Term Paper: Medical School Admission

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[. . .] " Medical schools are aware of these differences and typically offer programs that will promote specialty diversity and choice. Offshore medical schools, although they are relatively new in scope, recognize the importance of medical specialties since they are responsible for observing trends in U.S. healthcare, and most of their students will reenter the U.S. system upon graduation from their programs.

As a result, offshore medical school programs, with their responsibility to adhere to high accreditation standards, are required to provide students with maximum opportunities for learning and diversity. Perhaps the only deterrent that exists is the lack of funds, income from tuition, and student enrollment that exists in U.S. medical schools that prevents these organizations from providing students with the best possible technology and expert faculty in specialty areas. However, as these medical schools have emerged as feasible alternatives to American programs, their standards have risen and must be satisfied in order to promote growth and preparedness of their students, and this includes the option to declare study in a medical specialty.

The Emergence of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) study by Koehn, Fryer, Phillips, Miller, and Green evaluated the prevalence of International Medical Graduates in U.S. residency programs in recent years, specifically in the area of Family Practice. The study indicates that in 2000, 27% of U.S. citizen IMGs entered family practice residency programs, and these residents often relocate to poverty areas in a number of large cities upon graduation (433-434). Furthermore, "A study of general pediatricians found that while international graduates are less likely to practice in rural areas than U.S. graduates, IMGs were more likely to be located in shortage areas...the increased number of IMGs entering family practice may not represent a sustained commitment to the specialty or a stable source of applicants. The full implication of the rise in IMGs in family practice residency programs will only be ascertained by further studies to determine the practice patterns of U.S. citizens and non- U.S. citizen IMGs in family practice, particularly in physician shortage areas" (434). The existence of IMGs in family practice programs demonstrates that graduates from nontraditional medical school programs are gaining wider acceptance in traditional healthcare institutions than in previous years, although their acceptance is not yet proven to be universal across all areas of the United State, and their value and knowledge must still be demonstrated in many regions.

Physician Distribution study conducted in Ontario focused on the shortage of qualified physicians in the area and has responded by allowing International Medical Graduates to practice in Canada. Furthermore, "With the implementation of the new IMG program for fully trained foreign positions, many spots in the recently expanded IMG program will become available to new graduates of foreign medical schools. Historically, foreign physicians who have come to work in Canada have made vast contributions to the development and quality of the current health care system. While it is hoped that this new program will attract high-caliber medical graduates, it may instead be exploited by Canadian students who were not able to gain entry into a highly competitive Canadian medical school. Some of these students may subsequently obtain a medical degree from any of the numerous foreign programs designed specifically to attract such candidates...admissions criteria for these schools have lower academic requirements and are unlikely to include selection for those non-academic traits that are specifically desired of successful candidates at Ontario medical schools" (Drzymala 170). The same can be stated for medical schools in the United States. In areas of physician shortage, including rural and disadvantaged areas, the need may influence the likelihood that medical students from offshore programs may be accepted into these programs to fill the gaps in care. However, it is difficult to measure the standards of care provided by these residents and its relationship to the medical training provided in offshore medical programs.

Medical School Specialty Choices research study conducted by Reed, Jernstedt, and Reber revealed that primary care providers, including those that practice family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics make up fewer than 30% of all physicians that practice in the United States (117). The study also indicates that "As medical schools have planned and implemented changes designed to reverse the trend toward specialty rather than generalist choice, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of studies conducted to examine medical school specialty selection. Educators and researchers alike hope that understanding the forces affecting specialty choice will provide clues to the best ways to influence such choice in the future" (117-118). The choice of medical specialty is influenced by a number of factors, including student desire, program desire, and competition for available spaces (118). Furthermore, "Medical students who chose primary care were more likely to consider opportunities to provide direct patient care, continuity of care, care in an ambulatory setting, and care involving psychosocial aspects of medicine as important, whereas students who chose nonprimary care specialties were more likely to be influenced by opportunities for research, prestige, income, and more control over their time" (122).

The referenced study also demonstrates that "The more knowledge an individual has of the possible consequences of selections, the better able she or he should be to assign both a value and a probability to each possible outcome, thus reducing some of the uncertainty in decision making. Many of the studies that have examined specialty choice in medical education have focused on this aspect of decision-making. These studies have explored whether programs that provide increased information about a specialty, usually in the form of exposure to that specialty through a preceptorship or clerkship, can positively influence medical students' ultimate choice of that specialty" (119). The implementation of a required internship mechanism before the assigned residency has begun is an influential factor in medical decision-making. In offshore medical programs, internships are a positive factor that will enhance the educational outcomes of graduates from these programs. Since the areas in which these schools are located may include areas that are faced with poverty or other predicaments, student internships can provide a positive influence for both students and local communities. In areas where primary care physicians are in high demand, the existence of such internship programs may influence the decisions of new medical residents to enter into primary care programs, filling a need in certain areas of the U.S.: "90% of students stated that such an experience had increased their understanding in primary care medicine and that 41 of students indicated that the experience had influenced their specialty choice. 93% of students reported that the clerkship helped them learn about common problems in medical practice, whereas 87% agreed that it helped them to develop their ability to communicate with patients, and 81% reported that the role of the primary care preceptor was an important factor in their learning" (120).

These statistics demonstrate that internship programs are effective components in decisions regarding medical school specialty or primary care choice in residency programs.

Medical educators possess a responsibility "Not only to influence the distribution of physicians and specialties but also to help students make decisions that are appropriate for them...We find that students appear to be making rational specialty choice decisions and that a not-insignificant number of physicians rethink their decision and change specialty area at some point...helping students to understand the components, the time course, and the complexities inherent in the decision should make the various elements involved more salient and hence more useful" (127). Medical professionals provide new entrants into the profession a wealth of guidance and support in the decision-making process that can ultimately result in positive career decisions for bright students.

Medical school specialty programs are strongly committed to providing students with the best possible training and preparation through the use of state-of-the-art technology, skilled faculty with many years of experience in specialty areas, and enhanced curriculum that provides students with the most advanced information regarding the specialty of choice. For prestigious medical schools, including Harvard and other Ivy League institutions, the ability to provide exemplary training and instruction is their most significant strength, and as a result, these programs are considered the standard for all other U.S. medical programs. Most U.S. medical school programs provide these offerings, which improve the overall employability and skill development of future physicians. However, offshore medical schools possess limited resources in comparison to their U.S. counterparts because of limited wealth and interest in these programs. Although their tuition is somewhat high, these schools are often unable to provide students with the same resources that are available in U.S. medical schools. Therefore, their programs are often disproportionate in nature and offerings. Offshore medical school graduates may typically experience difficulties in securing residencies in U.S. healthcare facilities, particularly in specialty programs because students do not possess the training and knowledge to guarantee a successful transition into the medical… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Medical School Admission.  (2003, March 9).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/medical-school-admission/2855356

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