If you have been keeping up with the news, you have probably seen some of the astonishing COVID-19 related photos in circulation. Perhaps the most impactful of these are the ones of healthcare professionals with faces bruised from wearing protective gear for far too long or physicians asleep in breakrooms with no option to turn in for the night. It’s clear from these images that COVID-19 is highlighting a number of shortages within the healthcare system. These include deficiencies of ventilators, protective gear, and healthcare professionals.
It seems the predicted physician shortage in the U.S. has come early thanks to COVID-19. To offset this shortage, healthcare providers with different levels of experience are stepping up to the frontlines. This includes nurse practitioners who are carrying out more than the duties they were trained for.
These nurse practitioners have large shoes to fill, which can be supported by those with more appropriate training, namely internationally trained medical graduates. In the following post, we provide an overview of the impending physician shortage and why clinical experience will be more important than ever following this pandemic.
Due to the overwhelming number of older-aged physicians and their expected retirements, the U.S. will have a shortage of 122,000 physicians by 2032. At present, the U.S. medical education system is not large enough to meet such demands.
Signs of the physician shortage are already showing up in rural and impoverished communities. Individuals who have a reliable means of transportation may travel great distances to receive healthcare. Those who cannot afford this luxury must wait for a traveling clinic to come. Often times, clinics can only provide limited care. This means many patients will need to go elsewhere for supplemental healthcare. Often times they turn to walk-in clinics that charge high prices. The cost of procedures at these places can put individuals in debt for the rest of their lives.
Medical Education in the U.S.
If the U.S. medical education system were more extensive, it would be able to turn out enough students to eliminate the chance of a shortage. Unfortunately, limited seats mean high price tags, tough competition, and necessary rejection. The reality is the current infrastructure of medical education in the U.S. cannot make up for the number of professionals set to retire.
International medical trainees provide a solution to this. With approximately 2,800 medical schools around the world turning out graduates each year, there are more than enough healthcare professionals to go around.
This solution is not without its issues though. It can be difficult for international medical students to obtain the requirements necessary to become licensed healthcare providers in the U.S. It is a multistep process that requires examinations, clinical experiences, and a long stint in residency. With the need for international medical trainees becoming more apparent, companies are stepping up to help in the process. This is where AMOpportunities comes in.
Clinical Experiences as a Solution
At AMOpportunities, we work to connect international medical trainees to clinical experiences. These experiences can help them on their journey to becoming licensed medical professionals in the U.S.
Although COVID-19 has resulted in many negatives, there has been one positive outcome. This pandemic is showing how valuable those with international medical training can be.
To do our part in the fight against COVID-19, the AMOpportunities team is to do continuing to connect international medical students and graduates with the clinical experiences they want and need. Many of our rotation sites are still open and eagerly waiting to fill seats for upcoming months.
Interested in finding out more about these opportunities?
Our team of AMO advisors can provide more information on our open programs.