Foreign MDs becoming US CRNAs

  1. I had a very interesting conversation with an RN the other day. Her sister is a physician in another country and could not get into the US as a practicing physician. Instead, she went to nursing school in her home country (Lansing College), got her BSN and was accepted with open arms into the United States.

    She worked in an ICU for 2 years, applied to CRNA school, and is now a CRNA in the US. The school was not aware that she was a physician in another country and that the general "practice" among foreign physicians-turned-RNs is not to announce that they were physicians in another country. I am told that foreign nursing schools are just inundated with former physicians who plan to come to the USA with similiar plans to attend CRNA school in the US in mind. With the salary that US CRNAs have to offer, it must be lucrative compared to a physician's salary outside of the US.

    I guess this adds to the fierce competition to CRNA schools, but doesn't this seem deceptive???......
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   cnmtocrna
    The Philipines is where a lot of MD turned nurses come from. I heard a story on NPR about it. Even an average nursing salary in the U.S. is higher than that of a physician in the Philipines, thus the motivation for the docs to go to nursing school and come here to work. Like you said, it is wide open for nurses, but not so easy at all for MDs to come here to work. I don't think that many go for advanced degrees, but I could be wrong.
  4. by   calgal
    Actually, this RN's sister says that approx. 1/4 of her medical school class from the foreign country are now practicing CRNAs here in the USA.
    What I find deceptive about this is that if asked, none of them will admit that they used to be physicians from a foreign country. Shouldn't this be something to be proud of instead of something to actively hide???

    Furthermore, if anyone were to try to quantify how many foreign MDs are now practicing US CRNAs, it would be impossible to come up with an accurate number.
  5. by   Impartial_pressure
    fine with me as long as they have to go through what I have.

    Quote from calgal
    Actually, this RN's sister says that approx. 1/4 of her medical school class from the foreign country are now practicing CRNAs here in the USA.
    What I find deceptive about this is that if asked, none of them will admit that they used to be physicians from a foreign country. Shouldn't this be something to be proud of instead of something to actively hide???

    Furthermore, if anyone were to try to quantify how many foreign MDs are now practicing US CRNAs, it would be impossible to come up with an accurate number.
  6. by   Rep
    It's true here in the Philippines where doctors with 10 to 15 years of experience going back to nursing schools to earn a degree. It's the green card ( immigrant visa ) they are after. Most of these doctors are well off financially and that there is no need for them to go to the US to earn more money.
  7. by   Roland
    This situation causes me to ponder exactly WHAT "barriers" to entry that the AMA, and other relevent organizations have been able to implement that causes Dr's to "abandon all hope" of becoming physicians in the United States. Perhaps nurses (not just CRNA's) could emulate these tactics through prudent "lobbying" to decrease the supply of "cheap nursing labor" flowing into the country. In addition, to legislative apporaches accredidation bodies might also implement mandates, protocals, and procedures that address the issue. Keep in mind as a "free trade orientated" individual I am speaking from a self serving perspective as a future nurse! Thus, I criticise Bush for his steel tariffs (now resended thanks in part to the complaints from his political base). However, if I were a future steel worker and posting on "americansteel.com" I would be calling for ways to convince Bush to keep out cheat foreign steel! Perhaps, I am deluded in believing that admitting to being a hippocrit makes it better.
  8. by   pinayrn95
    [QUOTE

    So many of this foreign MDs have dedicated their lives to the profession. I know of a surgeon who came from X country and has to repeat 5 yrs og Gen Surg Rotation, 3 yrs of Fellowship x2 because the US did not accredit the prior schooling he had form his home country. You are talking of 16 yrs from from age 22. We all have the same rights. So that whatever they may be- a tech, RN, dentist or MD from your home country, I dont see where the problem is. They want to better their lives too just like you.

    And if he wants to go to Nsg and CRNA, because he couldnt find a job as a surgeon, so what?
    Last edit by pinayrn95 on Mar 22, '04
  9. by   suzanne4
    Roland,
    You have things completely wrong. It is not the AMA keeping out the doctors, but they have to completely redo everything. Back to square one.
    They could have been a heart surgeon in their country but want to give their child a better education, etc., or better living conditions. They get no credit, not even fo rthe general surgery and would have to start all over as an intern. Luckily enough in nursing, you get credit for your schooling as long as you pass the exams.

