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Frustrations with stigma...please advise...need encouragement!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by sicwitit4040, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. sicwitit4040

    sicwitit4040 Junior Member
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    i have been accepted to a DO program and am waiting to hear from MD programs. To me, DO school is a great opportunity and I would be (think I would be) perfectly content because I know I would be a physician in the end. HOWEVER, the stigma associated with DO is unnerving. I used to think that it wasnt bad, and not a big deal, but I was at a christmas party last weekend and had two separate conversations that showed me otherwise:

    1st conversation:
    I told a woman I got accepted to a DO school. She proceeded to tell me that she would never go to a DO "ever again" because her mom's doc was a DO and didnt do anything about some symptom that ended up leading to her death, etc. Beyond the true facts of the story (that is beside the point), its frustrating as hell having this conversation when i am considering entering DO school.

    2nd conversation:
    random person: So you got into a REAL medical school, right?

    me: yea, i did. (its a DO school, and i didnt tell her this, thinking she would not care/know the difference)

    random person: Oh, thats awesome, because i have a friend that got into this thing called "DO" and it sounds like such a sham! Its like totally not real med school and seems like a load of ****.

    me: (smile, and look at my girlfriend and know that we are gonna laugh about this later)

    I defended DO school to this person with calmness and patience, despite her ignorance, and she ended up admitting she did not understand what it was before.

    My point is that it is hard to come to terms with having to justify my career regularly to those who don't understand it. Its very frustrating, especially having thought that the "stigma" was no big deal, until i dealt with it first hand and realized its real. I guess it’s hard to want a career that calls for regular justification of myself to appear valid. ??

    Comments? Words of Wisdom? Questions?
     
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  3. packerfan

    packerfan Member
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    Everything is what you make of it. There is a good amount on here about this subject. Do well and you will get where you want to go.
     
  4. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    Interesting. And I have people where I am telling me that I should apply *only* to DO schools because they would NEVER go to an MD. In my mind (and I stated this on my applications), a good doc is a good doc no matter what alphabet they have after their name. Just having "MD" after your name doesn't make you a good doctor.
     
  5. daveyjwin

    daveyjwin Senior Member
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    Well, I had the oppisite experience at a wedding I went to a few weeks ago. I was talking to one of the family friends that I haven't seen in probably about 5 years, and told him that I was going to Medical school. He asked me DO or MD, and I started to get geared up to explain about DOs.

    I told him DO, and he went all into how he thinks DOs are the best, and his doctor is a DO, and how it's a shame they are looked down upon, and how he's soooo happy I am going to be a DO. We had like a 30 minuet conversation on how great DOs were.

    -------------

    My brother makes fun of me for going to a DO school, because it's not a "real" medical school (he went to UofM Law), but he just does it cause he knows it annoys me. Then I tell him to quit being a jerkoff and punch him. It's fun.

    -------------

    My parents (neither of which graduated college) are rather ambivilant about the MD/DO difference. I told my Dad that I got into med school, and he said, so should I start calling you Dave, M.D. I said actually I'll be a DO, but it's pretty much the same thing. He says "I'll still get to tell people my son is a Doctor, right?" and I said "you bet!" and he was just like "OK Doctor Dave."

    -------------

    Those are just a few of my experiences. I haven't had anyone give me a truely hard time about it.
     
  6. superseif

    superseif Member
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    Hey I'm sick of the stigma as well.. I still haven't decided, but I got 5 MD interviews to this point, but I still wanna go to DO school. I feel like I'm gonna learn a lot more!
     
  7. PlasticMan

    PlasticMan Senior Member
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    Being a DO can be what distinguishes you from the rest of the medical community. Sometimes there is confusion in the favor of DO also, though while not the majority of the confusion, it does exist. My coworker recently had this conversation with me:

    Co-worker: "So. _____, I mentioned that my friend wants to become a DO to my sister-in-law this weekend. She has been a nurse for several years."

    me: "And what did she say?"

    co-worker: "She thought DO's were MD's with extra training in musculo-skeletal stuff."

    me: "Really? She didn't know it is actually a separate medical school and different degree?"

    co-worker: "Nope. She was suprised when I told her that!"

    That sounds like DO's made a pretty good impression on her ;)
     
  8. Sundarban1

    Sundarban1 Devil in disguise
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    No one here can help you with emotional issues, inferiority complexes, etc. Please seek professional help.
     
