Assessment of the learning needs of International Medical Graduates

Shalini Saxena, Sarah Dennis, Sanjyot Vagholkar, Nicholas A. Zwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Australia is increasingly relying on International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to help address a medical workforce shortage. There is a lack of research, however, on the educational issues faced by IMGs trying to become qualified to work in Australia. Objective: To explore the learning needs of IMGs preparing for the Australian Medical Council (AMC) clinical examination. Method: Two focus groups were conducted with IMGs enrolled in the University of New South Wales Bridging Program. Semi-structured questions were used to guide the discussion and the topics included medical knowledge and clinical skills, extra training required, English language and communication skills, resource requirements, professional networking, access to clinical experience, working in the hospital system, general practice/ specialist training and non-medical issues. The qualitative data collected in the focus group discussions were thematically hand coded and analysed. Results: There were two focus groups with nineteen participants in total. Overall, the IMGs felt that they had sufficient medical knowledge but needed extra training in clinical and communications skills, ethical and legal issues, medical knowledge in the context of the Australian healthcare system, role of the general practitioner and the AMC examination process, in particular role-play. They also required access to resources such as medical libraries. Conclusion: IMGs have a broad range of learning needs. For these to be addressed requires a comprehensive coordinated national approach to the training of IMGs to equip them fully for work in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalFocus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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