If you’re an International Medical Graduate (IMG) looking to practice medicine in the US, it’s critical to participate in an accredited residency program before you can get a board certification and officially become a specialist. However, some residency programs are highly competitive and can be challenging to get into. One solution to this barrier of entry is to participate in a medical clerkship at an ACGME-accredited clinic.
What is the ACGME?
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is an independent organization that establishes professional educational standards for residency and fellowship programs in the US It is important to note that residency at an ACGME-accredited program or a fellowship in an accredited specialty is almost always required for board certifications.
These accreditation standards ensure that the physicians training in these facilities are educated and capable of delivering safe, high-quality medical care. By participating in a medical clerkship at an ACGME-approved institution, you rotate within a clinic that operates at a superior, standardized level of care. To find clinics with ACGME-accredited programs or to verify a clinic’s ACGME accreditation status, you can get started with an application at CHHA and connect with an adviser.
Why Should I Participate in a Medical Clerkship at an ACGME-Accredited Clinic?
It is nearly impossible to get residency at a clinic without US Clinical Experience (USCE). In fact, some state medical boards are bound by law to require clinical clerkships in addition to a residency in order for physicians to independently practice in their states. The last two years of US medical school are spent in clinical rotations because almost every residency program in the US wants to accept medical graduates who are capable of practicing without supervision. This makes medical clerkships more of a mandatory prerequisite than a suggestion.
For medical facilities, ACGME accreditation is the gold standard; it means they know the best ways to ensure a safe medical environment for their patients. Because clinics with ACGME-accredited programs practice at the highest level of quality with certified teaching physicians, these are ideal places to begin a medical career in the US If you choose to participate in one, you benefit from superior training in a variety of medical specialties and subspecialties, a competency-based medical education, and priceless connections with clinical staff.
Explore With Standardized, Hands-On Medical Training
Because medical clerkships are based on multi-week rotations, you get to experiment, observe and receive hands-on experience in a variety of specialties that interest you. You may find something new that catches your eye or learn more about a subspecialty that you’re eager to pursue. At a clinic with AGCME-accredited programs, you’ll learn from the best and receive medical training from a facility with a superior standard of care. Best of all, since these clinics are standardized, they also prepare you for what residency will eventually look like, giving you an edge in the large pool of applicants.
Competency-Based Medical Education
Participating in a USCE at an ACGME-accredited clinic can prove your experience to residency directors when applying to a coveted program. It shows you’ve worked at a clinic with the highest standards possible and have the necessary knowledge of how medicine is practiced in the US When looking at your application, directors want to see you’re capable of holding your own in a high-stress environment. They may be more comfortable considering your application if you have a medical clerkship on your resume from an institution abiding by proper accreditation standards.
Invaluable Connections With Potential Mentors
One of the most important parts of a medical clerkship is meeting the people who can speak on behalf of your abilities as a physician. If you gain experience at an ACGME-approved clinic, you’ll be able to work alongside certified physicians across multiple specialties. The connections you make with these professionals can serve you in the long run when applying to residency programs.
If you perform well throughout your clinical rotations, your mentors will be able to provide a letter of recommendation along with your application to give you a better chance in the applicant pool. A recommendation letter argues why you are a competitive candidate for a specific residency spot. In fact, a positive letter of recommendation in a specialty is ranked as the No. 2 factor, with 90% of directors citing its importance when considering which applicants to bring in for an interview, according to a survey conducted by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). This actually ranks higher than Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs). A glowing letter of recommendation from the faculty of an ACGME-accredited clinic can go a long way and add an extra layer of authority to your residency application.
The Clerkship to Residency to Board Certification Pipeline
Similar to an intern returning to work for a company, sometimes residency programs are eager to offer residency positions to medical graduates who want to return to clinics they’ve rotated at. This is a benefit that makes a clinical rotation at an ACGME-approved facility, very appealing. Theoretically, you could participate in a clerkship, gain residency, and receive a board certification all while practicing at the same clinic.
Since residency in an ACGME-accredited institution is a critical step for future board certifications, this unique pipeline is more of a possibility if you participate in a medical clerkship at a clinic that also provides ACGME-accredited programs.
Extending your clerkship into a residency isn’t always guaranteed, but this path can make the residency match less stressful, and if you’ve already made meaningful connections with the faculty, they’d be able to speak on your behalf and make recommendations to the clinic’s residency director.
Finding the Best Medical Clerkship For You
Clinical rotations are a critical part of landing a future residency in the US, so how do you find the right clerkship? CHHA is here to assist you in finding the right match to further your career goals. Apply with CHHA today to launch your medical career in the US and find the perfect clinic for you to begin rotating in.