A Review of “Supporting IMGs in Surgery”

The Royal College of Surgeons of England arranged an event on Thursday, 26 September for supporting International Medical Graduates (IMGs). It was a must-attend event for any IMGs wishing to apply for surgical training.

I will not be able to share all the details that were discussed but I will try to summarize the takehome points from the event.

Ms Huma Sethi

The event was opened by Ms Huma Sethi, the North East London Regional Director of the Royal College. Ms Sethi is a consultant NeuroSurgeon at the prestigious University College London Hospital. She talked about her experience of starting as an IMG and eventually becoming a NeuroSurgeon in the UK.

These were some of the key points from her talk

  • Get taster weeks in your specialty of interest.
  • Manage work-life balance smartly.
  • Be physically and mentally healthy.
  • Be an all-weather person.
  • Take time off for yourself
  • “Smooth seas do not produce skilfull surfers”.
  • Work hard on improving your CV.
  • Ms Sethi dedicates four hours every Friday for the RCS, during which she is happy to help any IMGs.

Ms Sethi took questions after this. She genuinely wanted to understand the concerns of the IMGs. She was willing to help and guide IMGs in groups and on an individual basis as well. I was very impressed by her talk and by the fact that she is very approachable and genuinely willing to help.

Rosemary Emodi

Rosemary is the Head of Global Affairs for the College. She talked about the global footprint of the College and how this can be used for the benefit of the IMGs. She also wanted to listen to the concerns raised by the IMGs so that the College could help them. She floated the idea of a programme for supporting Trust Grade surgical doctors where they would enjoy the same privileges as training surgical doctors.

Bankole Oyewole

Bankole is an IMG who has recently started his Core Surgical Training. This is his timeline.

  • Nov 2015 – Graduation
  • Feb 2017 – Internship
  • Mar 2017 – PLAB 1
  • Aug 2017 – PLAB 2
  • Sep 2017 – GMC Registration
  • Nov 2017 – Started as Trust Grade Urology
  • Aug 2018 – Started FY2 LAT
  • Aug 2019 – Started CST

Bankole shared his experience in detail. What impressed me the most about him was his positive attitude towards life in general and towards his Surgical Training application. He is very well organized, focused, well-read, proactive, has well-defined goals and is very approachable and down-to-earth.

During questions, I felt a general sense of unhappiness about the fact that IMGs can not apply for Round 1 in Surgical Training. Bankole explained that this should not stop anyone from getting into Surgical Training as there are other ways of bypassing RLMT. He encouraged the audience to focus on improving their CVs and on being proactive.

After his talk, there was a general feeling of “I can do this” and “this can be done” in the room. The audience could now see that it is completely possible to make it to surgical training, provided one works hard enough and does not give up.

Summary

Arranging this event was a brilliant initiative by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. If the RCS arranges more events like this in the future, I would encourage all surgical aspirants to attend these events.

Special thanks to Zuzana Lescisinova, the Medical Training Initiatives (Surgery) Officer, for inviting me to the event.

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