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  #1  
Old 11-04-2014
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Default Italian Medical Doctor

Hi guys,
Im Pierluigi, 25 yo and Im an italian medical doctor. My girlfriend (she is a MD too) and I want to come over there in US for studying for USMLE and to apply, after that, for a residency program.
now, I have few questions for you:
1. do you think we should do some Kaplan courses to prepare USMLE step 1 and 2??? They are very expensive, and don't know if they are necessary for passing the steps. Do you think we could get it by ourselves, by buying kaplan books and studying alone??? and how long does it take for the entire process (I mean step 1, 2 and 3)??? we hope 1 year and half will be enough. what do you think bout it?
2. which is the possibility to get enrolled into plastic surgery residency??? how many school we should send our statement to, for having more chances to get selected???
I wish you could help me, guys.
tnx a lot
Pierluigi
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2014
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Plastic Surgery is one of the most competitive specialties to get into for US Graduates. For IMGs, it is almost impossible. Unless you've done extensive volunteering in places like Africa and the Middle-East, much research, have perfect grades and amazing USMLE Scores, you might want to reconsider your specialty.
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2014
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I second that. Plastic surgery is pretty much impossible to get into, even with stellar credentials as it's one of the most competitive fields among AMGs. The only way you may have a chance is by having done electives in surgery during medical school (which I assume you haven't), get excellent scores (>250-255 on both steps), do 1-2 years of research in the field in the US, make some contacts, and hopefully they'll put in a word.

The process mentioned above can take a really long time, so you might be better off applying to one of the IMG friendly specialties (IM, Peds, Psych etc.)

Just my 2 cents.
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2014
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oh ****!!! I have done 2 years of internship in plastic surgery, but in italian medical school, obviously! what does research in the US mean??? so you are telling me that's impossible.
which are your suggestions??? I dont know how much Im willing to reconsider my specialty...I feel like the the floor is missing under my feet, right now! didn't know it was so impossible.
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  #5  
Old 11-05-2014
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Unfortunately, 2 years of training wouldn't count towards any sort of exemption to my knowledge. They may give you a 1 year exemption if you're a trained plastic surgeon in Italy but not if you haven't completed the training.

Nevertheless, it is extremely competitive and usually impossible (the NRMP match rates attest to this.)

Fields like Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics are considered to be IMG friendly. Neuro used to be IMG friendly but not that much now. The same with Pathology. If you do pursue Internal Medicine, you can always choose to subspecialize in one of the 11-12 fellowship programs recognized by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

When I say research, I mean it has to be some sort of ground work with a hospital in something related to plastic surgery. These posts are between far and few and usually tough to get because of visa issues, lack of research experience, lack of research contacts etc.

Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2014
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I'm not a trained plastic surgeon, of course. I've just finished the 6-years course of italian medical school, so I've got my medical degree. During last 2 years of university I attended plastic surgery ward as observer and I did my thesis on a plastic surgery topic with my professor, but Im not a trained plastic surgeon.
Said this, if plastic residency is so impossible, who the **** succeeds in this purpose???
Your "good luck" at the end is hilarious. After your words, only angst, desperation and failure are the feelings I have inside. The same feelings your Kierkegaard claimed.
It's not an offense to you, obvious. You were very helpful to better understand the situation.
I really don't know what to do right now. I was planning this ****ing project for the last 2years with my girlfriend. WTF
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtisDriftwood View Post
I'm not a trained plastic surgeon, of course. I've just finished the 6-years course of italian medical school, so I've got my medical degree. During last 2 years of university I attended plastic surgery ward as observer and I did my thesis on a plastic surgery topic with my professor, but Im not a trained plastic surgeon.
Said this, if plastic residency is so impossible, who the **** succeeds in this purpose???
Your "good luck" at the end is hilarious. After your words, only angst, desperation and failure are the feelings I have inside. The same feelings your Kierkegaard claimed.
It's not an offense to you, obvious. You were very helpful to better understand the situation.
I really don't know what to do right now. I was planning this ****ing project for the last 2years with my girlfriend. WTF
You're only 25. You're really young. You haven't taken the steps so, why not try? With hard work you can acheive the 250+ scores. I know its extremely difficult, maybe not plastic surgery, but any other surgical specialty or general surgery. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. In US working as a doctor is really different. You might be a general surgeon but work accompanied by plastic surgeons. Work hard, do research, acheive great scores. Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USMLED10 View Post
You're only 25. You're really young. You haven't taken the steps so, why not try? With hard work you can acheive the 250+ scores. I know its extremely difficult, maybe not plastic surgery, but any other surgical specialty or general surgery. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. In US working as a doctor is really different. You might be a general surgeon but work accompanied by plastic surgeons. Work hard, do research, acheive great scores. Good luck!
Tnx for suggestion. What do you mean with "hard work"?? how many hours of study per day??? I'm supposed to do a 7-weeks prep course by Kaplan for step 1, hoping it will help me somehow.
are there fixed dates along the year for taking step 1, or could I take it whenever I feel ready? how long will it take to me to prepare step1? I wanna move to US to study for the entire prep, to better learn english, cause I don't speak it very well.
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2014
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Regarding who usually gets in, it's the AMGs as always. I'm not saying IMGs can't get in but I would really like you to check out the NRMP match rates for plastic surgery coz that's what we can really rely on in terms of what's competitor and what's not.