  9. westnile

    westnile Junior Member
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    :thumbup:
     
  10. sicwitit4040

    sicwitit4040 Junior Member
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    i think people that try to pick fights on on-line pre-med forums should "seek professional help." get a life homey.

    FYI...i pop my collar like its my job! :D
     
  11. letmein!please?

    letmein!please? Senior Member
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    Thats cold! Anyway, he's kind of seeking professional help, pre-professional that is. :laugh:

    I think its a valid concern, given the conversations he has had. No one wants to work their ass off for something that is disrespected and looked down on. But a doctor is a doctor, your medical competence will speak for itself.
     
  12. bkpa2med

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    To the OP:

    DO=MD. As soon as you really understand that and hold your head up as an MD people will think otherwise. Be a good doctor, who gives a s**t about the title. Last I heard both are Doctors of Medicine. And, DO is Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, not Osteopathy. Maybe you can explain that to ignorant people. Tell them that DO's make more money and see what they say lol
     
  13. Stratus2675

    Stratus2675 Bronx Bomber
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    Ive heard only good things about DO's from those who i talk to. The comment I always hear is "Oh, my doctor is an osteopath and he is amazing!!!!"

    Its the snotty premeds who have the problem with DO. And they will learn soon enough
     
  14. laboholic

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    Unfortunately, I think the low number of practicing DOs can explain some of these negative patient views of the profession. When a patient doesnt like what a physician does, and the doctor is a DO, the patient associates their dislike with the DO degree. On the other hand, when a patient dislikes something an MD does, the patient is more likely to dislike the doctor as a person and not attribute it to their degree. I think this has to do with the fact that only 5% of physicians are DOs, and many patients do not know another DO to compare to...therefore it is more likely to get generalized.

    But, this can be a good thing (if the pt has a good experience with a DO, then they may generalize this to the profession too)
     
  15. jbone

    jbone Herro!
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    I think the stigma really comes from the pre-med/type A/no pube population. To be honest, I don't give a rats a$$ what they think. :thumbdown: Make fun of me when I'm cashing my fat checks biotches. Anyway, the whole thing is pretty lame. If it bothers you, then go MD. If not, then go doctor. For me, I'm going to go to the best school possible. Period. MD or DO. It's a personal thing. :)
     
  16. USArmyDoc

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    Honestly, I just nod and laugh. Who the **** cares!! I see the match lists and they are very impressive.
     
  17. Beau Geste

    Beau Geste yah mo b there
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    For as many MDs that look down on DOs are MDs that support them. My mom is an MD and considers the DO the same thing as the DMD vs. DDS labels.

    I agree with jbone. Those that put down the DO track are just looking to be mean.
     
  18. dr.z

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Exactly!
     
  19. letmein!please?

    letmein!please? Senior Member
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    I didn't know DO's make more than MD's, is this true?
     
  20. medhacker

    medhacker We can end world poverty!
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    [​IMG]
     
  21. bkpa2med

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    lol, THEY MAKE THE SAME AMOUNT! LOL

    I just said that and I bet you people would change their mind. Ignorant people equate wealth with intelligence when it comes to doctors.
     
  22. ragda26

    ragda26 Senior Member
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    go shadow a DO and you will see all docs work to help PATIENTS. and are physicians to each other, NOT MD AND DO.

    no one will call you by an MD or a DO because you will be busy treating pateints, which is far greater than worrying abt what your coat reads.

    if you dont apply to a DO school, dont worry, there are plenty of students who will be ready to take our spot easily.

    the demand is there! DO=MD plus slight diff..but dont get everyone started.

    SHADOW A DO!!!!!!!!!
     
  23. guv_garfunkel

    guv_garfunkel guv_garfunkel
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    When someone goes to a DO and has a bad experience they blame it on the whole DO profession, which is crazy. The person makes the doctor, not the initials behind the name. People who put down DO or MD are just ignorant. In my experience, the only people who really care about the difference between the two are premed students. Every doctor I've ever talked to considers DOs equal to MDs. We're all going to be working toward the same goals and getting paid the same so who cares?
     
  24. Beau Geste

    Beau Geste yah mo b there
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    ** Cartman voice ** Seriously you guys....
     
  25. Sundarban1

    Sundarban1 Devil in disguise
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    Really, insecurity is your issue. The people here are proud and perfectly fine with becoming a DO. Take the advice of one of the above posters and go shadow a DO. You will see that in the "real world" doctors are judged by quality of their work, not by their title.

