Purpose: To review experiences of internationally educated healthcare professionals (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, physicians and pharmacists) in their new country and to map these experiences using a competency framework.

Method: Database (Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO ) were systematically searched to include articles published between 2000 and 2017 and described the experiences of internationally educated healthcare professionals (IEHPs) in physiotherapists, occupational therapists, physicians and pharmacist in attaining registration in new country. The data were synthesised using conventional content analysis. Emerging themes were mapped across a competency framework based on the profiles of the selected professions.

Result: Thirteen articles were included; most were conducted in Canada and among internationally educated medical doctors. Themes were mapped to all the roles in the professional competency profiles except the Health Advocate role. Communicator role was the most frequently discussed; internationally educated healthcare professionals often needed to improve in culture-specific communication including verbal and non-verbal cues during assessment, documentation and treatment of clients. A pictorial representation was created for describing internationally educated healthcare professionals’ deficiencies in roles/ competencies for professional practice. In this representation, cultural-language and confidence deficits contribute to the deficiencies seen in roles and competencies among internationally educated healthcare professionals in their new country.

Conclusion: Internationally educated healthcare professionals’ ability to fulfill the explicit roles in the competency profiles may depend largely on having good cultural-language competence as well as confidence. Exposing the internationally educated healthcare professionals to local practice is one of the strategies for cultural-language and confidence enhancement, consistent with findings reported in the nursing profession.

Author Bio(s)

1. Michael E Kalu, BMR PT, MSc, Ph.D. student in the School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

2. Ukachukwu O Abaraogu, BMR.PT, MSc. Ph.D. student at the School of Health and Life Science, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom. He also a lecturer of the Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health Science and Technology, College of Medicine at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.

3. Kathleen E. Norman, BScPT, Ph.D. Associate Director, Research & Post Professional Program, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada.


We wish to thank Dr Catherine Donelly and Dr Trisha Parson for their feedback on this review.





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