My dream was to become a Psychiatrist and help others, after graduation from Med School, I studied for the USMLE Steps and passed them. I came to the US especially since there were troubles in my home country, my wife and 3-year-old son joined me in 2013 while waiting for our immigration papers (Asylum) as legal immigrants, I was finally granted a work authorization card to support my family, luckily I passed Step 3 as well and had the chance to do an observership and worked a part-time job in a hospital but of course it was not enough to support my family so I had to have a full-time job, sadly I did not get the chance to have clinical rotations nor the chance to join research especially that my work permit was renewable every year and 2 years in a row, it was delayed and I was put on a leave of absence for 2 months and I had to use credit cards for my financial support which raised my credit debts, I wanted to balance work with any kind of clinical rotations especially that years are passing and the gap from the last time I saw patients is increasing, so I joined teaching as part time, but it is almost impossible to get clinical rotations, and I found out that I have to pay an average of $500 per week for 1 and half month at least to make sure I can have letters of recommendations.
Despite these challenges, I used letters of recommendations from my home country, from the observership in a clinic and from my part time job as a crisis worker in a hospital, I applied to residency and I got one interview in 2014 but I did not match, I thought because of my unsettled immigration status, the Program Director mentioned that I did not meet the threshold despite my qualifications, because I did practice Medicine in my country for 6 years, the next year I got a phone interview from the same program but again I did not match, the third year 2016, I was invited there again and I had other 2 additional interviews, one of them because someone cancelled, but I did not match, there was also another interview, the Program Director was asking me about my community, which church I go to, that was unexpected, knowing that the program director was an immigrant and as usual I did not match.
It is worth noting that I had to borrow money from family and friends to be able to apply for residency programs and to broaden my chances, then in 2017 I got an email from the program where I was interviewed 3 times already and in the email they mentioned that they will rank me without an interview, this was also unusual, but I accepted that because I was desperate, every time I get an invitation for an interview me and my wife have our hopes and dreams high, and thinking that finally we will get to where I deserve in my career but as usual, March comes every year with the same disappointment.
I finally got approved and had my Green Card, I applied to limited programs because I became an old graduate now, also, I have a very limited budget and an already high credit debt, I had no time to do any other observership or rotations because I have to support my family, my students love my teaching, I teach at a Nursing School and a Biology Department in the same University, they admire my medical background and clinical experience and many of them ask me, why I am out of the medical system, I have nothing to say.
I got another invitation to an interview that has no cutoffs in regards to the year of graduation and I found many other younger fresh graduate doctors from inside and outside the US being interviewed like me and I thought I will get the chance but sadly I did not match again, I started to give up and I am thinking about what I can do as a career shift, knowing that all my contracts for the teaching jobs are temporary, now my son is 9 years old and I have a 3-year-old daughter, I and my wife are wondering what to do and where to go afterward after my 1-year contract ends I will start looking for jobs again and again.
I studied for a Master’s Degree in Bioethics as well by a scholarship and graduated.
I have a rich clinical experience and an academic background yet I see no luck and no openings, I always reminded myself that maybe when I get my Green Card, things will change but sadly nothing has changed and the Green Card did not make any difference in my profile, I tried to apply for Fellowships yet again I get the same reply that I have a gap, and in one of the emails, the Program Director acknowledged how hard it is to get any electives or get into the medical system in the US but it is what it is.