Are Observerships Necessary for ECFMG Certification?
Medical graduates outside the United States are given opportunity to enter medical practice in the country. There are sets of requirements, which International Medical Graduates (IMGs) need to comply with before being able to practice their medical profession in the US setting. The Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is a governing body that determines whether IMGs are ready in the US medical system. The ECFMG issues a certification once an applicant has passed various requirements and be able to enter residency or medical practice in the US.
How to Obtain the ECFMG Certification?
Every year, a large number of IMGs are applying for residency and fellowship programs in the US. Each one is taking chances to pass the ECFMG certification, which is a guarantee that a foreign medical graduate is now prepared and competent to handle various medical situations in the US. To satisfy the ECFMG certification, a candidate must pass the examination and medical education credentials requirement. Likewise, an applicant must also be evaluated as to the English language proficiency.
When Does USCE Comes Into the Picture?
One of the known US clinical experiences (USCE) is an observership where the applicant is allowed to shadow or follow physicians from their day to day work in various settings such as clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities. However, they are not allowed to have direct interaction or patient care. As the name implies, they can only observe and learn various procedures and protocols, which can enhance their knowledge in the US medical system as well as filling the gaps in medical education. This is a form of non-hands on clinical experience.
Medical observership is basically not a requirement in obtaining an ECFMG certification. On the positive view, this will give an applicant higher chances of passing the examination requirement in order to secure the ECFMG certification. Having observership program in various rotations of specialty, a graduate is gaining vast experiences while shadowing preceptor physician or supervisor.
Moreover, an applicant who has participated in various observership programs can have higher opportunities for matching into a residency program in the United States This can increase contacts or networks in the medical arena as well as gaining letter of recommendations (LORs) which eventually have a heavier impact in the applicant’s resume. Other USCE which can help boost an applicant’s knowledge in the US medical system are externships and clerkships which are both hands-on experience.
How Observership Can Be Useful?
Taking the view that medical observership in the US is not a requirement in securing the ECFMG certification, an applicant should consider its importance in the practice of medicine in the US setting. Along with the other clinical experiences, observership are still useful in strengthening your CV for the ERAS application process. The more observership programs you participate in, the more opportunities will be open to you in the future. Basically, this clinical experience should not be taken for granted but seen as a stepping-stone to make you a competitive applicant in the residency application process.