For those who had a choice

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by Fermata, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Fermata

    Fermata Hold me.
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    For those with acceptances to DO and MD schools, why did you choose DO?

    This is a serious question because I can't help but wonder why the vast majority of DO's I've come in contact with are so much friendlier than MD's on the whole.
     
  2. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Maybe because there are fewer of them?

    Anyway, your evidence is anecdotal. My experience has been the opposite. I've come into contact with two DOs who've taught us and they've both been terrible (rude with students and horrible teachers). My friend has also been in contact with a DO who practiced some sort of herbal therapy and who refused to let my friend shadow him... unless he signed a contract and provided proof of malpractice insurance. My friend just wanted to shadow him for an hour for God's sakes!

    My point is you can't make a conclusion with the type of people you come across. I wouldn't make a conclusion about DOs in general based on the few DOs I've come in contact with and you shouldn't make conclusions about MDs either based on your experiences.
     
  3. Fermata

    Fermata Hold me.
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    Of course it's anecdotal. Hence why I mentioned it was from my personal experience. However, it seems to me that DO schools tend to attract a certain type of personality far more than MD schools do. Exactly what it is, I don't know.
     
  4. azcomdiddy

    azcomdiddy Senior Member
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    Even though, you shouldn't make generalizations, you can't help doing so. Judging by your tone, you don't share the general impression that DO's are more approachable and personable than MD's. That is based on your firsthand experience and I respect that. In my experience, nearly every DO I spoke with was very down to earth and approachable.

    I think it depends on the field as well. Nearly every primary care MD I met was pretty down to earth. But the MD surgeons, and radiologists were just a$$holes.
     
  5. coreyw

    coreyw Senior Member
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    I'd also be interested to here if there's any substance to this.

    I have anecdotal reports from nurses in Australia suggesting that the medical faculty at the University of Newcastle (north of Sydney) produces graduates who display a noticably 'nicer' (ie. more respectful, less arrogant) attitude towards their patients and towards nursing staff than graduates of the more established schools (such as Uni Melbourne or Sydney). UN has a rather progressive approach to medical training that sounds remarkably like that of osteopathic training in the States (minus the OMM and obscenely large fees!). For starters, students are selected as much for their non-academic altruistic bent as for their academic performance, are taught in a 'problem-solving' clinical environment from day one, etc.

    Before we get on to whether DOs are 'nicer' than MDs... can I ask: Is there anything in student selection and training that *might* predispose DO schools spitting out doctors with better bedside manners...? Are there MD schools that produce 'nicer' doctors than others? If so, what makes the difference?
     
  6. SM-UCLA tech

    SM-UCLA tech CCOM MS4 soon OB/Gyn PGY1
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    the choice was a lot easier than I originally thought it would be.
    being from southern california, I didn't know very many DO's and really didn't know anything about osteopathic medicine.

    first of all, let me tell you that there really isn't much difference.

    I did end up getting into both allo and osteo schools. I chose DO because I felt at home here. And now that I'm here, I know I've made the right choice.

    In the end, I really feel that wherever you go, whether it be MD or DO, it won't make that much of a difference. The biggest concern about going DO is with pre-med students, and I was at one point there with you. But now that I'm in school, have done clinical days in hospitals and clinics, etc.....I know that I have nothing to worry about come residency time, and post-residency.

    My advice is to go with where you feel most comfortable. I can assure you that anywhere you end up, you will enjoy it. Although you will definitely work your butt off!
     
  7. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    DO schools have more older students with better manners (it's true--anyone who has had job interviews and had to work with lots of different types of people has had to learn some social skills along the way) and life experience. Also, they get a lot more people interested in primary care, who seem to be drawn to the field because they genuinely enjoy working with the public and have good people skills.
     
  8. PublicHealth

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    DOs ARE nicer than MDs. Here is an article that proves it (Note: The lead author is an MD):

    J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2003 Jul;103(7):313-8.

    Do osteopathic physicians differ in patient interaction from allopathic physicians? An empirically derived approach.

