in UK. We should take a stand about it and take to do some action because after all it’s the qurstikn of our future.

    • I agree with you Dr Aamir. People who make decisions should be aware of this problema and I am sure there will be a better solution.

  5. I could not even begin to understand why this happens but I agree it shouldn’t. The fact that you adapted and helped other people how to get their USMLE is awesome and commendable though. Very thinking outside the box You didn’t give up trying to help people even when your immediate endeavors were hindered.

  6. You are absolutely right Dr. Makar. Am also struggling here in the US meanwhile, when I was in my country, I was the personal Doctor to the president of my country in Africa. Dr. Makar, I would be glad to have your email if you don’t mind.


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