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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a question which a lot of people are asking and having trouble getting an answer to. Hopefully this thread will make it clear for everyone what exactly you have to do to successfully increase your chances of getting a residency in a surgical specialty. It's difficult to say the least, but with dedication and hard work, it's definitely possible.

First of all, IMG's are already fighting an uphill battle to get any residency position, so keep that in mind. This has already been discussed in other posts, and if anyone needs specific posts I can help them out.

Because some surgical specialties have fewer openings than fields of medicine, it's already very competitive even for local American graduates.

Like Fahad asked on our Facebook group, having a double 99 on USMLE is one thing that already significantly boosts your chances (as does any usmle score above 90 or so), but it's not all that you'll need.

Like any competitive residency program, you'll need to supplement those USMLE scores with things like research electives, clinical electives, and Letters of recommendation, all from the hospital you wish to apply to, preferably, but other hospitals will still take notice. You'll need to aim for things like getting published, and getting hands on experience with the surgeon, no matter how difficult it may be to do all that.

Without these additional things, then yes, even with 99's on the USMLE, you may find yourself without a surgical residency.

The more electives you do, the better it'll look. The more electives you do with the same surgeon, the better it will look to that hospital.

Hopefully this will help everyone out a little bit. Post further questions you may have here :)
 

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Salam,

Like any competitive residency program, you'll need to supplement those USMLE scores with things like research electives, clinical electives, and Letters of recommendation, all from the hospital you wish to apply to, preferably, but other hospitals will still take notice. You'll need to aim for things like getting published, and getting hands on experience with the surgeon, no matter how difficult it may be to do all that.

The more electives you do, the better it'll look. The more electives you do with the same surgeon, the better it will look to that hospital.
It's hard for me to imagine how it would be possible for someone to do a significant number of research electives and clinical electives when the only feasible time to do them is during winter and summer vacations. Theoretically, if someone did an elective every break starting third year, that would make for 6 possible times during a med. school in Pakistan. Is that considered a lot? Is it recommended to continue doing research/clinical electives after graduating, maybe spending a year or two doing so before applying for residencies?
 

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Six electives is definitely a lot. If you get one letter every time you do an elective, having a portfolio of 6 strong letters of recommendation would help very much.

As far as clinical/research electives after graduation -- you can do all the research you want after you graduate and sometimes if you're lucky enough, you'll get paid for it, but almost no place will accept a graduate for clinical electives. Places only take medical students for clinical electives -- after you're a doctor they expect you to pass the boards and start residency, not mess around with clinical electives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also keep in mind that you want to try and work on research projects at those electives that can end up getting you published. Find places to work at that publish a lot of papers a year, and try to get clinical experience on the side while there, or vice versa. You can always help out to do research even if you're there as a clinical student.

Just remember that things like electives, experience, and publications have a huge effect in separating you from the rest of the applicants.
 

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i am going to start my final yr now. i have done 2 clinical electives both in karachi and currently doing my 3rd at AKU. does that count as anything when i apply for my surgical residency? since i was not at all guided throughout my 4 yrs i have not done any research work and i definetly wont get any time to do that during my final yr.so wud u ppl recommend anything? how am i supposed to get some research experience specially at a place that would publish it too? i am planning to go for my clinical electives at the states too this yr. but im really interested in surgery and have no information about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your clinical electives in Pakistan won't count for much at all to the US residency programs, but they'll at least give you a small edge over other applicants who've graduated from Pakistani medical schools.

If you really want to do research and get published, most likely the only way to do that now is if you take a year off after medical school and work at some place in the US that publishes frequently-- though keep in mind you won't be getting paid and you'll have to take care of housing, food, etc. all on your own.

You should check on Pub med before you work anywhere to see how often the lead researcher of any institution publishes a paper.

If you already have a clinical elective in the US lined up, then while you're working there you should try to ask the doctor you're working with if he currently has any ongoing research projects that you can help out with.
 

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Hey people , this is my first post in this great forum , i found you by google while trying to find info about the very same topic ...

I'm from Egypt and i'll be taking USMLE exams this year to start a USA residency , i planned to apply for a surgical residency program or a surgical specialty. but when just i thought i can get that with just getting high score in USMLE , i was confronted with the fact that IMGs are not easily chosen for surgical residencies ... anyway here is a few points that i would really appreciate anyone who would help me with :

1.Does having a surgical experience in my home country be of any use for me? i'm finishing med. school this year and i'm expecting to have a very good scores that hopefully will grant me a surgical residency with my univ. affiliated hospital ... this means at least 3 years of continuous practice including doing some operations myself... does documenting this effort and work by somehow , say like signed certificate from my directors be of any use to me in USA??

2.For electives , i really hear that all the time , but the problem for me and other IMGs , is that we need some more details about it, what i want to know is : how many electives should i do in surgery in USA to GUARANTEE getting a surgical residency (1 is enough or should i do say like 4)??? and how it affects my application to have my elective in the same hospital i'm applying to?? and would this be easy ?
Also i want to know if there is any fees i pay during an elective ?? and for how long ?
also : what's the requirements for being eligible to register in surgery elective program : my situation will be likely after i pass Step1 and 2 , graduated from my home country and present in USA ... do i need further papers or anything i should be worrying about??


I know i'm asking a lot but believe me every question is critical for me , i intend to do a hell of hard work to get a surgical residency in the state , and i will truly appreciate your response ...

Thanx people
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You should spend some time reading over the other threads on electives on the forum.

I'm not sure I fully understand your goals, do you want to do a surgical residency in your home country first and then go to the US after that to do a surgical residency there, OR do you want to go directly to the US and try to get a surgical residency there?

If you're graduating this year then chances are it's too late for you to do an elective. If you have a four or five weeks off from your university then you might be able to do a clinical or research elective (research is always better), and yes, you will of course have to pay for everything on your own, which varies depending on where you end up going.

You should be aware that you can't do electives if you've already graduated from your university. Electives are only available to medical students.
 

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Hola #happy

i plan on doing neurosurgical residency in the U.S.(2013) inshallah. After graduating from UNIBE i would be considered a IMG.

jus wondering if there are any UNIBE graduates here who plan on doing surgical residency in the U.S.
Muchas Gracias
 

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just curious...will doing an elective help some one who wants to do residency in Pakistan itself?
 

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hi,
i want to know about the research electives.can anybody tell me about research elective i mean how to apply,when to apply,and where to apply etc.
i will b very thankful.

Ahsan ALi Khan
 

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I found this website, which was pretty useful to me. It's greatest plus point was that it talked to me like I had a good shot. I know that's because it's addressed to medical students in the US, but I'll take what encouragement I get.

http://www.facs.org/residencysearch/position/position.html

The information on this page was helpful generally and their page on searching for a residency seems to be too, although I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. Got a great high out of reading the "Surgical Traits" page and nodding along like it was a sermon or pep talk. So, future surgeons, when the studying gets to you...
 
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