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Podiatry vs traditional MD school

Discussion in 'Podiatry Students' started by marshalney, Jan 15, 2010.

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  1. marshalney

    marshalney

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    Hey,

    I was hoping to get some more info about podiatry.

    A) I'm curious to know in terms of workload, stress level, and format, how do podiatry schools compare to medical schools. I know it's kind of a difficult question to answer b/c it's unlikely that anyone would have experience in both, but what have you heard/experienced when it comes to the academics, the first four years, and the ensuing residency of the Podiatary route?

    B) I've seen online GPA/MCAT score averages for Podiatric schools, but the numbers were a little out of date. One source said that the mean GPA/MCAT was 3.1/21. With US medical schools getting increasingly competative, I'm wondering whether this trend extends to Podiatric schools as well. I was wondering if anyone would volunteer their stats (not necessarily just GPA/MCAT) or any advice or info they have on the admissions process.

    C) How much autonomy does a Podiatrist have compared to an MD or Nurse? It seems like Podiatrists are like foot/ankle-specializing doctors, with little difference in their educational structure or level of autonomy within their specialty. Is this true?

    Thanks guys.
  2. sorham

    sorham

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    I'm just pre-podiatry, but I have been accepted and will be attending podiatry school in August, here is what I have found to answer your questions, but Podiatry students are welcome to correct me.

    A)In terms of difficulty it is comparable to MD or DO schools, in fact a few, including DMU where I will be going, study along side DO students for the first two years you take almost all the same classes as the DO students, with a few exceptions.

    B)From what I have found the stats you gave are about right, they have maybe raised a little bit from there and they say they will be more competitive over the next few years. I have a 3.6 and got a 28 on MCAT.

    C)A Podiatrist is the expert on lower limb foot and ankle problems. They do surgeries and treat every ailment of the foot and ankle. There are differences depending on the residency you get into, some are limited to the forefoot, but if you get into better residencies you can work on the forefoot and ankle. You are in control as a podiatrist, you do not need any other doctor looking over your shoulder, you write your own prescriptions etc. As a podiatrist you are a physician, your specialty is just the foot and ankle.

    Again any student or resident etc. can correct me in any place I may be wrong, hope this helps.
  3. janV88

    janV88

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    I am also just a pre-pod who will be attending podiatry school this coming fall so take what I say with a grain of salt. I am just telling you what I have heard from others and various information I have gathered myself.

    The pre-clinical years will be similar to med school. As sorham mentioned a few podiatry schools take a lot of the same classes side by side with DO students. At the school I will be attending, Scholl, and many of the other podiatry schools, many of the faculty come teach from med schools. At Scholl many of the faculty are shared with Chicago Medical School...part of the same university...not the taught side by side because of schedule conflicts tho. But the consensus is that the workload, etc. are similar. As far as the curriculum goes, there is less focus on mental, occular, genital healthcare and more focus on the foot and ankle.

    In the clinical years podiatry schools spend a lot of time in podiatry rotations at the expense of other specialties such as optho, psych, gyn. Pod students will rotate in gen surg, ortho, IM, EM. Depending on the facility, the education might be a little watered down...but I assume that most attendings/residents will be too busy to figure out if your a pod student or med student...they will just care if you know your info or not. And from my understanding most pod schools dont take the shelf exams. (I believe westernu, azpod, and maybe dmu take the same shelf exams as med students but I could be mistaken).

    I have heard that the stats are increasing. The major reason why standards are so low is because of the small applicant pool. I am willing to bet that as more and more pre-meds find out about podiatry, more will apply, and stats will increase.

    Podiatrists are pretty much completely autonomous. In some states and hospitals, podiatrists are not allowed admitting privelages so they will need to have someone from medicine or anesthesia to admit. Podiatrists also have full prescription rights...as long as it deals with the foot and ankle. They do not need an MD/DO to sign off on anything.

    In the real world the scope of practice is not really much of an issue. A podiatrist is limited by the state's scope of practice laws but an MD/DO is also limited by their training...residency, fellowship, etc. Much like a dermatologist will not diagnose diabetes...neither will a podiatrist.

    As you stated...Podiatrists are foot/ankle specializing doctors.
  4. PADPM

    PADPM

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    Just a quick correction to "sorham's" post.

    Although the training of podiatric residents does presently vary, fortunately there is a movement for parity. And there are certainly programs with more intensive training regarding rearfoot reconstructive and ankle procedures, but I don't know of any programs where a resident is limited to ONLY "forefoot" procedures. Although there are some programs where a resident may not be exposed to a full spectrum of rearfoot reconstructive procedures, trauma cases, etc., I believe it's safe to say that all programs will involve some rearfoot training.
  5. spo01

    spo01 Member

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    A) One of my closest friends here attended a United States allopathic medical school for 2 years before transferring to podiatry school. He felt the MD school was harder.

    My workout partner attended an Osteopathic medical school for 2 years before transferring here. He felt podiatry school was harder.

    Another friend I have attended a United States allopathic school for 1.5 years before transferring to a podiatry school. She felt they were about the same in terms of difficulty (some classes were harder and others were easier).

    B) Stats are a little higher than that. Yes, they are gradually increasing.

    C) Philosophically speaking, what really is autonomy? Realistically speaking, you will always be someone elses b*tch as there are always positions of higher authority whether you are an MD, DPM, or DO. Relatively speaking, you will have autonomy. Generally speaking, nursing does not have the autonomy. Of all the fields, we are the foot and ankle experts and to excel and be an expert at anything in life is as good as it gets.
  6. dropfoot

    dropfoot

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    OP
    I think this does a pretty good job of summing up your question.:thumbup:
  7. sorham

    sorham

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    My bad, but what I meant is that after some of the residency programs, although you may get some exposure to rear foot and ankle procedures, you cannot practice on rear foot and ankle when you are done... is that incorrect? For instance you can't do ankle reconstruction surgeries after every residency? I may not understand how it works, I guess I'll learn more about it at school as I decide which programs to apply to in a few years.
  8. handoverfist77

    handoverfist77 Spiral out. Keep going.