    Carey TS, Motyka TM, Garrett JM, Keller RB.

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, USA. [email protected]

    Colleges of osteopathic medicine teach osteopathic principles, which provide a different approach to and interaction with patients than principles taught in allopathic medical schools. The authors examined whether osteopathic primary care physicians' interactions with patients reflect the principles of osteopathic medicine when compared with allopathic physicians' interactions. The principles of osteopathic medicine were adapted to elements that could be measured from an audio recording. This 26-item index was refined with two focus groups of practicing osteopathic physicians. Fifty-four patient visits to 11 osteopathic and 7 allopathic primary care physicians in Maine for screening physicals, headache, low back pain, and hypertension were recorded on audiotape and were dual-abstracted. When the 26-item index of osteopathic principles was summed, the osteopathic physicians had consistently higher scores (11 vs. 6.9; P = .01) than allopathic physicians, and visit length was similar (22 minutes vs. 20 minutes, respectively). Twenty-three of the 26 items were used more commonly by the osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic physicians were more likely than allopathic physicians to use patients' first names; explain etiologic factors to patients; and discuss social, family, and emotional impact of illnesses. In this study, osteopathic physicians were easily distinguishable from allopathic physicians by their verbal interactions with patients. Future studies should replicate this finding as well as determine whether it correlates with patient outcomes and satisfaction.
     
  9. r90t

    r90t Senior Member
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    I would agree that it part of it is the average age of the entering class. Ours was 26-27. People either had worked in a different career, were in master's programs or doing various other things before starting med school. This leads to a more mature class, which a jacka$$ stands out, and learns better social skills. This is unravelled in certain residencies when the stressed residents through instuments, swear at nurses and generally hate patients.

    Also, an allopathic program may be more attractive to a heavy research oriented applicant. These people sometimes don't have the best social skills after being pent up in a lab for several years.
     
  10. cdreed

    cdreed Senior Member
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    As a DO student with MD acceptances, I can say that I chose DO for a variety of reasons... The program I chose is quite relaxed. I love the location. I like my classmates. I couldn't ask for more.

    I also chose DO so that I could learn OMM. I will be a military physician, and OMM will definitely benefit patients presenting with musculoskeletal dysfunction.

    Ultimately though, you will have to decide for yourself where you'll be most comfortable. And do consider your personal comfort and ease of mind when choosing. Med school can be difficult at times- you will have a much better time if school is the only stressor in your life.
     
  11. Fermata

    Fermata Hold me.
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    Thanks for all the replies. :D
     
  12. ajgoins

    ajgoins Junior Member
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    I chose DO b/c at the time it was cheaper to go to a private out of state DO school than my in-state MD school, and the DO school was a little closer to the grad school my fiance was at. Neither is the case now though. My advice, go to the cheapest school that you feel comfortable at and save yourself the post-school debt.

    I don't see the purpose or wisdom of making blanket statements about which degree fosters "nicer" doctors. We don't go to med school to get a part in Patch Adams 2; we go b/c of a desire to be competent physicians. The fact is most MD's specialize, which inherently cultivates a more competative attitude b/c it's tougher to match to those specialities. Most DO's go into primary care, where your personality has a big impact on the success of your practice. I'm sure you'll find plenty of a-hole DO's and plenty of "nice" MD's so it's best not to get into this tit-for-tat debate on who's nicer b/c it shouldn't be what you base your medical education on.
     
  13. coreyw

    coreyw Senior Member
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    True enough. But I would like to know what in student selection and training leads to a) the generalisations here, there and everywhere about DOs, and b) the results of studies comparing DO-patient and MD-patient encounters (above).
     
  14. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Quoting studies isn't going to settle the argument. Wasn't there a study a while back that showed DOs were sued on average more than MDs? Can we say DOs are incompetent as compared to MDs? Or does this study also show that DOs are not well-liked by their patients? (I say this because it has been shown time and time again that those who have a good rapport with their patients are sued LESS without much regard to their actual competency.) See my point? Generalizing will just get you into trouble.

