- Can I practice as an unlicensed physician in NYC?
A1) No, you cannot. What NYC has allowed is that people who have completed 1 year of residency in United States (transitional, preliminary or categorical) and for some reason have not continued as PGY-2, can come out and practice without FULL license. That is what they meant by unlicensed.
- Can I volunteer?
A2) Yes, if the hospital allows you to. Mount Sinai has this link to fill out a form-https://www.mountsinai.org/about/covid19/staff-resources/help to volunteer and it does have questions regarding your skills, including medical and psychiatric skills. So, if you are in NYC or nearby and really want to volunteer, you can sign up for this.
- Will COVID make it difficult for visa requiring IMG’s to start residency?
A3) Will there be delays? Very likely. Will they throw you out? Extremely unlikely. Remember, its not just about the new residents who will start. The same issue is there for residents who are going to fellowships and graduating residents and fellows who are going to start their jobs. As far as I know, ECFMG is actively working on it. They have informed the State Department about the issue and they are reviewing it. Also, there are 1000’s of seniors who are involved and who need to be in United States at this crucial time. They are not going to let so many doctors leave in this crisis. Once the pandemic is under better control in 4-6 weeks, there will still be time (1.5 months) to get the process done. They cannot randomly hire so many new residents/fellows/doctors so soon. They have selected you on merit after a long drawn out highly competitive process and they simply don’t have the time to do it again, especially in this crisis. So, remember that you are not alone. Do whatever paperwork you can complete for the time being and patiently wait. IMG’s comprise around 25% of all doctors in United States and roughly half of them are visa requiring, which is a huge number. So, do not fall for any random rumors. Do not panic. Focus on what who can control right now.
You’re not reading all of this by accident. Everything will be just fine. Breathe and remember that you’ve been in this place before. You’ve been uncomfortable, anxious, scared, and you survived. So close your eyes and feel the universe within you making a way for you this very moment. Good luck God bless