Why your waiter has an M.D.
March 16th, 2012
07:29 AM ET

Why your waiter has an M.D.

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in Metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about his Match Day and becoming a doctor.

I met Sam* in the OR a few years ago. A polite surgical technician in his early 30s, we’d often chat after work.

Sam obtained his medical degree from a school in Eastern Europe prior to immigrating to the United States. Now he spends his days cleaning surgical instruments and his nights working in a restaurant.

“Someday I’ll be a surgeon, just like you,” he says to me.

How did this happen? Sam had a bad Match Day.

Medical training in the U.S. involves four years of medical school followed by 3 to 6 years of residency training. International graduates must also attend residency in the U.S. if they wish to practice here.

On Match Day, graduating medical students learn which residency program they’ll be joining. Residency determines a physician’s field of medicine. For a young doctor to become a pediatrician, for example, he or she must complete a pediatric residency.

This year Match Day occurs today, March 16.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) couples prospective applicants with residency programs, sort of like a medical version of eHarmony. Each applicant makes a list ranking the residency programs in their order of desirability. The residency programs do the same with the applicants, and the NRMP matches them up.
Not all graduating medical students get matched.

According to the NRMP, last year 971 graduates of U.S. medical schools were shut out, accounting for 5.9% of U.S. grads. Graduates of international medical schools fared even worse - less than 50% of them obtained a residency.

That means more than 7,000 doctors were left with a diploma that said “M.D.” but no guarantee they would be able to use it.

Just like Sam.

So what are all of these doctors doing?

The majority of unmatched grads obtain a temporary one-year residency spot with no guarantee of future training. They then reapply the following year with hopes of landing a permanent, multi-year residency position.

Others wind up performing research in labs prior to re-entering the Match. Still others abandon their dreams of becoming a practicing physician and exit the medical field altogether.

This situation is only going to worsen. Due to the pending doctor shortage, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has called for a 30% increase in medical school enrollment, or 5,000 more doctors each year. College universities have responded to this demand, with 18 new medical schools currently in the process of opening.

The increase in the number of medical students would lead to an increase in residency positions as well, right?


Since 2001, the number of first year residency positions has increased by 3,000, compared to a whopping increase of 6,500 applicants. The slow growth in residency positions is likely due to a 15 year freeze in Medicare support. The current federal budget problems make lifting the freeze unlikely in the near future.

So what does this mean?

For an unmatched M.D. like Sam, it doesn’t bode well. After going unmatched his first year, he tried to match again the following year, but failed.
As the years pass, it’s becoming more and more likely that Sam will never be able to use the degree he earned.

I watch Sam meticulously clean and rinse the surgical instruments, his hands moving steadily and purposefully. There is not an ounce of unused motion. The fluidity and grace in his hands remind me of my surgical mentors.

Then the sad realization hits me. It doesn’t matter how much Sam wants it.

He will never be a surgeon.

*Sam’s name and identifying details have been changed to protect his privacy.

Update: The National Resident Matching Program has matched 95% of U.S. medical school seniors this year - the highest rate in 30 years, according to a press release sent out on Friday. The largest residency increases were seen in internal medicine, anesthesiology and emergency medicine. Also, 510 more international students were matched than were matched in 2011.

soundoff (915 Responses)
  1. ellens

    I'm an economist but have MD in-laws. They say at least one year of med school is a repeat of undergrad science. Why not let underemployed life science PhDs skip the first year or two of coursework and go on to clincal experience? Their education is already partially paid for. They would take residencies in primary care at lower pay. Med schools can do more to make it feasible to take lower paying jobs by reducing the upfront costs.

    July 9, 2012 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Medstudent

      It is true that the first two years consist mostly of basic sciences but unlike undergrad there is way more information and clinical correlations are highly emphasized. Also anatomy is taken in the 1st year and provides an opportunity for students to dissect cadavers (an extremely important process for learning how the body works) which many don't get the chance to do in undergrad or in science PhD programs (unless its a PhD in anatomy). The Step I licensing exam is at the end of 2nd year and tests students knowledge of applying basic science to clinical situations. Also many schools have some kind of "Medical Professionalism" or Doctoring course which orients students on how to interact with patients (reading vitals, taking histories, etc.) and other medical professionals before they begin their clinical rotations. What i'm getting at here is that it would be disastrous to have a PhD only trained in basic science research to begin their 3rd year of medical school doing clinical rotations right off the bat, even if it is under the supervision of physicians. The first 2 years of medical school are really necessary in order to become a competent physician. I'm actually surprised medical school is only 4 years long considering the pure amount of information that we have to be responsible for by the time we graduate.