    Just don't go with a popped collar, its not professional.
     
  26. bkpa2med

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    Good words from a wise man.
     
  27. NewNick

    NewNick COMP 2010
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    I understand your stigma. I used to take a lot of time to think about it before I stick with Osteopathy. If I'm not mistaken, most of DO schools emphasize that they focus on preventive and primary care. Just look at this, we should know DO schools don't try to make you a specialist (of course, you can be if you want). If your goal is to be a primary doctor, then it doesn't matter. If I catch a cough, headache, or stomachache, does it matter who gives me prescription ? A good doctor is the one who care about my health. I shadow for 2 doctors, MD and DO. Surprisingly, the MD encourages me to go for DO if I got accepted because he saw great DOs. His chief residency was a DO. He told me that MD and DO are the same. When I asked him about people prejudice for DO, he said that a doctor is not like a shopping material. It is about words of mouth. People don't drive around and pick MD or DO. Now, lets face the fact that most of MD school accept students with higher numbers. OK, fine, they are smarter than me for a moment. Does it gaurantee those MD students to turn out great doctors ? If you want to be a specialist in a very competitive field, then rock the Board exam. If you are a MD, and just make enough to pass the Board, then don't even dream about being a specialist. If you really believe that you are going to be a great Neuro surgeon in John Hopskins, then going to MD may make the path less harder, but don't think that it would be a lot easier. You must be top rate. If you believe you're top rate then wait and try MCAT again to prove it. If somehow you made some mistakes in your life and you really have a passion to be a doctor, DO opens the gate for you. So start over, and prove it to yourself.

    So it all come down what you want to be and how hard work that you want to spend to accomplish whatever you want to be. Regard to other people viewing about you, don't give a **** about it. Do you want to be a great doctor or fame ?

    Good luck, my friend.
     
  28. Old_Mil

    Old_Mil Senior Member
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    I tell people that I am in "medical school" and leave it at that. Unless you intend to specialize in OMT, your career will be just like that of an MD in your speciality. I have more than my the normal share of MDs in my family and they are quite comfortable referring to and/or being treated by DOs. It's a bigger deal at the pre-med and med student stage than it is "out there."

    And if you run across a patient or two that is judging you based on the paper on your wall instead of your real life skills, perhaps that's not a patient that you want in your practice to begin with.
     
  29. rahulazcom

    rahulazcom Senior Member
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    My experiences have been good as well. I was seeing a physician in Memphis, TN. I don't know how many of you know this but the University of Tennessee medical school and it's associated residencies and hospitals are located in Memphis. So there is little to no osteopathic influence in the area. However, my physician was like: "Oh, you're a DO. Hey, there is nothing wrong with going DO any longer. Have you experienced any bias or discrimination? We have several DO residents at UT and they are excellent physicians. I don't really sense that bias like I did about 15 years ago."

    With every ignorant person, you can do one of two things

    1. You can get offended and tell that person off only to reinforce his or her negative stereotype of DO's and the osteopathic physician.

    2. You can educate them and see each person as a potential future patient and change peoples perceptions of osteopathic physicians to a positive one. It's really not that difficult to do. Have patience and try to empathize with them. Hey all of us were at a point in our lives in which we didn't know what a DO was either? Everyone has to start somewhere in regards to understanding what a DO is.

    I still believe in the goodness of people. Call me naive but I think people deep down want to judge people on their character and personality as opposed to their initials. If you are a great physician and popular among your patients, office staff and fellow physicians in the community, it's not going to matter what your initials are.

    My mother and father are physicians who were trained in India who still have accents. They practice in a conservative area of the country in which people are not that open-minded about foreigners. They are two of the most popular physicians in the town. My dad is a hoot and patients love him. He makes them laugh and people respect that. My mother is known for being a "mom" type of physician in which she isn't afraid to be a mom and yell at a patient for not adhering to treatment. The funny thing is people love that in my mom too and she isn't accepting any more new patients because her practice is full. People could have easily discriminated against my parents for being foreign doctors trained in a foreign country. So you can see that it all comes down to your personality and how you relate to patients and not your degree.
     
  30. Beau Geste

    Beau Geste yah mo b there
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    Well said.
     
  31. DblHelix

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    We can't blame most people for being skeptical of the DO profession. Most judge due to a lack of experience. Without exposure to the DO field people develop a mental heuristic that states "what is M.D. is good." This heuristic is an automatic process that any time they see a non-MD healthcare provider they simply classify it as "what is not M.D. is a quack." Thus, looking at the initials is a quick, easy and functional way for an unknowledgable patient to identify if they are getting quality care. To combat this automatic process, one needs to engage them, calmly and intelligently, in a controlled process that requires them to reasses their heuristic.

