US Clinical Experience for IMG: Why Does It Matter?

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US Clinical Experience for IMG: Why Does It Matter?

US clinical experience for international medical graduates (IMGs) is one of the most important aspects of an application for residency. If you want to practice medicine in the United States, you should consider clinical training in the country as essential as obtaining your medical degree. If you have adequate US clinical experience, it can ensure that you are placed into the residency program of your choice. brings you reasons why getting hands-on clinical experience for IMGs matters so much.

Understand the U.S. Healthcare System 

The healthcare system in the United States is unique. In fact, healthcare systems around the world differ from each other. The differences might be connected to geographic boundaries and the model of a doctor-patient relationship. Clinical experience in the United States will help you understand the country’s healthcare system and get training for US-specific medical policies, practice and protocol. 

Clinical experiences already differ from learning medicine from textbooks or in a class setting. Taking that experience to another country is a greater challenge and will prepare you to train and practice medicine in the US. It will teach you what is expected of both patients and physicians in North America. 

Enhance Professional Skills

Medical treatment has made astonishing advances in recent years. It is quite possible that medical terminology and procedures in the US may be unfamiliar to you. US clinical experience for international medical graduates will help you create a knowledge-base that you can pull from as you advance in your career. This is especially important if you plan on joining a US residency program. 

A very important skill that often gets overlooked is communication. An externship experience will help you develop your communication skills for the US. You will learn to give medical advice to patients and interact with your colleagues. Furthermore, the clinical experience will help you adopt good practices that are highly regarded in the US such as punctuality and professionalism.

If you are confused about the difference between externships and observerships

Choose a Specialty

To be the best possible physician, you need to discover the specialty that you are most passionate about. Each clinical experience helps you become familiar with a particular specialty. You need to approach multiple clinical experiences with an open mind to find the specialty that appeals to you the most. Each US clinical experience for international medical graduates gives you the chance to choose a career path. You can explore several specialties and learn what it means to practice each in the US. 

If you already know what you want to specialize in, doing an externship in that particular specialty in the US will increase your chances of getting into the residency program of your choice.

Expand Your Professional Network

Externships for foreign medical graduates will help you increase your professional connections. You will get an opportunity to interact with attending physicians, fellows, hospital staff  and perhaps even program directors. You will get to work closely with peers, mentors and healthcare providers, build relationships and ask questions that will help you make career choices. 

Your professional network can be invaluable when you have to make difficult decisions or get stuck at any stage in your professional career. Program directors, for example, can give you an unbiased opinion on a specialty if you are struggling to choose one. You can also tap into your professional network when you are looking for career opportunities in the US. Hospital staff and attendings can let you know if there are any openings in their hospital or surrounding hospitals.

Obtain Letters of Recommendation

Residency applicants must submit 3 to 4 letters of recommendation to apply for a residency program, and letters from practicing US physicians carry more weight than foreign LORs. US clinical experiences for international medical graduates will allow you to work with and impress attending physicians. Upon completion of the clinical experience, you are eligible to request a merit-based letter of recommendation from them. Multiple LORs from US-based physicians will bolster your residency application. 

For more information on LORs and the match process, read the The Ultimate Guide to the Residency Match Process.

If you are looking for quality US clinical experience for IMG, sign up with! We partner with licensed medical professionals from all across the United States to offer wonderful training opportunities to international medical students and graduates.


Clinical Rotations For Foreign Medical Students, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Graduates. specializes in providing invaluable hands-on clinical rotations to both foreign medical students, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and graduates. Our clinical rotations are strictly set up to help you get the US clinical experience and letters of recommendation that will greatly increase your chances of US residency placement.

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