      August 24, 2013 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Sam will never be a surgeon ( in the United States) but there are opportunities for his skills internationally.

      In the end, it's about perspective.

      May 6, 2017 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
  2. Lucy

    the writer is quite selfish when he ended this article with " he will never be a surgeon"! you are wrong, Sam can be matched in next year, you will never know what is going to happen tomorrow. And moreover, Sam is working with you in OR though he is not the surgeon, so you SHOULD say something optimistic for SAM. I would say SAM , never give up your dream.

    September 5, 2012 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MH

      Actually, since he is no longer in medical school, he doesn't have to go through the match at all. He can call up any residency program with an open position and interview outside the match.

      October 23, 2012 at 04:53 | Report abuse |
    • drock

      Lucy, this is what happens actually, even with dreams and fights against all odds, MDs like Sam does not end up anywhere, because the people those who can help him, always looks away to the original problem 🙁

      November 4, 2012 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • Andre

      I agree with you. I am an international medical graduate myself and although the article started on a positive noted idenitfying the issues that an IMG like me face, i found it disheartening that he ended it with that statement. I have been working in research since graduating from medical school and wrote several papers but I have never lost hope on getting matched one day. Why not give him a good recommendation letter or give a call to program directors you know to put in a good word for him considering that you see the skills in him?

      May 23, 2013 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  3. Shellyg54

    FYI: Sam is working as a Sterile Processing Tech. If Sam was working as a Surgical Tech, he would be IN the OR
    passing instruments to the the surgeon, and anticipating his next move, not cleaning instruments.
    Big difference.

    October 5, 2012 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wheauxdat

      Shelly –
      Since the author is a surgeon and works in the OR, I think he would know whether Sam is a surgical tech or not. It didn't say anything about him cleaning/processing/sterilizing/wrapping instruments, only cleaning them. I have seen many many many techs rinsing off and cleaning (not sterilizing) their instruments before they send them off to central processing.

      July 6, 2015 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
  4. michael thrasher md phd

    I am 52 a disabled vet American citizen, Phd in neuroscience, former NIH fellow, who want to medical school in Poland, is ecfmg certified, and has been unable to match since 2003. I have had to file bankruptcy and I cannot repay my student loans, all the while non citizen foreign medical graduated take all the spots that I'm qualified for. The problem is the program coordinators and program directors who assume that foreign educated American mds are stupid so they spend Medicare funds training bin citizens while the problem with dr shortages for the underserved go un addressed since the non citizens go home after residency. Why do we allow this?

    November 8, 2012 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cormac

      So, as I understand it there are two types of FMG graduates. Ones who cannot get into a U.S. medical schools and are taken advantage of foreign medical schools which are set up to make money, i.e. most Carribean Medical schools. You knew going in that getting a residency in the U.S. was going to be an issue, but you ignored it and wasted a bunch of money that you can't pay back now. If you didn't have the grades or resume to get into a U.S. school you should have worked on your application until you got in.

      Second, FMG's who come from a resource poor country are here to make money and enjoy the U.S. standard of living. They do not go back to their own country, as they have already completed residency there and do not need a U.S. Residency to practice in their native country. These people have abandoned the truly doctor poor country they came from, Sam can go back anytime and be a surgeon where his people truly need him.

      January 12, 2013 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  5. Gerald

    It has turned out that I am in the same boat as SAM. The much larger problem than maybe, possibly, probably NEVER practicing medicine is the $250,000 loans I have racked up and now have no skill to pay for them. By the way, they are 'non-dischargable' in bankruptcy and will haunt me and my family until I am a ghost. So much for the pursuit of happiness.

    November 30, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Almost done

    This is not a very motivational article but can be used as a motivation to prove them worng, with great effort and dedication its possible. Dont give up people!