    And "cheap labor" is a thing of the past for nurses, at least. There are no more H1-B visas available for the rest of 2004 and probably will not open up to nurses for 2005. Before the nurse could come here and not speak English, etc. Now whether they are applying for a green card, or any other type of visa, they must be fluent in English and pass a series of exams, not just one.
    We have all wanted a better life, why shouldn't others be entitled to the same? With a green card, which gives permanent residency, the foreign nurse receives the same salary as the US nurse does, is responsible for the same taxes, etc.

    Please do your research before you say something that you know nothing about. Or even ask, before you put your foot in your mouth.
  10. by   ThinkingAboutIt
    Well, our wonderful congress has taken up the issue, and given foriegn nurses priority for visas. They do not have to wait in the general visa pool they have thier own classification. This is not done for any other profession. They only have to take a couple of test and thier experience and education all transfer. This so they keep down the salary of nurses.

    Meanwhile, doctors, dentists, etc. do not receive priority for visas so they have wait almost forever in the general visa pool. When they do get here almost every state will make them repeat at least one or two years or more of medical school and thier residency. Only then can they go sit for board examinations.

    Who do you think has the better lobby and control of the US congress and state governments?

    Remember as supply of a skill increase wages decrease, assuming demand remains the same. True everyone wants a better life, but remember there are hundreds of millions of people who are willing to do your job for pennies compared to your current wage.
  11. by   pasgasser
    As a physician I have come in contact with several foreign trained doctors the biggest issue is that often they cannot pass the USMLE and therefore cannot practice medicine in the US. For some the difficulty with the exam is a language barrier others lack the knowledge to pass the exam. This is not much of an issue for doctors from countries such as England, Germany, ect. who have good medical training.
  12. by   ThinkingAboutIt
    Quote from pasgasser
    As a physician I have come in contact with several foreign trained doctors the biggest issue is that often they cannot pass the USMLE and therefore cannot practice medicine in the US. For some the difficulty with the exam is a language barrier others lack the knowledge to pass the exam. This is not much of an issue for doctors from countries such as England, Germany, ect. who have good medical training.

    Sure, but it is almost impossible for them to get a visa to get here and take the test, and even then they aren't allowed to just to take the USMLE to become a doctor. It's hard to pass a test that you are not allowed to take. And very few foriegner doctors can afford to go med school in the US, because of the cost. The AMA has convinced everyone that the foreign doctors have all gotten substandard training, but the training the nurses from these same foreign countries have received is O.K.
  13. by   calgal
    I have no issue with anyone wanting a better life for themselves. I would be the last person to criticize someone's effort to try to get a green card. After all, my own father was a physician in another country and emigrated to the US (Chicago) and worked as a hospital aide until he passed all the required boards and numerous other requirements in order to be certified as a general surgeon within the US.

    I have an issue with foreign MDs who, failing to pass US requirements for physicians, go back to their countries, hide their physician qualifications, become RNs in order to go to the US. It is also my understanding that if asked, these physicians-turned-RNs will not acknowledge that they were ever physicians in their home countries.

    Why does there have to be this atmosphere of deception? Why do they need to hide anything? They just need to be honest about their backgrounds so that when application time for CRNA school comes around, admissions committees know who the candidate are, in addition to gaining some insight into what their true qualifications are.

    When the final selection for the 2005 class is made to a CRNA school of my choice, I just want to know that the choices were made based on solid, credible information and that my qualifications were not diminished by someone else's deception.
  14. by   nilepoc
    Thinkingaboutit, I hope you are not saying that nurses have good representation at the federal level. Because it just isn't so. The lobby driving the admittance of foriegn trained nurses, is not the ANA. Most likely it is the hospitals that drive that demand. I would hope that the ANA would lobby for more education oportunities, not more foriegn nurses. Bringing in nurses, only patches a hole that we have now, it does nothing for the future.

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