Volunteer Program Profile: IMG Bridging Program

There are International Medical Graduates (IMGs) living in Nova Scotia who are permanent residents in Canada and are currently pursuing their license to practice medicine here. Many IMGs are preparing to take Canadian licensing examinations or practical assessments of their skills and knowledge. The International Medical Graduates (IMG) Bridging Program works with IMGs to help them prepare for their examinations. Two opportunities exist in the program for volunteers to assist IMGs in continuing their path to licensure.

Clinical Skills Review Program

The clinical skills review program gives IMGs the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the Canadian healthcare system and culture, improve their professional communication skill, and prepare for the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC-OSCE) and Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II (MCCQE Part II).

To help IMGs prepare, the program offers mock examinations that rely on the help of volunteers. Volunteers act out scenes as patients at the weekly clinical exams by reading from a provided script. These mock exams allow IMGs the opportunity to role-play realistic clinical scenarios with trained simulated patients (volunteers). From this, they are able to get feedback from professional practicing physicians on their clinical skills, communication, and interpersonal skills.

Time Commitment: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm on Saturdays throughout July and August
Duration of Volunteer Role: 1 session or more
Training: Orientation & training provided during the first two shifts

“Volunteering as a simulated patient at ISANS has been a great experience. I got to meet doctors from different cultures and learn from them, they are very polite and welcoming. Also being in the spot of a patient taught me ‘as a health care provider’ the patient’s perspective in the healthcare settings.” – Mock exam volunteer.

IMG Oberservership Physicians

IMGs need to maintain or enhance their clinical skills under the direction of a practicing physician in order to prepare for Canadian licensing exams and practical assessments. Designed to expose IMGs to clinical practice, the Observership is an arrangement between an IMG Observer and a volunteer Supervising Specialist Physician or Surgeon, based on a College of Physicians and Surgeons Nova Scotia program with its associated policies and procedures. Max Al Aqel, the IMG Bridging Program Coordinator at ISANS, handles the matching, arrangements and program evaluation. The time frame may be determined and approved according to the needs of the Observer and the availability of the Supervising Physician or Surgeon. Observerships generally last between two weeks and three months with the IMG attending 1 – 5 days a week.

Volunteer physicians in the Observership program help IMGs gain hands-on experience in understanding the Canadian health care system and build their skills and confidence.

“I completed an Observership in the Internal Medicine-Nephrology Department at Yarmouth Regional Hospital. It was a great experience. I was introduced to the Canadian Health Care System and the cases encountered in a rural setting. He was a great mentor, he gave me the opportunity to see patients by myself in the clinic and in the ER and write the notes which he discussed with me after I completed my plan. He also gave me the opportunity to participate in a local conference at Yarmouth Regional Hospital. I also attended the dialysis department, the pre-dialysis CKD clinic, ER medical consults, inpatient ward, and ICU. I also observed procedures such as IV temporary pacemakers and chest tube insertion. The experience was priceless.” – International Medical Graduate and Oberservership participant.

If you are interested in volunteering for either of the programs listed above, please contact volunteer@isans.ca.