    January 30, 2013 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dr. D. Martinez

      The issues that FMG face are structural and systemic. Success in landing a residency spot in the US has little to do with personal effort and drive. I am a Cuban trained physician, neurosurgery specialist with nearly a decade of experience treating injured soldiers from the Angola and Ethiopia conflicts where the Cuban military took part. I came to the US and the language barrier was more like mount Everest. It took 6 years in order to gain the required proficiency to pass the USMLE. I tried to match for 3 years after that, unsuccessfully. I HAD to be pragmatic and change course. I earned an MBA from Webster University and now manage a clinic in the Mid-West. That is as close to medicine as I'm going to get.

      The cost of educating a physician in the US is likely 5x that of most countries in the West and 10x in other countries (Caribbean, for example). The protectionists barriers of the AMA and other political organizations, the market distortions introduced by the government preponderance in the industry and the cost of litigation are likely to blame for the state of the profession in the US. In most countries, physicians are well regarded middle class folks. But there is no expectation of six-figure incomes and super star status. Nothing is likely to change.

      January 21, 2015 at 00:58 | Report abuse |
  7. DrBR

    This article points out some truth. But also fails to state that for many years FMGs have filled the gaps of a poorly calculated industry. If it was not for doctors from foreign countries the deficit in healthcare would be more severe. So getting an education outside the US was not frown down upon until recently. Now the US is attempting to keep up with there own supply and demand, punishing those who are foreign educated.

    February 11, 2013 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. i

    This whole ECFMG it just a big fraud. I am an Orthopaedic Surgeon, specialized in Hand Surgery and Microsurgery from Italy (6 years of Med School + 5 years of Residency program). I worked as an Attending in Italy for 3 years then I decided to move here in USA with my family. Both my husband and I were hired by an American University. As an Engineer, he didn't have to go through any re-qualifying test (why? don't ask me). On the contrary, since I wasn't at the time certified (didn't have any USMLE Step 1 or 2 or 3), I was hired as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery/Hand Surgery under a License issued by the State Medical Board / Section 2113, which is a program for international medical graduates or physicians licensed in another state who will undertake clinical and teaching responsibilities, as a faculty member at a State medical school. The program is designed to allow State medical schools to recruit qualified international graduates with specific expertise who are not yet eligible for medical licensure in this State. I spent 3 years as a full time Faculty, teaching US medical students, orthopaedic/general surgery/plastic surgery residents and fellows how to practice Hand Surgery and Microsurgery, visiting patients, treating patients, operating patient OFFICIALLY AND LEGALLY as first surgeron in more than 1500 surgeries, teaching in Grand Rounds, weekly conferences, and International Conferences. I published on specialized journals. All this without ever being questioned on my competency and knowledge as a Medical Doctor, despite not having passed nor required to pass any of these USMLE test. Of course I was paid less then a PGY-5 resident...but I love my job and I didn't care. After 3 years the State Medical Board contacted me and informed me that they could extend this License only to a max of 3 years but if I wanted, I could resign from my position, study and pass the exams and go back as a Faculty. I did it, but it takes more than a year to pass all the steps and my position was taken from someone else. Now I am applying to Residency program through ERAS Mach and hope I'll get in, with very little hope that I will be accepted because, in order to pass these exams, I had to stay away from the clinical practice more than 1 years and this doesn't look nice on your CV. If I don't match, I will be one of the 10.000 IMG students out of job here in this country. At this point I am wondering: how come I was qualified to train all the US stellar residents/fellows in such a high qualified field without ever having passed one of these test, how come I was allowed to operate on patients in this Country (btw, there were more than 20 faculty in the same university with similar situation) and now, despite having passed all the required test (now I am ECFMG Certified) , I most probably wont' match because of the IMG status on my ERAS application? If international graduate suck so much, why Engineers, Architect who work in this country aren't require the same level of re-training? This is discrimination. Point.

    February 28, 2013 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      The US system is based on making the most money for the most testing services and training programs as possible. Why are there osteopaths and osteopathic specialty boards-is that really necessary? Why even have DOs in the US? Why are there podiatrists? What purpose do they serve other than a further drain on the system? Other fields can do what they do. Chiropractors? America has one field one degree for lawyers, JD and it works fine. The testing companies are the real winner here not the public. How many "boards" and specialty organizations are needed. It is not about choice because they all have to reach a certain threshold before being licensed so as not to be a public health concern. One standardized test for all 'doctors' instead of all the letters after someone's name makes more sense.