    BTW, just because someone is older doesn't mean they'll be "better" doctors.
     
  15. (nicedream)

    (nicedream) Fitter Happier
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    I think the generalizations that exist about DO's being "nicer" etc. comes from people trying to separate osteopathic medicine from allopathic medicine in ways other than OMT and emphasis on primary care. The AOA loves to talk about DO's using the "whole person approach" etc. As far as studies such as the one above, I don't think they hold any water.
     
  16. coreyw

    coreyw Senior Member
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    Let's look at this from a different angle for a spell...

    If you wanted to learn medicine with an emphasis on the whole-person and a conservative, preventative approach, and you didn't want to learn OMM, where would you study?
     
  17. r90t

    r90t Senior Member
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    I'd argue the age factor to a degree.

    A man/woman who has a spouse/child and a previous job, likely has had more life experiences that someone coming out of undergrad. Also, he/she had to work while getting into med school. More interactions with people in a professional atmosphere than on a college campus will likely lead to a decent bedside manner. The childbeater/spousal abuser, however, probably will not be liked by patients.

    I have worked with mostly allopaths and they, as a whole, are a bunch of decent guys. The general surgeons are the most tempermental, followed by cardiologists, IMO.
     
  18. sophiejane

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    Who said anything about "better" doctors? I said older students generally have better manners (i.e. better, more refined social skills). I never would assume someone would be a better doctor in general based on the age they enter medical school.
     
  19. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member
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    Even that's a bit of a stretch. I know some young people who have just as good as manners as older people and that would go for med students as well. As I myself am young, I think I have as good enough social skills as people a bit older than me.

    I mean really, you're comparing the average DO student of 27 to the average MD student of 24. Once you get into the mid twenties, three years won't make that much of a difference in social skills.

    There has to be a reason other than age.
     
  20. bigdreamer#1

    bigdreamer#1 I'm ok, your ok!!!
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    I think it's an interesting idea that corey pointed out above.

    What if you agree with the approach and general philosophy of osteopathic medicine, specifically the "patient centered" part of an osteopathic education...not considering the OMM aspect?

    I think that my interest in attending an osteopathic institution stems from being turned on to the idea that medicine is approached from the perspective of considering the whole person. Further, I feel that a physician is a better physician in caring for patients when he/she considers all aspects of the health of the patient when diagnosing/treating patients.

    OMM seems to be an valuble additional treatment option, but to me it is only an additional feature of osteopathy and not the bases of why I am choosing D.O.

    I feel that what attracts me to osteopathy is the philosophical approach to how we want to treat patients, how the total health of the patient is what we want to address...ie, mentally, spiritual (not to mean religious neccesarily), and physically.

    Maybe it is this very notion and philisophical approach to medicine that osteopathic schools are able to transfer effectively to students throughout thier medical education, which in turn may produce more caring, people-oriented professionals. Also, perhaps individuals already of a like-mind, in regard to the philosophy, like me, are drawn to osteopathy, where they will be surronded by people who agree with how patients will be approached and treated.

    I make no statements at all about the personal attitudes of most practicing MD's or DO's. But, I don't think it is a far stretch to see why on average, DO's are pleasant, people-oriented individuals.

    Note: this is not an argument, just a thought and my personal reasoning to want to go the DO route.
     
  21. (nicedream)

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    The OP asked about possible reasons for her experience that DO's seem to be more friendly overall than MD's.

    I'm going to throw this argument out there to spur some discussion - I am not saying I necessarily feel this way.

    It's a fact that most people that wind up going to DO schools did so because, in the end, they did not get into MD schools. I'm not saying that they regret that they didn't get into MD schools, or that MD schools are preferrable at all - but it's a simple fact. It's a fact that students accepted into DO schools have somewhat lower average GPA's and MCAT scores. The numbers certainly are not low, but they are lower than average MD numbers. It's a fact that DO school admission committees attach more weight to factors other than numbers when considering candidates - life experience, volunteer experience etc.

