srivatarun

5+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2010
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Washington, DC
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Medical Student
Hi Everyone,
So I was all set to start applying for the 2011 matriculating class, when I realize now that most DO schools REQUIRE an LOR from a DO? What's the deal with this, is there any way around it? And if not, I have generated the list of DO's off of AOA's website, and will start contacting them. However, what do I even do when I get in touch with them? What are the schools expecting from a DO LOR? Am I supposed to shadow them? Any help would be awesome.
Thanks!
Tarun
 

Cheshyre

Hooray Bikes!
5+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
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Le Mitten.
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Medical Student
However, what do I even do when I get in touch with them? What are the schools expecting from a DO LOR? Am I supposed to shadow them? Any help would be awesome.
Okay, so, you want a DO LOR. In order to get one, the DO has to be able to attest to your maturity, knowledge of the medical field, personality, etc, etc. That can only be done if they spend time with you through (surprise!) shadowing.

Shadowing is pretty common. Find a DO near you who does what you want to see (I suggest primary care... places like ERs may have docs too busy to really talk to you).

How much shadowing is enough? I have no idea. I was told 160 hours and ended up spending a whole month, full time, at a primary care clinic with an MD and a DO (which was awesome, by the way). I've heard that as little as one week is fine. You can also shadow at different docs, so keep that in mind. I would suggest to shadow full time, even if only for a few days, to get a sense of immersion. I don't think you can get the complete picture by only going one day a week for a few hours.

When you shadow, be on your best behavior. Be polite, courteous, and respectful. Show up on time, show up looking professional, show up attentive and ready to ask questions. Don't be cocky - in all likelihood, you won't know anything. If you act like a person who is intelligent and interested in the field, more than likely the doc you're shadowing will see you as a person who is a serious candidate. By extension, you'll be someone they would be willing to write a letter for.

Remember that it's not all about the letter. You're also there to see the field and learn about what it's like to be a doc. This is serious business with massive wads of cash involved and you don't want to find out you hate medicine halfway through school. Pro tip: this ain't Grey's Anatomy or House. There is a lot to learn about what goes on outside of patient encounters or even about what patients are doing outside of the medical office environment. Pay attention to everybody working there instead of just the doc you're shadowing. They probably have been there for a while and know what's going on.

Afterwards, follow up on the docs. They just babysat you for a week for free and deserve a thank you letter at the least. If you established a relationship with them, I'm sure they'd appreciate knowing how their shadow is doing in the world. As for yourself, follow up on topics of interest. Insurance? Social factors? Ethics? Heart disease risk factors? There are mountains and mountains of books out there for you to read that will help you develop as a serious medical school candidate.
 

srivatarun

5+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2010
80
0
91
Washington, DC
Status
Medical Student
Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for the responses! I greatly appreciate the help, it was awesome of you all to take the time to give me some meaningful insight.

I will contact all the DO's I can in the area and see who lets me watch them! I am a non traditional who just spent two years away from my first career (I was a biomedical engineer) to apply to medical schools, which is why I got a little steamy the other day when I realized I had missed out on one of the requirements. But I'm glad it's salvageable before apps are due! Hopefully I can get in a good month or two by June.

Thanks again!
Tarun