    The whole point of my rant is that looking at the initials is natural to do at first but most have the ability and openness to accept a good doctor no matter who they are.

    By the way, I'm a psych major if you couldn't tell...gotta love that psych mumbo jumbo :laugh:
     
  32. jbone

    jbone Herro!
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    We could tell. Nice post. :thumbup:
     
  33. letmein!please?

    letmein!please? Senior Member
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    me too, but I'm also a psych major. Now, would that be the representativeness or availability heuristic? :laugh:
     
  34. WestcoastMedicine

    WestcoastMedicine Senior Member
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    What part of the country do you live in? This may have a huge affect because I am from NJ where there are a decent number of DOs practicing. If you live in North Dakota, it may be a bit more greek to them. People who are ignorant can get defensive about what they do not know.
     
  35. fullefect1

    fullefect1 Senior Member
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    From the one DO that I know... he is an orthopedic, and I don't think anyone quetions his degree when they see his 3 million dollar house and some of his very very nice cars.
     
  36. Nate

    Nate Missing
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  37. DiverDoc

    DiverDoc KCUMB 2012
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    ^^^^ WHAM; that solves it all
     
  38. cmeshy

    cmeshy Member
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    To those parents and the ignorant folks. A DO or MD will be known and introduced as his or her profession/trade. In other words you will be a general practitioner, cardiologist, oncologist, internist. You get the point and so does everyone else (especially patients). Physicians are not introduced or recognized or referred to as being an MD or DO, they will be known as their trade defines them. "Yes Jane, my son is a pathologist." Tell your parents that, and tell them to just say you are in medical school. Of course if you plan on focusing on OMM, then you ARE a true Osteopath and can be recognized as a DO and should be proud. More less-mainstream medicine is catching on very fast as a growing population ages and wants to be less dependent on medications. We as new physicians (DOs) need to prove the validity of our aptitudes and show that we are equal and that OMM and our philosophy have their benefits. Do research and get published. That is the only way to turn the dominion of the political machine that is the AMA. Good luck to all, especially those at DMU. And for the original post and those who worry about this kind of trash talk, get off SDN and do your homework. (I guess that means me but can't stand to look at another hamiltonian operator function in p chem) These forums are adicting and also a big headache.
     
  39. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    In my area, where there are a few but not a great number of DO's, they have a very good reputation. In primary care many people here prefer the DO's because of either a real or perceived difference in the way the DO's interact with patients. Perhaps this is a bias in DO's favor... I know many MD's that are extremely personable, but there is no denying that when you ask the average person who they'd rather see as family practice or ped for their children they prefer to go to one of the DO's.

    There are very few DO specialists here (can only think of one, but I'm sure there are others), but at that level people don't care or seem to know about whether their doc is a DO or MD. All they are concerned with is his/her reputation as a good surgeon/cardiologist/etc.

    My only concern with DO schools is the possibility that it might make some specialties more difficult to enter. Fortunately, I'm most interested in ortho, which is a strong suit for DO's as they have many DO ortho residencies, but if I don't cut the mustard for that specialty I do wonder about where else in the DO/MD residency world I might land.
     
  40. Christofurrr

    Christofurrr Junior Member
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    Like another poster said, perceptions about DO's differ in different areas. I live in the Bay Area, Cali, and DO's are very few and far between here. My mom is a CCU and ICU nurse and has never heard of a DO and kept pushing me to wait a year and apply MD. No matter how i would explain the DO profession to her, her perception remained the same. It wasn't until i asked my sister, a RN in Chicago, to explain to my mom what exactly a DO was, did she understand. My sister told my mom that "she liked the DO's at her hospital a lot more than the @hole MDs". My mom hasn't given me trouble since then.
    I was also concerned about the whole "DO" stigma, but i have a feeling that in time it will be gone. DOs are getting more exposure in California and in the country and DO schools are opening up every year. With increased exposure to DOs there will be greater acceptance of the field. Everyone is afraid of something they don't know, and people are quick to bring you down, no matter what field you go into. The world is full of critics. Let them drink their haterade, you'll be doing exactly what you've dreamed of doing and that's all that matters.
     
  41. heech

    heech Senior Member
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