The potential shortage of psychiatrists over the next 5 - 10 years has
focused attention on the need to recruit more IMGs to fill the needs rather
than use nurse practitioners or physician assistants. IMGs make up about 1/3 of
first year psychiatry residents. These individuals have been found to provide
services to the poor, the elderly and the psychotic. The quality of their
medical work has been found to be satisfactory. The training needs of these
physicians require an understanding on the part of their teachers that they
come from cultures with different values that we have. The extended families of
these primarily Asian residents clash with our strong commitment to
individualism. It leads to a We-self rather than our I-Self. This difference
coupled with the stress of leaving to come to a new culture is a great stress.
Their exposure to psychiatry has been limited. They request and need more
interview demonstration and practice, ore feedback and examinations. They
should have help in accent reduction. They should be exposed to the working of
the hospital by sitting on departmental and hospital committees. The faculty should extend their social
opportunities and work as mentors on joint projects. Courses on the history of
American culture should be taught. Psychotherapy for them should be encouraged
as well as teaching medical ethics. They must become the major educational
concern for the department that they are in.
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