Iraqi Refugee Doctor In San Diego Learns Whether She'll Practice Medicine Again (Video)
Monday morning was a nail-biter for medical students across the nation. It marked the beginning of Match Week, when soon-to-be doctors find out whether they got into residency programs.
In September, we introduced you to one of those hopefuls: Najwan Al Ani of El Cajon. Unlike many of her peers, she's practiced medicine before — in war-torn Iraq and Jordan.
Foreign-trained doctors must spend several years and thousands of dollars to get into the field they left behind.
<i>Despite a call for more doctors and nurses to help providers keep pace with the Affordable Care Act, foreign-trained doctors must redo a significant portion of their training before becoming full-fledged doctors again in the United States. They have to pass three American licensing exams and compete for residency positions with fresh-faced medical school graduates — a process that often takes six years or more.</i><br><br><i>Al Ani’s experience treating shrapnel wounds and delivering babies in a war zone doesn’t move her toward the front of the line.</i><br><br><i>“Sometimes we faced lack of electricity while we were working,” Al Ani said of her two years working at a Baghdad hospital. “Especially for me, I faced a case of delivery without any electricity. I need just single flashlight to make this mom pass the delivery safely for her and her baby.”</i>
"I don't mind (going) anywhere. I loved all the programs that I applied to," Al Ani said. "I'm so excited to restart my career, so that's the big thing."
Nearly 8,000 foreign-trained doctors applied for residency spots last match season. Less than half were accepted into programs, according to the National Resident Match Program. Overall, there were more than 34,000 graduates vying for positions.
Update: Al Ani got the details of her assignment Friday. She'll be the first medical resident in a new program at Family Health Centers of San Diego. Program representatives learned of Al Ani's quest to become a U.S. doctor through an earlier KPBS story.