Marwa is a family physician from Egypt. She has been studying in the LINC Home Study program since October 2016, and came to Canada shortly before that in May 2016. She lives in Medicine Hat, and travels to Calgary for her testing with the Medical Council of Canada, MCC. In a short period of time, she has accomplished so much, professionally and personally, and I think she is an inspiration to others.
Marwa, could you explain what the basic testing process is for internationally trained doctors coming to Canada?
To be licensed in Canada, there are several steps. First, there are four evaluations exams; MCCEE, MCCQ1, MCCQ2, and NAC OSCE. Once you successfully complete the four exams you must pass IELTS with scores of 7 in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. This is considered a high score for all international medical graduates. You are then fully licensed and can start to practicing medicine.
Why were you so happy at the end of December 2017?
After approximately two years of studying in Canada, I passed the MCCEE exam, the first evaluation exam. After my first attempt at the MCCEE exam, I continued to study. I was so happy when I passed the exam on the second exam.
Besides studying months for each test, what other challenges and responsibilities did you have last year?
There were a lot of challenges since arriving in Canada. It was a new community that at times felt strange. My daughter was two and a half, and my son was almost 4 when we came. I was focused on my kids because they didn’t know English well. I wondered if they would be able to communicate with other people.
The weather was strange and I wasn’t used to snow. Many days passed without seeing the sun. The cold weather of -30 or -35 was hard, and at times affected my mood and performance in studying. Also after I arrived, I had to deal with a health problem.
Marwa, through all this, how did you manage all the stress you have been under for almost two years?
The most important thing is that I love my job. I love to practice medicine. I feel that staying home without work is not the best decision for me. I love people and communicating with and helping patients overcome health problems. This is not my dream, this is my life. When I practice again, it will be like getting my life back.
My husband supports me, and I found a lot of friends here, immigrants and Canadians. My children’s teachers were so helpful and supportive. Also, my English teacher, Joann, was very helpful to me. She encouraged me to study and told me “It’s okay. You can do it.” She gives me positive energy. My father back home, tells me every day, “You can do it. You deserve to be licensed because you are a good physician.” I am excited to one day provide my children with an economically stable and happy life.
Marwa, could you please give any suggestions or advice to other internationally trained professionals who recently arrived in Canada?
Canada is an amazing country, and there is support to learn how to adapt to life in Canada. It serves you to work hard in this country, to be licensed, and to help people. When you work hard, you can see the benefit, which isn’t the case in some countries. It’s not going to be easy to be licensed, but I’ll never give up.
Some people say, “We can start after one year, two years.” But you may have roadblocks, and then find it’s been three or four years and you haven’t done anything for yourself. The Canadian system prefers immigrant physicians who have only been away from practice for a short time. The longer you have been away from practice, the harder it is to return to practice.