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Explaining what's a D.O

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by girldr, Jun 24, 2002.

  1. girldr

    girldr Junior Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Hi, I'm about to enter school this fall & when I tell friends I'm going to a D.O. school, I often have to explain what osteopathy is. Most of them think it is similar to a chirpractor/homeopathic doctor. I explain that it is similar to the MD degree, except you also learn manipulation. But usually all i get is a funny look b/c they don't seem too conviced. Can anyone give me a short explaination of what the D.O degree means to them? Thanx!!!
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  3. thirdangel

    thirdangel Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2002
    Hi! I tell people that it is very similar to a MD - in that they both have similar schooling, except the attitude toward patients is different -treating the patient, not just symptoms - and that they learn Osteopathic Manipulative Technique - hands on treatment that promotes the body's ability to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. I also mention that it was developed by a A.T. Still who was an MD, so they really believe that DO's are real doctors.

    An alternative is saying that DO's are like MD's with extra training and a different approach to patients. That's definately not correct, but I've heard it before.
  4. Careofme

    Careofme Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Planet Earth
    ...or perhaps you should say (and this HAS been mentioned somewhere else) that MDs are DO's without OMM....


  5. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000
    I have to disagree with what has been said thus of it at least.

    One person said "except the attitude towards patients is different."

    I find that to be untrue, as your attitude towards a patient is based on what kind of person you are, not what kind of degree you possess.

    I tell people this:

    Osteopathic Medicine developed in the late 1800's when "modern medicine" wasn't all too advanced and many people were frustrated with the treatment options. This guy came along and developed a system of medicine that relied on manual manipulative treatments in order to preserve and correct the bodies natural structural alignment as a method of treating and "curing" some diseases and conditions. Although early on osteopathic medicine relied solely on these types of treatment modalities, it quickly incorporated a modern medicine model, in many ways preserving the fundamental is was founded on being "structure preserves function". Now, osteopathic physicians practice in all areas of medicine working along side MDs. They can (in many cases) sit for the same boards, train in the same residency programs, and hold the same or equivalent administrative positions. Many DOs choose not to use the skill of OMT in their practices, but some still do. Nonetheless, all osteopathic physicians will learn the basis of these treatments and techniques while in school.

    That's basically what I tell people. I don't get into "MD + OMM" or "look at patients in a more holistic manner" because that is not always the case. There are MDs with a far more holistic or "patient friendly" approach to patients than a great number of DOs. (see my quote below for what "patient friendly" may mean)

    So, again, don't try to put one above the other, because it just turns into a pissing contest between DO students and MD students (or, more often, DO premeds and MD premeds).

    Rather, focus on the premise upon which osteopathic medicine was founded and the way it has evolved into an all-encompassing system that it is now.

    Good luck.

    PS: Where will you be attending school next year?
  6. I say this:

    "If an MD is Microsoft Windows,a DO is Macintosh."

    They seem satisfied with this anology.
  7. oceandocDO

    oceandocDO Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 14, 2002
    If you're talking to someone with no idea what a D.O. is, Ask them what kind of dentist they go to, a D.M.D. or a D.D.S.? When they dont know, say it's kind of the same thing.

    If you're talking to someone with a slim idea of science or medicine, say it's basically it's MD + the best aspects of physical therapy and chiropractic. Not necessarily true, but true enough for a conversation in a bar or at a grocery store.

    I heard a good analogy on here once that stuck: Getting a DO vs an MD degree is kind of like buying an Acura or a Honda, both nice cars, both similarly priced, both will get you from point A to point B in reasonable style. In either car, it's what you do once you're behind the wheel that determines the next step... ie, where you go and how you get there is up to you.

    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> Drivers wanted.
  8. AYLC

    AYLC Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 7, 2001
    K'ville, MO
    I like the computer analogy, but it's kinda funny. Microsoft Windows is a operation system and Macintosh is the mechaine. Windows vs. Unix (both are O/S) or PC vs. Macintosh probably is the better analogy. :)
  9. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member


    Sorry to quibble, but MacIntosh is also an OS like Windows. Infact, Windows is modeled after the MacIntosh OS.

    I, too, like the analogy.
  10. Fenrezz

    Fenrezz AT Stills Worst Nightmare 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Ft. Tulsadale
    I like that dentist reference. Think I'll use that next time. Hell I don't even know what the difference between DMD and DDS is. Isn't it the exact same thing except one degree is given out west, the other on the east coast? That's what someone told me one time, but he was an idiot so it's probably wrong. :D
  11. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    In grad school one of my professors was a retired dentist who had earned a DDS & then his school decided to offer DMDs. They contacted all of the grads and *gave* them DMS for a small fee.

    I asked him about the difference. He said there was no difference, just depended on how each school labeled their degree.

    BTW: he paid the fee to get the DMD.

    Also, this dentist's name was Dr. Root. I still snicker at that!
  12. DJay

    DJay Member 7+ Year Member

    May 30, 2002
    Buffalo NY
    couldn't agree more with that computer analogy!
    very clever!!!
    MD to DO,,,
    MS to Mac...

    finally I can explain it others in one sentence! <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
  13. apgar7

    apgar7 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2002
    Pomona CA
    Most people want a brief, practical, and general explanation on what a DO is. So, although you can spend time talking about the history of osteopathy and its philosophical tenets, this can be somewhat exhaustive to the casual inquirer. Usually I'll say that "DO's are medical doctors with extra training in muscle and skeletal problems." This of course is an incomplete answer, but it is nevertheless a true answer. If the inquirer wants a deeper answer, then I'll go into the history and details of osteopathy such as JP has given. Most people are content with a short explanation though.

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