One of the most talked-about presentations at the May OUM Student Conference in Brisbane described invaluable strategies for helping international medical graduates (IMGs) start their internship/Junior Medical Officer (JMO) role on par with local medical school graduates. (Link to the presentation is below.)
Those strategies and their accompanying core skill needs were shared by Class of 2017 graduate, Dr. Caroline Esho (pictured right in an OUM November 2022 social media post). The unique thing about Dr. Esho is that although she was born and grew up in Australia, as an OUM grad she is an IMG.
“But I think like an Australian and used this superpower to play the game,” she says on the website for the educational platform she co-founded with Dr. Sasha Brill, who earned her MBBS from Stellenbosch University in South Africa and practices in Tasmania. The platform, “Code You Australia,” shares tips and advice from one doctor to another, focused primarily on helping IMGs navigate the Australian healthcare system. Interestingly, their advice also applies to IMGs preparing for their first post-graduate roles in OUM’s other markets — Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, and the United States.
Local Grads vs. IMGs and Making a Great JMO
Dr. Esho explains that graduates from local medical schools have been attached to one hospital, perhaps several, throughout their medical education. They know processes, where departments and supplies may be located, how procedures are done. But they are often younger, in their first job, finding their feet, which is not the case for OUM’s many non-traditional students who are more mature, not afraid to ask questions, in possession of many transferable and soft skills which make great interns/JMOs, she says.
“JMOs are valued for their soft skills, not necessarily for their medical knowledge,” explains Dr. Esho. “As medical students, we were focused on the knowledge we needed to pass exams, but as an intern you realize that you aren’t the one making the decisions. You are most valued when you’re a good communicator, when you’re efficient, you have good common sense, you can multitask, and you’re honest,” she says, adding that OUM graduates with these and a set of additional Core Skills can be on par, if not surpass, local graduates.
When is the best time to learn these Core Skills? “As medical students, during clinical rotations,” Dr. Esho says. A mere handful of these Core Skills include:
- Documentation (Ward-Round Notes, including Surgical Rounds, Admissions Notes, Acronyms, the Geeky Medics app, and Pathology Forms)
- Taking Blood (Taking blood properly; learn the tubes and other equipment; know what company runs the lab and why)
- Prescribing IV Fluids/Electrolytes, Prescribing Insulin (and resource handbooks)
- Familiarity with Codes: MET Call Team, Code Blue Team, ICU Team (know your role)
MANY, MANY MORE CORE SKILLS AND RESOURCES ARE DETAILED IN THE PRESENTATION. To access “Closing the Gap”, visit https://www.codeyouaustralia.com/pl/2147765084.