As elluded to in the last post and Dr. Trevor Dukes article, the process an International Medical Graduate needs to go through in order to practice in Australia is much tougher then it was say a decade ago. For a PNG doctors trying to come and work in Australia, unless they are very lucky and even so, in order to stay long term here they need to go through the process like everyone else.
While there may be various loopholes and other options for a IMG to work in Australia the best option is to get through the required AMC exams and get general unconditional registration. And the best way to do this is to undertake a bridging course or get together in a study group and get on with it, staying focused and motivated. Working in a group has the great advantage of getting motivation from other group member and sharing resources. It also makes to experience more fun. I have been entertaing the idea of setting up a formal Bridging course for PNG doctors who wish to give these exams a shot. The course can be web based and or face to face. Participants will be provided with resources, and attend scheduled seminars where they can also go through cases to help them prepare for the exam. It is most likely that such a program would have to be based in Port Moresby.
Another option is to offer such a course online and there various online educational formats that can be utilised to achieve this. For example “Elluminate Live” and “Moodle”. These are programs specifically design for courses [watch this space as I find out more about it]. In terms of the viability of such a course for PNG and other SP Island countries, it will all depend on the demand, ie how many PNG doctors are willing to enrol in such a course and how many are willing to pay the fee. I have no idea at this stage about the required financing requirements for such a course or whether their is even a demand out there to make it viable. But I can imagine that the financial costs will be a major obstacle for PNG Doctors. Without the cost of a bridging course, the 1st MCQ exam itself costs about $2000 then one needs to factor in the cost of travel, accomadation ect. Overall just to sit the exam a PNG doctor will need to budget around $3000-$4000 AUD, this being a rough estimate. This is a tough ask for most but is by no mean impossible.
Some reasons why a PNG Medical Graduate may want to sit the AMC examinations:
- To work in Australia – wheather permenantly or temporarily to gain experience and return to PNG.
- For private GPs/Specialist – To gain a competitive advantage by improving medical profession credentials, keeping up to date with current medical knowledge and practice and therefore fostering confidence and goodwill amongst clients.
- To keep the benchmark in medical practice in PNG at international standards.
- To satisfy the hunger for knowledge and scientic curiousity that keeps one interested in their job.