    I believe that it could be correctly stated that most students going the DO route do not put the priority on grades that future MD's do. The lower numbers indicate time spent on other interests and activities. Most of these activities are likely social in nature, or at least involve more social interaction than studying and lab work. It could be argued then that DO's are, on the whole, friendlier than MD's because of the two professionals' inherent natures. Those going the DO route are more social in nature and less competetive, while those going the MD route are competetive overachievers.

    Of course there are exceptions to everything. Plenty of people did their absolute best at achieving the highest grades possible and still did not have the numbers necessary for MD admission and became DO's - could it be said that such people, while overachievers, are also cognizant of people's limits, and are thus more empathetic, caring individuals? Maybe that's a stretch. I will say, however, that I have heard plenty of MD's and future MD's talk disparagingly, often in caustic terms, about other people's abilities - I have never heard a DO or future DO engage in such verbal attack.

    Others still had the numbers to be accepted into MD schools, and were in fact accepted, but chose a DO school. There are many reasons why this choice may be made, too many to go into here - but these are the exception rather than the rule.

    Again, I'm not making this argument, these are just some possible ideas I'm offering for discussion.
     
  22. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Yes, but this implies that just because one has high grades, one does not have the life experiences, volunteering etc. You take the average class at Hopkins and Harvard and I'll bet you that each and everyone has not only high GPAs and MCATs (I'm not saying that these indicators make good doctors) BUT they also have the volunteering and the life experiences that DO schools value. I would be willing to bet that they even have experiences that go above and beyond the students at the "best" DO schools. I knew a girl who got into Harvard and Hopkins who not only had a 4.0 and a 40 on the MCAT but she was the president of our student union, did medical missions in Africa, published several papers in biochemistry and is the most down to earth girl you'd ever meet. Now, yes, there are exceptions to this. Schools like Wash U and Duke focus more on numbers and research. It's a fact, but my point is you can't lump all MDs together and say, "They are less compassionate because they have an MD behind their name." And yes there are schools like Howard which have GPAs and MCAT scores lower than the average DO school. But these cater to a specific community, much like how DO schools cater to mostly primary care medicine. Thus, my point again, not all MD schools are the same. Each has a different mission and each school attracts different types of students.

    And the argument that the osteopathic philosophy is unique is bogus. At our school, we have mandatory classes on preventive med, on professionalism, on ethics, seminars on viewing the patient as a "whole", heck we even have elective seminars on yoga, tai chi, oriental medicine, etc. To say that DOs have a monopoly on the "holistic" philosophy is being very ignorant.
     
  23. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member
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    I would say that this is true to some extent although most people may not want to hear it. :thumbup:
     
  24. (nicedream)

    (nicedream) Fitter Happier
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    Certainly, but I'm not talking about Harvard and Hopkins. I would venture to say that not once in history did a student go DO over ivy league MD. The people you are talking about are outliers of society. I'm more referring to students who attend the average MD school.
     
  25. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Yeah but outliers or not they are still students of MD schools.
     
  26. Globus P

    Globus P Senior Member
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    My lab partner was accepted to George Washington and turned it down to come to AZCOM. Not your average MD school....

    Consider some students simply wanted to go DO over MD, for all the reasons stated above.

    This ongoing arguement, point and counter point (to which I just participated in) is very pre-med. Who cares why folks chose to go DO over MD. It doesn't matter. We're all in medical school, getting a great medical education, and we'll all be doctors.

    Please let this dead horse die.
     
  27. (nicedream)

    (nicedream) Fitter Happier
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    As I said, there are exceptions. This last part of the discussion was not about why people choose DO/MD, it was about the concept of DO's being "friendlier" than MD's in general. This is a concept worth exploring, and is hardly pre-med - it pertains to the profession at all levels.
     
  28. PublicHealth

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    I have heard that DOs seem to be "nicer" because they feel lucky to be physicians. Apparently, they also tend to work harder than MDs, which is attractive to lower tier allopathic residency programs. DOs get an allo residency, allo residency gets hard-working residents. Not a bad trade off.