IMGs have many factors working against them - visa status being a major one so having a green card would certainly help.

Now if you were to finish a plastic surgery training in your home country (Italy), or the UK countries or Ireland (as they're English speaking) and publish some research in the field, that'll definitely work in your favor.

And like the previous user said, if not plastic surgery, you can always try for general surgery, which is still competitive but doable if you have an excellent CV, scores, research etc.

Regarding step scores, I can't say much as I haven't given mine yet but you'd definitely have to put in tons of hours in a day or more so study smart if you want a >250, unless of course, you have a solid preclinical background. I haven't attended the Kaplan course but another user on this forum by the name of pisho has, so you can PM him and find out his experience eith the program.

Moving to the U.S. is definitely a good idea coz you need to attain/have a high level of language proficiency when applying to residencies as you have competition from tons of folks who come from countries where English is a de facto official language. So moving there will definitely help you not only to improve your English skills but also get used to the culture and their way of living.

If you do some research, you'll find that a majority of IMGs who matched into über-competitive specialties are the ones who trained in their country and acquired a great amount of expertise in their field, who have multiple publications under their belt, and who also have top notch step scores to prove to residency directors that they're capable of revisiting and mastering the basics needed to get in.

I don't mean to discourage you by any means, but one must be realistic considering doing all this is a long-winded process and requires a substantial financial investment and most importantly, keeping in mind that nothing is guaranteed. Also check out the number of people applying to surgical residencies in general, you'd be shocked (considering most surigcal residency spots are limited, even more so in ones like plastic surgery, urology, ENT, ophthalmology etc).

Hope that clears up some confusion.
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2014
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Hi there,
I've checked out the NRMP match scores for PlasticSurgery, and I've seen that step1 and step2 scores, for international applicants, are lower than the american applicants' ones (221-230 was enough, according to 2014 match scores)...not the same, instead, about the research, work experiences and abstracts publications, that are required much more for international applicants.
Thinkin bout the possibility to get italian plastic residency before and then move there in USA for american residency, in your opinion is better for us to apply for usmle steps right now, considered the fact we got our italian medical degree 1 month ago, or is better to get it after italian residency? I hope you understand wat I mean.
Are there fixed datas for applying for USMLE steps, along the year, or they could be taken whenever I feel ready?
Event more, I understood plastic surgery is very hard to get in for international student, but...if I apply for an isolated school, i.e. in North Dakota or in Alaska, just to make an example???? Could I have more chances to get enrolled?
Finally, how many countries can I send to my curricula, for having an interview?? Is there a limited number of max requests?? I mean, can I send my statement to 50 schools, around US???
Please, answer all my questions, because I really dont know who I can ask.
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtisDriftwood View Post
Hi there,
I've checked out the NRMP match scores for PlasticSurgery, and I've seen that step1 and step2 scores, for international applicants, are lower than the american applicants' ones (221-230 was enough, according to 2014 match scores)...not the same, instead, about the research, work experiences and abstracts publications, that are required much more for international applicants.
Thinkin bout the possibility to get italian plastic residency before and then move there in USA for american residency, in your opinion is better for us to apply for usmle steps right now, considered the fact we got our italian medical degree 1 month ago, or is better to get it after italian residency? I hope you understand wat I mean.
Are there fixed datas for applying for USMLE steps, along the year, or they could be taken whenever I feel ready?
Event more, I understood plastic surgery is very hard to get in for international student, but...if I apply for an isolated school, i.e. in North Dakota or in Alaska, just to make an example???? Could I have more chances to get enrolled?
Finally, how many countries can I send to my curricula, for having an interview?? Is there a limited number of max requests?? I mean, can I send my statement to 50 schools, around US???
Please, answer all my questions, because I really dont know who I can ask.

