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Ochsner students

Overcoming the International Medical Graduate (IMG) tag

Student stories
Published 23 Feb, 2023  ·  3 minutes

Dr Akanksh Ramanand is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and graduated from UQ Ochsner Medical School in 2020. He is now an Internal Medicine resident at Ochsner Health. He completed his undergraduate studies at Tulane University, followed by a Masters in Neuroscience. He got motivated by friends to apply for the UQ Ochsner program and, to this day, thinks it was the best decision he ever made. He joined our alumni panel and shared his experience with us.

Watch Meet Dr Akanksh Ramanand, UQ Ochsner 2020 graduate on YouTube.

How did you find the first two years in Brisbane?

Brisbane is incredible. Everyone is really lovely. I didn’t expect to be integrated into such a large group of Canadian, American and Australian students and make so many friends, it was a nice part of the program.

I found those two years prepared me well for residency. They do an excellent job of introducing clinical experience early on. In the first semester, you learn how to do exams, pulmonary, cardiac, abdominal, and write case reports on different patients you have to see in your second year, so you start learning how to write notes early on.

Some of the highlights were working in small groups, being encouraged to talk to patients, learning communications skills to discuss difficult news or interacting with different types of patients. This was invaluable, and it prepared me for the third and fourth years, where I worked hand in hand with all the Residents at Ochsner Health.

How did you find the transition from being a med student to a resident?

It is quite a change, but I found that UQ Ochsner prepared me well for it. I was exposed to different pathologies early and found that I was comfortable speaking to patients much earlier than I would have thought.

In the third and fourth year here, the Residents and Fellows were great at integrating the medical students and were very willing to teach. I enjoyed that a lot and still do as a resident. I chose Internal Medicine at Ochsner Health because I found great mentors in the Attendings, Fellows and Residents as a student. I was also able to do research, contribute to abstracts, submit work for conferences and even magazines.

Did the pandemic affect your learning experience in 2020?

We were fortunate enough only to have two weeks away from the hospital, so our rotations were not impacted. We didn’t have to do much on Zoom; we were in the hospital, practicing on patients. The program managed to make sure we didn’t come in contact with patients affected by COVID-19, they made sure we always had PPE on hand and were safe to practice medicine, all of this while maintaining our learning journey.

How was being an International Medical Graduate (IMG) addressed during the interviews?

Being an IMG is not always an advantage. It is something you have to get over because many programs will filter you out, and you will have to broaden how many programs you apply to.

But as far as interviews go, almost every interviewer was interested in the experience I had in Australia, including how patient care is integrated into our medical school journey. We also spoke about the differences between rural Australia and rural America; you see very different patients in these two environments. People are very interested in discussing the program in Australia.

Watch Overcoming the International Medical Graduate (IMG) tag on YouTube.

Do you have any other tips you would like to share?

Yes, I would like to add that you have a two-month break between your third and fourth year, during which you can do an away rotation or a sub at Ochsner Health, which is a significant advantage. You can utilise that time to impress departments, get ahead and be in a good position for recommendation letters.

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