A different thread on Universidad Central de Nicaragua

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by geaddict, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. geaddict

    geaddict New Member


    I would like to get some info on Universidad Central de Nicaragua that I cannot say has been addressed in any of the topics I have read (correct me if I am wrong please).

    I have a relative in Nicaragua that is going to this school to become a Medical Doctor with perhaps a specialty as well. I was wondering what country other than Nicaragua her degree would easily allow her to practice. Someplace where the wages can offer her a better living and future but the immigration / licensing (conversion??) costs and time would be minimal.

    I would love to hear peoples opinions on her varoius options. She is just starting out so we are looking 5 plus years into the future.

    Thanks :)
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'm guessing that a decent place to start would be to find a list of countries that have a reciprocity agreement with Nicaragua regarding medical licensure. I think you'd probably need a good bit of Spanish language skills to be satisfied that you've found the right references. My Spanish is not that good so I'm just going to walk away from that bit of homework. I'm guessing that your relative could discover this answer simply by asking at the medical school.

    So with that in mind, I would say that this issue is not directly related to the Universidad Central de Nicaragua as they do not actually license Physicians. There is some other entity that does this, be it the federal government of some professional body or both or whatever. The issue is, what countries accept a Nicaraguan medical license as equivalent to one originating in their own country. This, of course assumes that a medical degree from that school makes one eligible for licensing as a Physician in Nicaragua.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Not California, and not any other U.S. state that uses their list of approved foreign schools. Not sure about the rest of the U.S. or other countries.
  4. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    When I googled the school a while back, I found one person in residency in Florida. So presumably, Florida would accept the degree. If one survives the brutal exams, and with no guarantee of actually finding a residency. I believe US MD graduates have first dibs for spots (there's a central matching service), then US MDs, and only then FMGs. Chances are getting long, for UCN or any other offshore school.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Frequently we get questions that sound like, "What can I do with xyz degree?" and then they list a few degrees, sometimes they're quite different. Usually on piece of advice that comes out is "Maybe you should decide what you want to do and then get the degree that supports that goal." It strikes me that our op might benefit from similar advice. Maybe instead of asking "Where can I work with a Nicaraguan medical degree?" The person should be thinking about where they want to live and then do what is necessary to get themselves there.
  6. geaddict

    geaddict New Member

    In the case of my relative, she is Nicaraguan. We are helping her get her education locally but I would like to provide her with options where she can earn a better living than in Nicaragua after she graduates. So where can she work as a practicing Doctor. The goal is that should could easily immigrate, low cost of living, where she wouldbe able to practice with minimal costs and time, and still make a decent living compared to Nica standards. For instance can she go someplace and make 3000 per month where the cost of living is very low and she can have a good life. The number is just an example but I think you get the gist.
  7. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Yeah, some people. Why can't they have a foresight to get born in a better country?

  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Well, I have, on more than one occasion, spent time thinking about where in the world I would live if I could move anywhere. I don't blame a person, especially a person who's just gotten out of school, for thinking about moving. Also, now that the Boomers are getting to retirement age there's a lot of talk about retiring to some country where the dollar might stretch further. Personally, I'd have to continue working and I don't know if it's hard or easy to get a work permit. I'm sure the answer is "it depends on where you're going." Also, my non-English language skills are not the best. That might not be a deal breaker in some cases. In this era of global corporations it's probably pretty common for people to move around like that. In the case of our op however, it really has nothing to do with the school, it's about medical licensure. Once I knew a woman who was an MD in Russia but she couldn't practice medicine in the US. In her case her poor English language skills were part of the problem but the biggest component of the problem was that her Soviet medical license did not automatically translate into an American license. Where she went to school was not the issue.
  9. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Well, I have, on two occasions, moved to another country. There are various obstacles involved, not all of which are easy to anticipate and/or mitigate before you actually move. This is all well and good, and both USA and Canada are in fact better, obstacle-wise, than most countries on this globe. Not obstacle-free by any measure, but above the rest. Both are also, in fact, near the top of the list as to "providing better living and future".

    What I find, though, that people tend not to notice obstacles they didn't face. For many, having native-level language proficiency, cultural understanding, local credentials, innate network of contacts and, indeed, near-world-wide travel mobility is "normal". So when an immigrant or potential immigrant does not readily possess these advantages, there must be some fault on his part. Perhaps he failed to "think about where they want to live and then do what is necessary to get themselves there". Or more commonly failed to "integrate", "just learn the language" or to "go get a job". It's very annoying. Next thing you know, this is the popular sentiment, and politicians build policies on rooting out those who "abuse Canadian generosity" (borrowing the phrase from the Harper Government's party line).

