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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 344

The Observer Program: Insights from International Medical Graduates

International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research, Central Queensland University, Milton, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Correspondence Address:
P McGrath
PO Box 1307, Kenmore, Queensland 4069
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20029770

Context: This paper presents the findings of qualitative research documenting the experiences in the Observer Program (OP) from the perspectives of international medical graduates (IMGs) entering the Australian healthcare system. Objectives: To examine the experience of IMGs participating in the OP. Methods: In-depth, open-ended interviews were conducted with nine IMGs who had been part of the OP. Findings: The feedback provided by the IMG participants about the OP was overwhelmingly positive. Participants identified a strong need for such a program, both from the perspective of increasing their confidence and competence and integrating them into and lifting their status within the Australian healthcare system. Positive outcomes reported to result from the program included increased confidence as a doctor in Australia, development of a sound knowledge of the Australian medical system, including basic medications used in local practice, familiarity with appropriate paperwork and the specialties of particular physicians, increased experience, refreshment of existing clinical skills and the opportunity to learn Australian idioms. However, some participants related difficulties created by their unpaid tenure whilst undergoing the program, as well as difficulties in relationships with particular supervising physicians within the program. Discussion: Findings provide insights into a hospital-based educational initiative designed to integrate IMGs into the Australian healthcare system. Conclusions: Responses from participants offer practical insights into the need for, strengths, weaknesses and outcomes of the OP.

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