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    I have several friends who are in allopathic schools. From my experience comparing my tests to their tests, md seems to be harder. I don't study nearly as much as my friends. And from what I've heard the 2 year residency programs don't touch anything rearfoot.
  9. PADPM

    PADPM

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    handoverfist,

    Sorry, you've heard wrong.

    I perform surgery at several hospitals. Some have very strong programs and some not so strong. Although some are converting to 3 year programs, even those that are presently 2 year DO perform rearfoot procedures, although they may not be complicated.

    I know that for a fact, since I've personally performed rearfoot procedures at these programs, and I've interviewed docs that have graduated 2 year programs for positions in our office and I've seen their surgical logs.

    Just because you've performed a 2 year program, does not mean you can never perform a rearfoot case in private practice for the rest of your career. That's myth.

    You will obtain surgical privileges at a hospital/surgical center based on your past experience which as a graduating resident will most likely be consistent with your surgical log. You can also "earn" privileges by assisting other doctors or being observed on cases to obtain those privileges.

    It depends on the hospital, and naturally it is a case by case basis. But there is no "blanket" statement that all 2 year programs are limited to only forefoot surgery. That's simply inaccurate.
  10. sorham

    sorham

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    Thanks PADPM, I did not know that, I had thought all two year programs were only forefoot, that's good to know that you can still get experience on the rearfoot as well!
  11. PADPM

    PADPM

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    It's similar to the misconception that the ABPS has a certification in "forefoot" surgery. It does NOT.

    There is certification in FOOT surgery and certification in reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery (RRA). Many candidates that "sit" for the foot examination have submitted rearfoot cases and are experienced with rearfoot, they may not have submitted RECONSTRUCTIVE rearfoot/ankle cases.

    Unfortunately there is a dichotomy in our profession, and a misunderstanding regarding our training. Originally, the ABPS was simply a board that offered certification in "foot & ankle" surgery. There was then a change that grandfathered in those already boarded, and a delineation was created for board certification in "foot surgery" and then certification in "RRA".

    It allowed for those with more intensive training to have that recognition, while at the same time allowing those that had earlier training to still be able to obtain some level of certification.

    The only real "negative" is that those outside our profession are often left scratching their heads, since we still don't have a true "standard". And on top of that, a lot of unrecognized boards (boards not approved by the APMA) started popping up for those that did not want to sit for the intensive and challenging ABPS exam. That confused hospitals and credentialling committees, because no one knew which board was "legitimate".

    The ABPS is the gold standard in my opinion, and the delineation will probably someday be eliminated when all the new grads have 3 year programs and have RRA training. Someday there will probably no longer be the need for the "foot" certification. But that's years away.

    Our profession still has to address those who do not want to spend their careers performing surgery and want to stick to the "roots" of podiatric medicine and provide non surgical care. But that's a whole different discussion!

    But the bottom line is that there is presently a diversity among residency programs. Even among 3 year programs. I'm sure that there are some 2 year programs that get very little exposure to any rearfoot procedures, and I know of some that get significant exposure. It really is program dependent.

    For those that don't get adequate training in their programs, there are preceptorships, fellowships, etc., to obtain post-residency training.

    If you want to learn, there is always an avenue available.
  12. marshalney

    marshalney

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    sorry it's taken so long for me to get back to you but this info is gold.

    Thanks!
  13. MaseratiGT

    MaseratiGT Legilimens!

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    Question - If a pod wanted to practice primary medicine, they could be certified by the ABPOPPM and become a fellow of ACFAOM, correct?

    If someone does this, does this exclude them from performing sx? What are the differences when it comes to privileges?

    I've never got a clear cut answer, but maybe there isn't one...?
  14. AttackNME

    AttackNME

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    1st year tuspm just started 2nd semester with lower anatomy and biochem. Here's some random info for ya'll.

    http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/4297/cimg9346u.jpg

    I have a friend at Temple med school, and although i haven't compared classes, I do know that we take the same classes they do, and are taught by the same teachers. The teachers even use the same powerpoint lectures. One thing to note tho is that embryology is not in the podiatry board exams, and so the embryo lecture series has a single exam that count towards the general anatomy grade. I failed that test knowing I didn't need to care about it so I didn't study, but did well enough in anatomy to pass comfortably. By the way, next week (february) is when a decision is made in arizona about the board exams for podiatry school and will effect students 2 years from now. With every course you take, the teachers keep in mind that they are talking to foot/ankle specialists, so naturally some things they skim through and while some other things they hammer hard.

    Podiatrists can prescribe anything, literally. With autonomy, we have more freedom than an MD, because as a specialist, as long as we're dealing with something below the knees, we don't need to make referals because we have to treat everything and do the surgery ourselves (unless it's an obviously complicated foot surgery beyond your training and tahts where you can refer them to another podiatrist :)

    I shadowed a neurologist so I'll compare this to them. The only thing a neurologist does is figure out whats wrong with the nervous system of his patient, and refer him to someone else to fix it. All he does is diagnose.
  15. janV88

    janV88

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    I know this is sort of off topic but can you elaborate on the decision in Arizona? I tried doing a search but came up with nothing.
  16. MaseratiGT

    MaseratiGT Legilimens!

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    2nd year courses @ TUSPM are not the same as the MD school. MD students take their courses in system blocks, from their 1st day, and don't get the individual subjects blocked out into a specific time. Everything is closer to the dental school program than the medical school. However, there isn't anything wrong with that. We're both training to be specialists from the beginning.

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