    Tell me, why did you feel necessary to say you're "not blaming" ones who want to move? Why do we even need your permission?

    For the record, I know at least half a dozen people with foreign medical degrees. Some do not attempt to get license to practice some are preparing to get one, some had passed their exams and trying to get a residency. Its a tough, tough road. Nevertheless, one guy I know actually teaches in a medical school in States.
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    You seem to be interested in being in a fight. I am not.
  11. JGD

    JGD New Member


    I don't have the time to research and pen a really comprehensive reply, but I can share what i know. I started an earlier thread on UCN, as I'm considering doing a PhD with them and wanted to check their legitimacy. For the record, my eventual conclusion was that they are a legitimate institution whose degrees are valid and useful both inside and outside of Nicaragua.

    I can talk a little about licensure in the UK, if our neck of the woods interests you at all.

    To be eligible for medical licensure in the UK (GMC | The licence to practise), you have to possess a valid medical degree from a school that appears on the Avicenna Directory (Avicenna Directories - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). The Universidad Central de Nicaragua is one of five Nicaraguan universities that appears on this list, so your relative will be eligible to apply for licensure as a medical doctor in the UK (AVICENNA Directory Medicine – University of Copenhagen) provided she completes her degree at UCN. I cannot attach a screenshot for you displaying all five of the acceptable Nicaraguan Universities for some reason, but encourage you to visit the Avicenna Directory and view them for yourself.

    I do not have the time to research other countries, but I very strongly suspect that much of Europe is similar, as Britain tends to follow Europe's lead when it comes to medical licensure. I also know for a fact that UCN degrees are regarded as equivalent in Germany and Austria, although, as I said, I don't know specifically about medical licensure in those countries.

    On a more general note, both I and Novadar have contacted our respective credential evaluation services (NACES members in America, and NARIC in the UK) and in both cases, we have been informed that UCN degrees will be granted full equivalency.

    Hope that helps,

  12. JGD

    JGD New Member

    One additional point:

    The UK's National Health Service is staffed by an unusually high number of immigrants at all levels. If your relative receives a medical doctorate from any school listed in the Avicenna Directory, she will likely be viewed as a potential asset to the country and I imagine immigration authorities will make the process relatively easy for her. Like most of the developed world, the UK has an ageing population, and the number of 'home-grown' medical practitioners is not enough. An MD is very likely to open doors not just to the UK, but to a number of countries in a similar situation.
  13. JGD

    JGD New Member

    Bored at work, so decided to dig a little more. To be eligible for licensure in Canada (Overview of licensure process for IMGs | Medical Council of Canada | Le Conseil médical du Canada) your university and degree title must be listed on the IMED. Universidad Central de Nicaragua is listed with an MD (https://imed.faimer.org/results.asp?country=682&school=&currpage=1&cname=NICARAGUA&city=&region=CA&rname=Central+America%2FCaribbean&psize=25).

    Therefore, another option for your relative, assuming she gets her MD from UCN, is Canada

    I cannot, I'm afraid, comment on the immigration situation in Canada.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    This is all interesting information and it makes me wonder how many students UCN has outside Nicaraguan borders. Just how common is this (not just the MD thing but overall). Has this all just been a relatively well kept secret or is it all relatively new?
  15. JGD

    JGD New Member

    Kizmet, I wonder about that too.

    I don't speak Spanish, so digging into UCN's primary sources was challenging. Luckily, Spanish is easily translatable, and as a result, Google Translate is not too unreliable (compared to, say, Mandarin or Russian).

    The picture I got from UCN's primary sources (their own website in original Spanish, news letters and the like) and some secondary sources (Spanish articles that mention the school, blogs etc) was that UCN is a fairly unremarkable, small, Central American University best known for producing medical doctors and nurses. They have a relatively lengthy history in Nicaragua (since 1998 if I remember correctly) and have chosen to actively participate in the university led call for more rigorous accreditation standards (that said, I'm not sure this initiative ever really got off the ground - but at least they were calling for it).

    I like this picture above, and at the risk of repeating myself, would like to point out that I am probably not managing to be objective. After all, I'm still considering them for a PhD, and that is undeniably going to bias me a little.