    Someone should conduct a study that systematically investigates the differences between MDs and DOs. Such a study will likely involve hundreds of variables and a lengthy regression equation, but if conducted well, could confirm or refute some of the assertions made by people on these forums, the American Osteopathic Association, and physicians in the community.

    People above indicated that a lot of the research on differences between osteopathic and allopathic physicians does not hold water. But why argue with anecdotes when you can argue with data? Here is some more research to chew on. This study was conducted by people at Harvard Medical School and published in one of the most prestigious journals of internal medicine:

    J Gen Intern Med. 1999 Dec;14(12):730-9.

    Comparison of osteopathic and allopathic medical Schools' support for primary care.

    Peters AS, Clark-Chiarelli N, Block SD.

    Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

    OBJECTIVE: To contrast prevailing behaviors and attitudes relative to primary care education and practice in osteopathic and allopathic medical schools. DESIGN: Descriptive study using confidential telephone interviews conducted in 1993-94. Analyses compared responses of osteopaths and allopaths, controlling for primary care orientation. SETTING: United States academic health centers. PARTICIPANTS: National stratified probability samples of first-year and fourth-year medical students, postgraduate year 2 residents, and clinical faculty in osteopathic and allopathic medical schools, a sample of allopathic deans, and a census of deans of osteopathic schools (n = 457 osteopaths; n = 2,045 allopaths). MEASUREMENTS: Survey items assessed personal characteristics, students' reasons for entering medicine, learners' primary care educational experiences, community support for primary care, and attitudes toward the clinical and academic competence of primary care physicians. MAIN RESULTS: Primary care physicians composed a larger fraction of the faculty in osteopathic schools than in allopathic schools. Members of the osteopathic community were significantly more likely than their allopathic peers to describe themselves as socioemotionally oriented rather than technoscientifically oriented. Osteopathic learners were more likely than allopathic learners to have educational experiences in primary care venues and with primary care faculty, and to receive encouragement from faculty, including specialists, to enter primary care. Attitudes toward the clinical and academic competence of primary care physicians were consistently negative in both communities. Differences between communities were sustained after controlling for primary care orientation. CONCLUSIONS: In comparison with allopathic schools, the cultural practices and educational structures in osteopathic medical schools better support the production of primary care physicians. However, there is a lack of alignment between attitudes and practices in the osteopathic community.
     
  29. PACtoDOC

    PACtoDOC 1K Member
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    This thread is out of control. I am a DO student because I wanted to learn manip and use it on my terms to help make people feel better when before all I had to help them with MS issues was Motrin and PT.

    This whole DO "patient centered" "whole person" "treating not just symptoms but people" is all hogwash. There are many MD schools who train their students to think this exact way, and I think this has and will continue to be the standard for both degrees.

    Here is the real reason DO's tend to be a bit more humble than your average MD. When a population has a history of being oppressed, they typically go the extra mile to fit in and show that they are capable and qualified to do what they do. How many of you have heard this same argument about PA's and NP's? I have heard many a patient say that they love to see the PA because they are so down to earth, not stuck on themselves, and spend more time with them. Of all providers, PA's know they have to go the extra mile to be credible, and by virtue of a similar oppression and being the minority physician, DO's do the same thing.

    But I am sure that there are many an arrogant and uncompassionate DO just like there are MD's. But I take exception that there is any true osteopathic philosophy any longer. The only difference now between a DO and an MD's medical education is the extra manip and diagnostic palpatory skills. In my entire 1st two years at a DO school I have not once heard a PhD lecturer teach anything based on osteopathic philosophy, nor have I heard a clinician lecturer teach osteopathic philosophy other than one OB/GYN doc. MD and DO programs each emphasize preventive medicine and there is no longer any real difference except for manip.

    Lets stop alienating ourselves from our MD colleagues by saying that they treat symptoms while we treat patients. This is offensive to them and makes us look like flakes.
     

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