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Scotland Deanery

Home of medical and dental excellence

International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

Educational Supervisor Meetings

Initial Meeting with Educational/Clinical Supervisor

At least an hour should be set aside for this initial meeting which should be based on the 4 domains of Language, Culture, Previous Medical Education and Belonging.

There are key considerations to cover in each of the four domains outlined below. The aim is to develop an action plan with targets to achieve at the end of 2 weeks. There is an Action Plan Record to help structure this.

A flowchart for guiding conversations supporting IMGs can be found here.

This initial meeting should also consider the 3 checklists (Roles and Responsibilities, Medical Education and Training Pathways, and NHS, terminology and Referral Pathways) that should be completed at the end of the shadowing period. They may help with populating the Action Plan.


Click here to view a short recording on Guiding Supervisor Conversations Supporting IMGs

Basic Human Needs

Before discussing other needs, it is important to sensitively address and discuss the most basic Human needs.

Key considerations:

  • Is the IMG on their own? Do they have family? Are the family with them or did they leave them behind? Are they joining later? How does that make them feel?
  • Does the IMG have accommodation? A bank account?
  • Can they drive? How do they get to work?
  • Do they have enough funds before their first payday?
  • Have the organised schools and childcare for their children if they have any?


1. Language

Sensitively discuss language issues both inside and outside work as appropriate.

Key Considerations:

  • What previous experience of healthcare systems e.g. has the trainee previously worked in the NHS?
  • Even if the IMG’s English is very good, they are likely -if they have not worked in the NHS- to be unfamiliar with basic terms and acronyms e.g. Kardex, IDLs, BNF...etc. Reassure them that it is ok to ask
  • Are there specific terms used in the hospital that would be useful to cover?
  • Who might be best placed to answer questions about jargon/NHS terminology/Social Care terminology?
  • Has the trainee had experience of writing in medical notes in the UK and how a clinical review should be structured in clinical notes?
  • Has the trainee had experience of writing hospital discharge letters to GPs and what information should be included?
  • Has the trainee signed up for Ongoing Active Support for IMGs in Scotland (OASIS) programme: https://community.rcpsg.ac.uk/event/list ?
  • What sources of Language immersion are there? What is the difference between the language used in Radio 4, the local radio station, broadsheet newspapers and tabloids, any particularTV shows to recommend?


2. Cultural Support Inside and Outside of Work

Sensitively discuss culture both inside and outside the workplace.

Key Considerations:

  • Does the trainee understand the different roles of the MDT? E.g. different nursing roles including the nurse in charge, Healthcare assistants, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, Social Work etc. (see the Roles and Responsibilities checklist for examples)
  • Does the trainee understand the medical hierarchy and roles? (see Roles and Responsibilities checklist for examples)
  • Are they aware of referral pathways within and out with the hospital? E.g. to radiology, other specialties or primary care
  • Any local cultural events that might be interesting?


3. Previous Medical Education

Discuss training received thus far.

Key Considerations:

  • What practical skills are required in the trainee’s role?
    • Is supervised practice required to ensure the trainee is competent to perform these?
    • Would a simulation session e.g. in a clinical skills lab be beneficial?
  • What level of communication skills does the trainee have? Have they had specific training?
  • What other clinical skills are required in the trainee’s role?
  • Does the trainee understand the day-to-day work requirements for their clinical role?
  • Do they fully appreciate what the term patient-centred-care means?
  • Communicating about diagnosis, prognosis and breaking bad news is often done with families rather than the patients in a lot of cultures e.g. Asia, Africa, Southern Europe. Is the IMG aware of the NHS norms in this regard?
  • Do they have extra experience and skills that they can bring into the department? Can the department appropriately benefit from this?


4. Belonging

  • Key Considerations: Note – just by showing an interest in these matters, the IMG is likely to feel more at ease and increase their sense of belonging.
  • Has the trainee Accessed the IMG pages on the Scottish Deanery Website?
  • Has a buddy been identified for the trainee?
  • Has the trainee joined the IMG Facebook group?
  • Would it be useful to identify a local ‘buddy’ within the clinical unit to help answer questions?
  • Are there other ways to welcome IMGs considering that might be completely isolated from family and friends?
  • Do they have any contacts?
  • Do they feel welcome? Have they done activities with their colleagues?

This page was last updated on: 30.04.2024 at 14.55