      March 25, 2013 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
    • Dr L

      Its just so traumatic to read this article.I m a US citizen born and raised here,I happened to move with my parents overseas and entered medical school.I worked so had for such a long time to be what I wanted to be ..A physician. After working for a few years as a physician I came back home to the US..Ive been struggling with the USMLE and finally finished and applied for residency.Not for one moment did I doubt the system.and now after spending all that time and money I failed my second match..years are going by ,I m getting older and all I am is an unemployed MD.While at the same time many residencies are being filled with non US citizens .I thought US citizens should be given priority.Shame Shame Shame.

      May 31, 2013 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
    • Colleague!


      I am in the same boat and speciality as you are! I want to share my experience and hear yours, if you do not mind. I hope you passed and matched by this time.

      Best, of luck.


      September 30, 2014 at 01:45 | Report abuse |
    • jsfs

      Architects arent responsible for the stability of the structure they are designing (the engineering signing off on the building is). That said, some engineering professions are absolutely required to be certified and licensed in order to practice, e.g. the "PE" license for civil engineers and must be re-certified every few years and/or when moving to new states. Others, such as aerospace in the USA are often required to have ABET certified courses and in many instances, have to be citizens for defense contract work so most foreign engineers cant work in the defense industry.

      July 7, 2015 at 03:56 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Not discrimination, the same goes for a US trained MD, trying to get a license to practice in another country. So many hurdles, almost prohibitive. Problem is, you took the leap of faith to try to restart here in the U.S., why? If your life is so grand abroad? I can't stand people who love to bash the U.S., but for some reason, still want to come over here? Anyhow, I also teach at a U.S. school and they have always used foreign trained, unlicensed professionals to teach. Bottom line money. You're not going to lure a licensed person to teach for half of what they can make in private practice. Yes, the school is using you and you're a willing participant in hopes of a better life. Get over it, if you got your license, you wouldn't be teaching either...

      July 7, 2015 at 06:25 | Report abuse |
    • Mitchell Davis

      I bet you ended up easily matching. Am I right?

      May 31, 2016 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
  9. Drdonewithbull

    I graduated med school many years ago, after going to podiatry school–what a farce that was-but my MD training was not in the US, I had to jump through circles, but finally after a few years doing other work, with that MS degree, and there was, and is plenty, I learned the value outside of clinical work that knowledge is. I practicedd for a few years, did great, but the hassles outweighed the benefits. I taught for a while, did research, and had hundreds of opportunities as an MD outside of medicine and took them. Heck I even spent a few years doing that podiatry thing where, as an M D made plenty of money, enough to retire on. This guy waiting on tables is puzzling, maybe he owns a restaurant. I am now a consultant in a min medical industry. Medicine in the US is changing so much it will not be long till it is all nursing.

    March 25, 2013 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Salman

    My wife has passed USLMEs but can't get residency, She is US citizen, I thought in American when you are US citizen you should get first proirty. What happened to "We the People". I thought American citizen should be given first priority over forign applicants.

    April 15, 2013 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Salman

    What amazes the most its supply and demand, I bet you if we for some reason get cut from rest of the world, No plans can't come to America for some odd reason, Then we will have nurses doing residencies and granted MD certification. Its very selfish of our goverment to look away for the rights and previllages of USA citizen. For an instance there are so many mental sick people who do;t get immidiate attention and they wind up hurting innocent people and what we do we blame GUn Control. I strongly believe on gun control but tackle the situation by giveing US citizen who has pass the USMLEs and US citizen a residencies so they can goto under serve area and help the peeople in "NEED". WHO PAYS FOR RESIDENCY???????? TAX PAYERS..... My tax dollar is traing foriegn graduate, because it comes from Medicare STIPEND....Which was alcated from my TAX money.... Shame on these LAW makers so called taking care of the people of USA paying for the doctors of other contries to be train here.....

