Are D.O.'s at a Disadvantage For Residencies?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Dr JPH, Dec 21, 2000.

  1. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned
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    Is it more difficult for a D.O. student to get a residency spot in a more competitive or "traditionall" allopathic field? How about in any spot? How do they rate? I have heard from people that Allopathic students are selected first, or have a better chance.

    I am just wondering what it's like for D.O.'s to get into areas like Radiology, Trauma Surgery, Emergency Medicine, and things like that.

    Specific numbers or general impressions are both great.

    I am basically looking for an overall picture of the situation.

    Thank you in advance!


    "A risk not taken is a lesson not learned."
     
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  3. alceria

    alceria Senior Member

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    JP, you might want to do a search on this, because I think someone asked this question about a week or two ago, specifically regarding DO's getting into emergency medicine. I believe whoever responded said that about half of ER docs are DOs.

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  4. ewagner

    ewagner Senior Member

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    Well, my suggestion is to get Isserson's Guide to getting a Residency, that gives you about everything you want to know. Regarding EM, well, every candidate must be competitive and work hard regardless of DO or MD status. Plus, you must be able to work in a team atmosphere, no one wants a jerk for a resident. But MD's generally have the leg-up for the most prestegious spots, so my suggestion is to take the USMLE and go your best. Regarding Trauma Surgery, how bout getting a surgical spot first...slow down trigger. I am assuming you are already a medstudent, if not, then you may want to relax a bit...a person's mind may change alot in 4 years.
     
  5. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor

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    I honestly find Iserson's book a little one-sided, but it'll give you a good understanding of the issues and factors all medical students have to consider when choosing residency.

    Anyone else notices he makes EM physicians out to be CT surgeons? [​IMG]

    Anyway in answer to JP's original question: I firmly believe that DOs are only at a disadvantage when they shoot for really, really competitive allopathic spots in the really highly competitive fields (surgical subspecialties) and some not-so-highly-competitive fields (general surgery, medicine, etc.). The good thing DOs have going for them is the option to pursue AOA-sponsored residencies which will get you where you wanna be, but may lack some of the luster of ACGME residencies.

    Despite what another poster suggests, I think it's important for even a student at the premed end of the game to consider all the possible routes before setting out. No one ever takes a road trip without first looking at a map (no one smart, at least). Think about where you want to be in about 10 years and then decide how to get there.

    Good luck.


    Tim of New York City.
     
  6. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member
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    I just have to throw my $.02 in on the whole "half of ER docs are DOs" statement that alceria remembered from another thread. I was perplexed by that statement at the time I read it, and I really think whoever said it must mean that half of DOs become ER docs (and even that seems suspicious), because I've never seen anything close to a 50% DO staff in any ER I've ever worked. EM is getting more & more competitive.
     
  7. reed1192

    reed1192 New Member

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    JP- the man we rent our home from rents primarily to medical students. The student who lived here before us matched into Neuro-surgery in CA. (He is a DO). I think your medical career is essentially what you make of it!
     
  8. jimmybee

    jimmybee Internal Medicine Hospitalist, formerly med/peds

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    In the DO heaven state of Michigan, I have run into a lot of DO's in EM. In the two hospitals that I have worked at (one rural and one in a big city) DO's have accounted for more than half of the physicians on staff in the ER.
     
  9. rf

    rf Junior Member

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    I am a third year IM/EM resident. I interviewed at a few EM residency programs as well. Each time I was told that I would rank highly. I went to MSUCOM and did about the 75%ile. The stats for getting into a residency depend on more than just a random shot of similarly competitive candidates, it depends on greatly if they know you. I interviewed at henry ford hospital and they were trying to recruit me and some of the other guys who did their clerkships there. I was even cornered for surgery there, I graciously refused--thank god.

    With respect to the comment that about half of the ER docs are DOs-- this just isnt true.
    DOs only make up 5% of the entire population of physicians. I will say that there seem to be many DOs in the ER in Detroit. Childrens Hospital EM staff is about 40% DOs
     
  10. unclemagic

    unclemagic Junior Member

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    JP, I know one ER doc who is a DO, and did his residency at Johns-Hopkins (which I'd guess is pretty competitive). He happens to be one of the best physicians I've seen, in terms of clinical skills and his ability to interact well with patients and nurses.

    [This message has been edited by unclemagic (edited 12-26-2000).]
     
