A doctor in Cuba becomes a nurse in the United States

When physicians in other countries come to the United States, they often become nurses or lab technicians, rather than re-taking rigorous board exams to remain doctors.

One example includes doctors from Cuba. According to this story in The New York Times, “6,000 medical professionals, many of them physicians, have left Cuba in the last six years.” Cuban doctors, who often earn $25 per month, find it significantly more lucrative to practice as nurses in the United States. In one example cited in the article, a former Cuban doctor became a hospice nurse Stateside, earning “more than $100,000 a year, [sending] his two children to private schools and [vacationing] with his family in France and Spain.”

What a deal.

One a related note, international medical professionals make up a significant part of the United States health care workforce. 25 percent of American doctors are trained overseas, and furthermore, according to a spokesperson from the American Medical Association, “We rely very heavily on them because they take positions that are in underserved areas and go into primary care. Without them our country would be in dire straits, especially minority populations and the poor.”

Indeed, there is little doubt that the already overburdened American primary care workforce would collapse without the support from international medical graduates.