    One more note 30 years ago they were begging forign doctors to come to American even if they has passed only ECFMG part 1..... They did not care for number of attempts... So if you are a congress man or woman read this and do something... My wife who happens to be a qualified candidates and like her others a large number of people sitting for yeasr waiting for thir turn to enter in a residency programe.... I though a voice in American can go long ways... We are hard working Americans who love this country and will give our lively hood to protect and serve this nation, though we are naturalize citizen but this is our home now. I hope some one will hear my voice... GOD Bless America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2013 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply


      July 21, 2013 at 20:59 | Report abuse |
    • AD

      Did your wife graduate from a medical school in USA? If yes, then she has the priority over international medical graduates (IMG). But if she is an IMG then I believe she has an advantage over foreign IMGs but not foreign USA medical school graduates because even though they are foreigners they are trained in USA for the system in USA.

      August 30, 2013 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
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  14. gat

    Great article – shortage of residency positions needs to be addressed. My dad worked as a waiter for 10 years after he came to this country...before he gained a residency in family practice. In between he fell in love, got married and had a few kids. He still made his American dream come true. I will be a first year US med student in august.

    April 30, 2013 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Medstudent

    This article reminds me of an amazing neurosurgeon who was a professor at my university a long time ago and decided to go to US looking for a better future, unfortunately after years, he's still doing practically the same thing as sam. Now I know that even for M.D's is so hard to get a residency adding the fact that in order to aspire to get into one you have to do a lot of paperwork to validate the whole 6 years of medical training that you have had in your own country. I'm 20 years old and 2 years away from getting my M.D degree and I have to say that after reading this and a few other articles from different foreign doctors who went to the US with the only purpose of acquiring an specialty degree, I'm incredibly disappointed not only by the fact that is hard to be recognized as a suitable doctor for practicing there, but also, because the vacancies for residencies for international students are minimal, plus, you have to pay thousands of $US to get to present the tests, and I have to add to the list the fact that I'm super young to be a doctor to the eyes of the population in general (I've been told by US doctors that I've had the chance to work with in medical missions) so I think I have to change my dream of becoming a cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon from John's Hopkins and look somewhere else.

    May 1, 2013 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Lovie

    Very negative and arrogant article. Author is not God nor a future-reader. Its pompous, jerk doctors like Youn that give profession physicians a bad reputation. Youn was probably a spoiled brat from a very fortunate background didnt have to work to get where he is. Shame on you Youn...you are a disgrace to humanity and integrity.here are hard working people around the world. If it in God's will to succeed, you will. Dont be discouraged. It may be challenging, however, its not impossible. Dont give up! Peace and blessings from someone speaking sincerely from experience!

    May 31, 2013 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Lovie

    Btw...notice the update. You see, things are getting better and all things are possible with God and positive thinking!

    May 31, 2013 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Lauren

    This story is so fake and overly dramatic."SAM" could easily sign up for another residency program. Why would Sam decide to be a surg. tech. if he could sign up for internal medicine residency (there are PLENTY of those left unmatched every year. Just takes a phone call). If he never becomes a surgeon it is his own decision, because a year of traditional rotating internship will give you a leg up on all of the medical students applying in the following year. The author is obviously stroking his own ego.

    July 25, 2013 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bruce

      Lauren, you are wrong. There were only 6 internal medicine unfilled spots in 2013!

      July 27, 2013 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  19. student

    Actually, foreign grads DO fill up the under-served spots. To complete a US residency as a non-US citizen, you need a visa. The most common Visa is the J-1 because its cheaper for the programs to sponsor. To convert the J! to green card you have to work in a medically under-served area for three years. This could be a VA or any towns with insufficient physicians to meet the needs of the people. Thats the trade-off. US citizens can go wherever they want after training.

    September 19, 2013 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Tom

    This is such a silly article. People like "Sam" could easily use his medical education, completed in another country, to go into an allied health field, health care administration etc.There's more to this story than has been told. I don't think the author researched it all that well or he's totally unfamiliar with all the issues surrounding FMGs when they try to practice in the US.

    October 2, 2013 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Brian

    What yanks my cord it that my ex graduated from a medical school in Mexico which use Spanish translations of the exact books used at American medical schools. Six years of practice/study and then she had to performed a year's worth of FREE civil service (under some nasty conditions) before the university would filnally give her her diploma.

    She has been activity in Mexico for over six years, BUT the monopolistic AMA imposes standards which by the AMA's criteria she doesn't fulfill won't let her practice here

    It is all a money game! Keep the supply of US doctors low and they all live more comfortably thank most of us. Meanwhile worthy doctors from other countries are locked out by the system, not for the lack of need, but by an excess of greed!

