St. Paul, Minn.
— A new study of medical school applicants from all 50 states found a lot of those who had applied for medical school but failed were not eligible to apply for licensures.
The new study by researchers at Northwestern University examined the status of about 4,500 applicants who had completed an initial year of medical studies and received a licensure by the American Medical Association.
It found that about 12 percent of the applicants were not on the list, which means that some students may not have been enrolled in classes but were enrolled in the program and could have been eligible for medical licensure.
The study found that, for the first year, the percentage of the total applications that were not approved was much lower than the percentage who were approved for licensured positions.
About 3.5 percent of those applicants were on the program but did not receive licensures, while about 1 percent were.
Of the 4,556 applicants who were eligible for licensing, about 14 percent of them were approved and 3.6 percent were not.
For the other 5.3 percent, the application was rejected, and only 1.3% were eligible.
The findings suggest that not all of the students who were enrolled, but who did not get licensures were enrolled enough to qualify for licensorship.
“In some cases, the applicants may not be in the right type of class, or they may not actually be in an approved medical school class,” said Dr. Michael Schulz, who led the study and is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern.
“The number of people that are not in the group of approved medical students is significant,” Schulz said.
“There are probably a lot more people that have not been licensed in the past two years, or the years before that, than are approved.”
Dr. James M. Coughlin, director of the Office of Admissions to the American College of Physicians, said the study reinforces what many people already know: that it is essential for doctors to have a medical degree to be licensed.
“If you’re applying for licensurship, we want to make sure that you’re medically qualified and medically up to date, and then we’ll make sure you have the appropriate medical experience and training,” Coughlins said.
Some states have been cracking down on non-medical school applicants and requiring them to submit their diplomas, but the rules are often relaxed or ignored.
The National Association of State Boards of Nursing said it does not recommend any medical school licensure programs.
The association says the study is a reminder of the importance of licensing, which can prevent many health care workers from performing their duties.
“While we cannot be overly concerned about the percentage, it is important to note that it was a very small percentage,” said association President Carol Besser.
“And yet the American Association of Health Professions is now calling for all licensed health professionals to complete the medical licensures requirements.
We have been advocating for a long time for a national licensing system, one that will require all medical workers to complete licensure.”
The association said the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all health professionals, regardless of where they work, obtain licensures before they start practicing.
The American College on Cardiology recommends that physicians and other medical students who have completed a medical school degree be licensed by the association.
“It is absolutely critical that all licensed healthcare professionals obtain a medical license, and that licensure should be completed prior to entering the profession,” said the College’s director, Dr. Stephen A. Hsu.
“If they are not, we can’t trust them to care for patients.”
Dr Coughls study was published in the journal Health Affairs.