International medical graduates (IMGs) account for a significant proportion of residents in psychiatric training in the United States. Many IMGs may have previously completed psychiatry residency training in other countries. Their experiences may improve our system. Authors compared and contrasted psychiatry residency training in the U.S. to that of Canada, the United Kingdom, India, and Nigeria. The study also highlights the systems-based features that may have an impact on the adaptation of IMGs (especially previously-trained) to U.S. psychiatry residency.
Individuals who are familiar with psychiatry residency training in the United States and were previously trained in other countries synthesized information available on websites, official documents, and previous literature, as well as their experiences with past training.
Psychiatry residencies vary considerably in all five countries in terms of the duration of training, curriculum, clinical experience, psychotherapy training, research experience, supervision, and evaluation processes. Residency training in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. is well-structured and has more psychotherapy training. The U.K. has enhanced exposure to community psychiatry. The U.K., India, and Nigeria have increased emphasis on psychopathology. Training in India and Nigeria has a higher quantity of clinical work, less record-keeping, less emphasis on patient autonomy, and a mandatory prospective clinical research requirement.
The provision of services and training is substantially influenced by national mental health policies, culture, and local traditions. Despite numerous commonalities, there are some differences in psychiatry training among all five countries. Awareness of these differences in education, systems, and interactions may help psychiatric educators to understand IMGs (especially those previously-trained) as they adapt to U.S. training.