    We (the USA) need doctors and nurses, but the AMA has the conceit to think only IT can define who is qualified and who is not. Delivering a baby is the same the world over. So is setting a broken bone,...the same. Providing preventative care...the SAME!

    Practice does count. From day one, she was cutting up cadavers, assisting doctor teachers, handling vacinations. She learned more by doing that sitting in some class room not even able to give a atient a Kleenex for fear of a law suit. A pox on the AMA...chicken pox, small pox any old pox will do.

    Maybe with Omamacare, the AMA will have to open its "emergency room" doors

    October 2, 2013 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Carib Grad

    I went to a Carib school because my 3.2 GPA was not enough for US med schools. But I swear, I never knew about the hardships of getting into residency. If I had known, I would have never chosen that route. I would have taken my chances with DO school admissions. Those COMLEX tests are not even close to being as difficult as USMLE. These DOs can take USMLE but MDs can't take COMLEX. IMGs can find residencies but US citizens drowning in loans can't. The whole system is just messed up and really disheartening.

    December 15, 2013 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • the truth

      The system is not messed up. Your ego messed up in making that choice.

      March 1, 2015 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
  23. Angry at this Author

    I too am angry at the author of this article. You sat and you saw and you judged. But what are you doing to help this *Sam???? Assuming this *Sam doesn't even know you are writing about his misery and struggles and agony???!!! Medical students are so much more than their USMLE scores. Patients do not come to the hospital and ask what you scored on your test!!! They simply care about how you are able to take care of them with the best of your abilities. I have seen many with 99's with absolutely no clinical skills. 99 doesn't make a PERFECT or a SMART doctor......some people are just better at taking these randomized tests than others. PDs should know that from experience as well.

    December 15, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. AL

    I sense a lot of arrogance from this author who writes this garbage. Off to start, yes the whole AMA is about making money. Why so much waste of money ? many have passed LICENSE exams by the state, and exams are fully recognized by the US gov and AMA themselves. yet these highly qualified skilled people are sidelined only for the reason they didn't go to US medical schools. Obcourse. is the contest about how many people passed test first attempt? does oen person who passed exam first attempt with marginal 200 know more then 2nd attempt who with 220? the answer is NO. if its about how much applicant know its really subjective how you look at it. AMA will not reject to anyone who wants to attend foreign schools why? because all those people will try to apply to US and intern they make so much money off them in application fees. Have you even looked at how much they charge for application fees for residency these days its scam yes . it really is. thousands and thousands for one person. add that up for repeat applicants and new and DO and all foreign trained doctors with dreams.
    The major flaw is that there are already people passed STEPS and fully ready to tackle the shortage of doctors in US. all that need is that give them ONE year of supervision of training with fully trained doctors to supervise then let them go out to do service to those in need. may be they should get rid of all this PAs and fill up with those who got one year. why do we need PAs any way?? Student loan companies are coming to knock on door to graduates to pay back the loan but they don't realize if GOV does not step up and hire these doctors who already passed the licensing exams, THEY WILL NOT GET THEIR LOAN PAID BACK simple as that. these end up billions of dollars wasted on gov loan. Perhapes what they should have done is NOT TO LOAN THE MONEY to student who is going to off shore schools first place. its nothing but a huge waste of money and highly skilled workers. I think Overall US do not need any more foreign citizen doctors entering in general as we have enough of our own fully qualified ready doctors here. And most wanting to come to US DO NOT HAVE MEDICAL SCHOOL LOANS on their back (look at indian medical schools almost nothing ) esp when these salaries are paid for by Medicare programs which is paid by tax payers. CLOSE THE DOOR TO NON CITIZEN and NON residents from getting positions in US that's the first step. you want to become doctors in US pay the tax first . LINE UP and become a PR then citizens. or get rid of this scam of doing MATCH that itself is flawed in major way.

