....Spots to fill
Even with the increase in American medical students, there are fewer of them than there are residency spots.
Last year, just over 18,000 graduating MDs vied for nearly 28,000 first-year residency slots, with a much smaller number of osteopathic students submitting applications, according to the National Resident Matching Program
. This year's numbers will be announced on Friday, when the next batch of medical school graduates will find out where they are headed.
The rest of the positions are filled largely by foreign doctors and US citizens who have studied abroad, many in Caribbean medical schools. Just over 50% of each group who applied to American programs matched into one.
Many foreign doctors practice in rural, underserved and primary care settings, where medical care is often lacking, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges
. This is due in part to programs like the Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver
, which recruits foreign doctors to work in rural and medically underserved areas
that may be less desirable to many American-educated doctors.
A number of health care organizations also expect nurse practitioners and physician assistants to take on some of this workload, but a shortage of primary care doctors will persist,
Orlowski said. …