  11. I am an M.D. not a D.O., but I thought I might have something to add. The fact is that not many D.O.s apply to the competitive allopathic programs. I didn't seen many applications from D.O.s during my residency. We were inundated with applications from FMGs. My uderstanding is that many qualified DOs choose to do DO surgical residencies, further shrinking the pool of applicants. I can't comment about the quality of these residencies but I'm sure they are fine. They are not as prestigious as UCSF, but who cares? The prestigious residencies tend to take people from prestigious medical schools too. A 4th year from South Carolina, South Dakota, or Howard is not highly recruited after either. Any accredited U.S. residency will teach you what you need to know.
    Lastly, if you are a DO, take the USMLE and do well. It will be easier to compare you to other applicants with the USMLE rather than the DO exam. Consider doing an externship there as well. If you are brilliant, you will shine no matter where you go. When in practice, if you are good, other physicians and patients will know over time. In a way, you are lucky you can apply to both matches. In the end, if you don't match for a surgery spot, it may be the best thing that ever happened to you. ;p
     
  12. docflight2

    docflight2 Junior Member

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    The Medical College of Wisconsin currently has atleast three PGY-1 IM residents, two PGY-1 ER residents, and one PGY-1 OB resident. All are DO's. There are likely more than I have listed, but I have yet to run across them. Good advice on the last post- take the USMLE if you want ultra competitive spots. Most of the time the residency coordinators are unsure what to make of DO applicants. Score well and you'll give them no reason to look elsewhere. Good luck.
     
  13. Jeff Mimbs

    Jeff Mimbs New Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree. It's been my personal experience that if you believe in yourself and your abilities, anything is possible. Don't settle for second best.
     
  14. Jeff,

    Aren't you the chief resident of neurosurgery at UC Davis? Any words of advice for other D.O.s interested in Neurosurgery or another surgical specialty?

    [This message has been edited by drpatel (edited 01-17-2001).]
     
  15. Jeff Mimbs

    Jeff Mimbs New Member

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    Well,

    I would have to say the most important piece of advice I would give anyone interested in a competitive program is to make contact EARLY. Even if your only a 1st or second year student. There are many things you can do no matter what your current level of knowledge or training. However, the most important thing would be to make yourself known and express a genuine interest in your intentions. While fourth year electives are ideally suited to "audition" and show your stuff. I'd even try to make period visits beforehand and make contacts. Of course, the grades and board scores must be there. If you intend on applying to a program heavily involved in clinical and basic science research...well u guys know the rest
     
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  17. bsydnkenz

    bsydnkenz New Member

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    This is an area of discussion where responses will vary with either the successes of particular applicants or the preconceived notions one holds regarding osteopathic physicians.
    Many attitudes regarding osteopathy are based on old notions. Nonetheless, I did a D.O. ortho surgery residency and an M.D. trauma fellowship. I found the responses in either effort were consistent with the whole picture I presented.
    As for the respondant with the USMLE being a better metric of ability, this has been proven invalid. A study by an independent agency was done at the request of the AOA in concert with representation from the NBME found the examinations proved parallel in all areas except one. The NBOME exams included osteopathic principles questions.
    As an aside it used to amaze me at Michigan State how many of the MD students enrolled for elective courses in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Courses.
     
  18. Bsydnkenz, did you do your Ortho trauma fellowship at UC Davis? I heard that there is a DO doing a Trauma Fellowship in the Orthopedic Surgery Department. Are you that person?

    Jeff, out of curiosity, how many DOs, US MDs, and FMGs applied to the Neurosurgery residency at UC Davis this year?
     
  19. spunkydoc

    spunkydoc Senior Member

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    i think any difficulties you will incur when applying for the more competative specialties in the MD world as a DO are purely political...the DO world does NOT make it easy for you to leave the fold...they impose many requirements on you and frankly, it is sometimes logistically difficult for the MD programs to adjust to accomadate you.

    a good example is the DO internship requirement in 5 states---if you are going to do EM, a very competative specialty as well as job market these days, you would have to be financially suicidal to say that you will never ever take a job in at least 3/5 states (mi, pa, fl) bc they are so big.

    anecdotes from michigan are somewhat biased bc there, DOs are well accepted and life is peachier..

    you will be sought after as a DO by MD programs for your work ethic and strong clinical skills..however, programs seeking numbers will tend to shun you--frankly, the DO world does not consistently put out the numbers but we are good clinicians.

    as for the USMLE vs COMLEX--the COMLEX is a crappy exam--poorly written and again reflects the disorganization of the DO world..HOWEVER, it IS a VALID standardized exam that is comprable to the USMLE (proven)...think about this: if an MD program will not accept your COMLEX, will they accept you as a DO and therefore what you stand for and how you were trained? or is that program just too lazy or ignorant to figure out how to interpret the albeit crappy COMLEX?

    another problem is that you need to look at why so many DOs are seeking MD residencies? why dont they just stay in DO residencies? the answer: there are not ENOUGH DO residencies to seat every graduate!! isnt that ludicrous?

    if you want to make yourself competative, do a good job, and you will likely go far..better yet, learn how to work the system, and you will go farthest.

    good luck
     

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