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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31896

Title: The Bridging Education and Licensure of International Medical Doctors in Ontario: A Call for Commitment, Consistency, and Transparency
Authors: Peters, Colette
Advisor: Julie, Kerekes
Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Keywords: international medical doctors
international medical graduates
bridging education
personnel selection: methods
interviews as topic
internationally educated professionals
poetic representation
residency interview
foreign medical graduates
qualitative research
english language proficiency
Vygotskian sociocultural theory
L. Vygotsky
activity theory
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: The widely acknowledged doctor shortage in Canada has recently motivated a more critical look at the licensure rates of International Medical Doctors (IMDs), also known as International Medical Graduates (IMGs). However, very little research has been conducted on the experiences of IMDs before they enter the Canadian medical system. This qualitative study collected interview data from 15 diverse IMDs seeking licensure in Ontario, Canada. The participants varied with respect to age, country of origin, English language proficiency on arrival, and time in Canada. In addition, two bridging support programs were observed, and interviews were conducted with three educators from the programs. The interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis (Boyatzis, 1998; Miles & Huberman, 1994). An analysis of metaphors used by the IMDs to describe their experiences during the licensing process supported the use of poetic representation for key findings, resulting in three poems that are interspersed in the body of the thesis (Ellingson, 2011; Glesne, 1997; Richardson, 2002; Richardson & Adams St. Pierre, 2005). The theoretical framework of the research was informed by Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory, which views learning as inseparable from social interaction and context (Vygotsky, 1987). Third-generation Activity Theory (AT), which has descended from Vygotsky’s work, was applied to highlight the higher-level systemic issues related to medical licensing. Results of this study indicate that IMDs with lower English proficiency face substantial difficulties on arrival, with limited access to the type of medically-relevant language instruction needed to support them. In fact, all pre-licensure IMDs struggle to access the interactional learning opportunities (i.e., Vygotskian “mediational means”) to support their entry into the system. Licensing challenges include limited exam preparation resources that support acquisition of Canadian cultural content; unequal access to clinical observerships; and a selection process which lacks transparency and emphasizes a screening tool unfamiliar to IMDs, the residency interview. Implications of this study include the revisiting of immigration policy; increasing the transparency and effectiveness of the selection process/residency interview; reviewing the role of clinical observerships in the selection process and exploring the potential of observerships to function as a licensure portfolio assessment.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31896
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