    I also can't deny that this at-home picture doesn't quite tally up with some of their English language international marketing and collaboration efforts: mixed in with a couple of legitimate accreditations, they list a false British accreditation agency. And some of their educational partners I find less than thrilling. My assumption is that this disconnect is caused by the outsourcing of these elements to a third party, and that, probably, the people who build the English websites and source international accreditation are not the same people who deal with the actual teaching, and the running of the school at home. But that is conjecture on my part. I honestly don't know how I would ever prove or disprove that.

    The student base is interesting too. I am limited to Google, Linkedin etc. One obvious thing jumps out at me: there are a significant amount of young Nicaraguans on Linkedin who are students at UCN, just like you'd find anywhere. The foreign students tend, like me, to be pursuing higher degrees (sometimes by published work, sometimes by thesis) and I assume, like me, that their attraction to UCN is the combination of widespread acceptance of the degrees and low-cost. As to how many students outside of Nicaragua there are, the numbers seem low. I have found maybe 5 or 6 lecturers at community colleges / liberal arts colleges in America, a couple of medical doctors, also in America, and a handful of high-level industry types (Managing Directors, IT specialists, financial consultants etc) who are mostly (but not exclusively) from the UK and Europe.
  16. JGD

    JGD New Member

    Although it seems like we're missing an obvious trick here. We should be asking questions of the op, not answering them:

    geaddict, can you let us know what the perception of UCN is within Nicaragua? Am I right when I say above that it seems to be perceived as a fairly typical smallish university at home?

    It's worth mentioning that, in another thread, this was the impression given from Koolcypher (himself a Nicaraguan).
  17. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Yes, I believe you are referring to the National Residency Matching Program. Some residencies are also much more difficult to obtain than others. That's one of the reasons why, in New York at least, it isn't uncommon to find entire practices of family practitioners and pediatricians who graduated from medical schools in the Caribbean. As a matter of fact, I went to a gastroenterologist about a year ago and every single one of the six doctors in the practice was 1) U.S. born 2) had a U.S. undergrad degree and 3) had a medical degree from outside the U.S. My doctor had earned his M.D. in Mexico. And one of the others from the practice website earned his M.D. in Algeria.

    So it is clearly possible to land a residency and become licensed with a foreign degree. But the first step to winning a competition is to be allowed to participate.

    Steve pointed out, UCN is not on California's list of approved foreign medical schools. UCN may be perfectly fine for a number of U.S. states or territories. And maybe you can work your way into CA through a reciprocal agreement. But you would need to research which list the other states use. Because if you're not on the state's approved list (be it their own list or if they use a standard published catalog) you won't have to worry about rigorous testing OR finding a residency.
  18. JGD

    JGD New Member

    Despite UCN not appearing on the California list, it certainly is possible to obtain licensure in Cali with a UCN MD. Here are two people who have done it:

    Gilbert J. Cuadra, MD - Los Angeles, California | Insider Pages

    Dr. Keyla Monterrey, Perris, CA Family Doctor

    The Cali list is interesting; of the 40 Nicaraguan Universities, IMED lists 6 as recognised medical schools (note that I'm including each of UNAN's campuses separately, as they have). I wonder what the disparity between the IMED and Cali lists are? IMED is, as I understand it, considered a reputable authority.

    In any case, the requirement, as you suggest, comes down to licensure in another state, and then a matter of time. See here: California Medical License Law: Foreign Medical School Graduates and the California Medical Board

    On a related note, Indiana seems to use the California list, and the requirements for licensure may be similar in that state (speculation on my part).

    While I don't know exactly where-uses-what, I strongly suspect that a number of US states use the IMED list to determine legitimacy (which appears to also be the standard in Europe). According to this link (U. S. Medical Licensing Process | Office of Refugee Resettlement | Administration for Children and Families) the first step to US medical licensure is to determine that your degree comes from a university listed on IMED. Which bodes well for our thread-starters relative, as UCN is present on that list.

    This Wikipedia article may be of some use, although it is laughably non-comprehensive: International medical graduate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This, particularly, jumped out at me: "One-quarter of practicing physicians in the United States are graduates of international medical schools." It seems as though America is generally willing to give doctors a fair go at getting in the country, which, UCN aside, is a definite positive for anyone in the op's relative's position.
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    If you look up Dr. Monterrey in the CA license database it lists her medical school as National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, which does appear on the list of approved schools. It's the same for the other doctor as well.

    I'm going to trust the CA medical board as to these individuals' alma mater over insiderpages.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2015
  20. JGD

    JGD New Member

    Thanks, this is a good find. I had no idea there even was a CA online database.

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