You must take the matching scores on NRMP with a grain of salt coz people very rarely get into plastic surgery with scores of 220-230, unless you've made some revolutionary breakthrough in the field of plastic surgery. Regarding when to sit USMLE exams, you must remember that if you take the steps now, they'll be valid for 7 years, so if you finish your training in that period of time, then you can still apply.

Most plastic surgery programs, as all other residencies, participate in the NRMP match and you upload your credentials (CV, scores, publications, research, USCE) onto ERAS, which is a centralized system that sends out all your credentials to different residency programs. You get to choose the number of programs, but you have to pay accordingly. Something like $30 for the first 10 prgrams, $10 for each program until 20, then $20 for each program after that etc. It would also only make sense to applying to residencies that are IMG friendly, which would naturally reduce the pool of programs available out there.

In general, what matters if the time period (in years) from your graduation date, the more time elapses, the harder it will be match into a residency program. Many if not most programs have a 3 year cut-off period, so if you graduated 4 years ago, these programs might not even look at your application. Some have 5 year cut-off periods, and very few programs even accept graduates who've finished school 10 years ago.

To my knowledge, you can't really apply individually to a hospital, unless that hospital or residency program rather participates out of the match and a few programs do.

Hope that helps.
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  #12  
Old 11-08-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qirkergaard View Post
You must take the matching scores on NRMP with a grain of salt coz people very rarely get into plastic surgery with scores of 220-230, unless you've made some revolutionary breakthrough in the field of plastic surgery. Regarding when to sit USMLE exams, you must remember that if you take the steps now, they'll be valid for 7 years, so if you finish your training in that period of time, then you can still apply.

Most plastic surgery programs, as all other residencies, participate in the NRMP match and you upload your credentials (CV, scores, publications, research, USCE) onto ERAS, which is a centralized system that sends out all your credentials to different residency programs. You get to choose the number of programs, but you have to pay accordingly. Something like $30 for the first 10 prgrams, $10 for each program until 20, then $20 for each program after that etc. It would also only make sense to applying to residencies that are IMG friendly, which would naturally reduce the pool of programs available out there.

In general, what matters if the time period (in years) from your graduation date, the more time elapses, the harder it will be match into a residency program. Many if not most programs have a 3 year cut-off period, so if you graduated 4 years ago, these programs might not even look at your application. Some have 5 year cut-off periods, and very few programs even accept graduates who've finished school 10 years ago.

To my knowledge, you can't really apply individually to a hospital, unless that hospital or residency program rather participates out of the match and a few programs do.

Hope that helps.
is it important the time period between my graduation and USMLE steps or between my grad and the match???
life is full of hard decisions and this is one of them! really don't know wat to do. wtf
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  #13  
Old 11-08-2014
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Yes, the time period always matters. For eg. Once you pass the 3 year mark from medical school graduation, your chances of matching in reduce by about 50-60% as most residency programs have a 3 year cut off mark. You can still justify this if you have been doing something useful in this period of time. The 5 year mark is worse as it reduces your chances of matching to 20-30% but again, people still do match.
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Old 11-09-2014
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tnx qirkergaard....you have been very usefull! tnx again :-)
are you american Citizen? which city do you suggest to me between NY and Chicago to live in for studying for USMLE??? I mean which city is the cheapest thinkin bout house rent price and living cost??
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Old 11-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtisDriftwood View Post
tnx qirkergaard....you have been very usefull! tnx again :-)
are you american Citizen? which city do you suggest to me between NY and Chicago to live in for studying for USMLE??? I mean which city is the cheapest thinkin bout house rent price and living cost??
Hey, no I grew up there but I'm not a citizen (as my dad was an international diplomat when we were there so we weren't eligible). I believe both cities are great but NY might be cooler coz you'll get to interact with tons more IMGs like yourself. In terms of being cheap, Chicago is definitely cheaper than NY (but it's still expensive compared to say Austin, Tx, or Philadelphia, PA).

You're most welcome and good luck once again!
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