Being an IMG in a US residency program for me has been different in some aspects compared to my residency experience in my home country. The differences maybe challenging to get accustomed to especially when you are expected to hit the floor running right from day 1. In this post I will share a few differences from my personal experience.
The biggest one I experienced was dealing with the social aspect of patient care, the degree to which this applies may vary based on whether you work in a public hospital vs a private hospital. Taking a detailed social history of patients was new to me – such as the kind of health services the patient has at home, whether they reside in a nursing home, rehab center, etc. Getting this information upon admission is important for the purposes of informing the social worker so that the patient discharge process appropriately suits the needs of the patient
Getting accustomed to the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system – more specifically how to navigate and utilize can take some getting used to. In my home country all our processes were paper-based and we did not have EMR systems. After working in 2 different hospitals here in the states I realized the type of EMR systems vary from place to place. They can be very easy and user-friendly or difficult and counter-intuitive depending on the system.
Lastly, many hospitals do not have around the clock phlebotomists therefore as an intern you maybe responsible for drawing blood samples – it is a bonus if you are good at phlebotomy. It is advisable before starting residency to become well-versed with the types of tubes for collecting different samples. (i.e. lavender tube for CBC, yellow or red topped tube for BMP, etc) so that you are not wasting time drawing samples in the wrong tubes and having to redo it