    December 19, 2013 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Al

    IF US DO NOT HIRE US CITIZEN AND RESIDENTS , they will not get their loans paid back. either don't lend them the money for school or once they pass the exam HIRE THESE DOCTORS someways PUT THEM BACK TO WORK! send them to poor neighborhood or some please remote they can do practice medicine. STEP 3 indicates its the MIN competency as it states doctor can practice their own. there are many countries that only require one more year so then why all this fuss about many years of training is require to heal a person> such a NONSENSE. . PAIR THEM UP with supervising doctors who are already in private practice and let them finish year for FREE of charge then send them out.
    I think RESIDENTS doctors SHOULD NOT GET PAID this is why foreigners want to come to us first place they smell money Tax payers money. once they do they don't want to go back simple as that. no offense but its what it is .

    December 19, 2013 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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    January 8, 2014 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Staurt

    Very inspirational and interesting story! Hard work like this always works. I too have complete my studies in clinical research by simultaneously running part time courses for doctors. I must say that period was very hectic and sometimes seems impossible to balance studies,job and life.

    February 6, 2014 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. jesuspereira1970

    Very disheartening article written by a doctor with evident foreign roots. Despite his westernized first name," Anthony", his last name is Youn ( Yun), which points out to an Asian origin, most likely Korean. My recommendation is to use this article to prove people like this PLASTIC surgeon wrong. Don't let anybody tell you that something is impossible. I wish the best to all the SAMS, to all the IMG out there, as well as to the american graduates. The health care system in this country needs radical reforms. Just the fact that we refer to patients as clients or customers, tells you that the US health system is mostly about money. That is totally wrong !

    April 20, 2014 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
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  31. Christiana Davis, MD

    If you (or someone you know) is a foreign medical graduate, the article that follows (when you open the link) is a must read


    May 10, 2014 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
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    July 10, 2014 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Raphael md

    The sheer arrogance of this doctor.

    To all young MD's and in training, my fellow doctors, don't give up or let people say you can't. I know so so very many people who found positions in great hospitals, both img and local, match and non match. There is a spot for you, be patient and keep your hopes up.

    To Anthony youn, when you are applying for your dream position at the salary and center you want more than anything, remember that you told they aren't good enough. There are tons of doctors better qualified than you on paper and person also applying.

    July 19, 2014 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Melissa

    I, too, have my M.D. and just quit my server job. I still hold out hope I'llget a residency-some year.

    October 7, 2014 at 21:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. dana

    I'm Sam too.
    I graduated in 1999 in Europe ,did residency in Europe ,came in USA 2004 ,passed all the exams ,took ECFMG certificate,didn't match. Since 2004 I'm stay at home mom..I worked as a medical assistant but it was under my dignity. America didn't want to use my potential.
    Sad live.

    December 9, 2014 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. sweetnicky

    I am Sam. This has been a heartbreaking experience. I am a U.S. citizen and an IMG graduate. I have passed all my board exams including step three. I have spent three years of applying for residency and has failed to obtain a position. I am 250K in dept and is working a minimum wage job. I am at a lost. Is there anything I can do to challenge this situation? Has anyone taken this issue up with an attorney/politician? Is there a way to change some rules to allow me to practice medicine...a permit or something until I find a residency position? I swear I will make this my life"s ambition to bring light to this outrageous debacle! I will take this to capital hill if I have to. Until I am doing what I love i.e practicing medicine, there is no such thing as an American dream!!!

    February 4, 2015 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
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  38. Al

    Honestly, I feel for all the foreign trained MDs who are not able to get a residency spot. Please, do not lose hope. I also wanted to attend a foreign medical school, but declined to do so because of negative influence from others. I now regret it. Follow your dreams and don't listen to naysayers. Remember, you only go around once. Best of luck to all of you

    July 6, 2015 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. AK Realist

    I have no sympathy for foreign med school graduates. American medical student go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt to obtain a degree. Why should any priority be given to foreign graduates? These grads also have the choice to try for a residency in a less desirable field. Plastic surgery is probably the #1 desired residency now because patients have to pay in cash and there is no insurance hassle.

    July 7, 2015 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacqueline R. Ipper

      If money is everything to you, well, then there is no hope and this thread is a waste of time.

      August 20, 2016 at 01:30 | Report abuse |
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  41. Bianca

    Any update on Sam?

    January 20, 2016 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Emilie Naylor

    My advice is: He should proceed and take USMLE 3 and will open a clinic in the US. Anyway, he is already a doctor in other country, he just need a license here to practice.

    December 1, 2016 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Update? Could he obtain a residency spot after all?

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