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TreeOfLife

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I am a MSIII(DO) --considering postponing my 4th year rotations and instead spending the year gaining more hands-on experience so that I can be better prepared to enter the PM&R field. I thought of maybe working with a Physical Therapist or in a Rehab facility.

Anyone have any leads on this kind of opportunity?

Also, Opinions are solicited in re: whether taking a year to add to my knowledge and experience in PM&R will help when it comes time to apply to programs. I want PD's to see that I am dedicated and serious about practicing PM&R. Unfortunately, my COMLEX 1 board score is below average and my gpa/class rank is average and I don't want to be tossed out just because of that.
 

Stinky Tofu

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Originally posted by TreeOfLife
I am a MSIII(DO) --considering postponing my 4th year rotations and instead spending the year gaining more hands-on experience so that I can be better prepared to enter the PM&R field. I thought of maybe working with a Physical Therapist or in a Rehab facility.

Anyone have any leads on this kind of opportunity?

Also, Opinions are solicited in re: whether taking a year to add to my knowledge and experience in PM&R will help when it comes time to apply to programs. I want PD's to see that I am dedicated and serious about practicing PM&R. Unfortunately, my COMLEX 1 board score is below average and my gpa/class rank is average and I don't want to be tossed out just because of that.

Take a year off if that's something you want to do, but don't take a year off yet because you fear you won't match. Did you edit your post? I thought I remember you stating that you had gotten high marks on all of your clinical rotations. I think this will partially make up for your score on the COMLEX.

Spending a year working with a PT will not help you at all. You mentioned an OMT fellowship before and this would probably be looked upon more favorably at certain programs. Personally, I think you should just apply and try to get a spot. Plan only on doing something else if you don't match. Do a fellowship if you want to do it, but if you want to make yourself more attractive, there are other things you can do without adding another year of training to your life.

At this point, you still have time. As you mentioned previously, your goal should be a solid mid-tier program. If I were you, I'd definitely rotate through at least two different programs that you want to match at. If you see an opportunity to help out with a research project or poster, you should take advantage of it. At Harvard, we have medical students rotate here just spending a month working on a research project and I'm sure other places have the same opportunities. You should consider going to the AAPM&R meeting in October too. Spend some money getting a good PM&R handbook or textbook and read them before your rotations. If you know which service you will be on, be familiar with the key articles in that specialty. Send me a PM and I can give you a list of articles and books to consider buying. During your rotation, offer to do a morning report or present an article at journal club.
 

drvlad2004

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Working with a PT won't help your application at all. Physiatrists do not perform that same work as a PT. It does help knowing and seeing what a PT does in order to write prescription. The same goes for OT, speech & swallow, recreational therapy, etc. I would focus on showcasing yourself on your PM&R electives. You'll have some time to see what PT/OT/ST/RT does during your electives.

Pertaining to OMM fellowships, I thought that you have to do the OMM fellowship starting in your third year of med school and you end up graduating in 5 years. At least that is how most DO med schools have it. The OMM fellowship is more for your personal benefit. In terms of MSK rehab, the OMM fellowship will you help you a lot. In other areas of rehab (i.e. TBI, SCI, stroke) OMM skills may not help you. OMM is a great adjunct in PM&R. However, it appears that having completed an OMM fellowship will slightly help your application. 2 graduates from my school, who were OMM fellows, got into Spaulding. However, they were also fantastic students and had other attributes that a program like Spaulding desired. Hence, do the OMM fellowships if that is what you want. Some programs like that a lot. Other programs don't care.

I still don't think most PM&R programs look at grades as their priority in choosing an applicant. They look for people who fit well into this field. I find physiatrist to be very personable physicians. They look for students who have the qualities they deem fit for their program.

Do your PM&R electives early and get solid LORs. My PM&R LORs helped me a lot. PM&R is a very small field that every seems to know each other. If you can, try to do a research elective in PM&R.

Good luck!
 
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Whirly

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Tree-

I did an OMM Fellowship and applied to PM&R residencies this year. OMM Fellow selection and program structure vary according to which school you go to. For instance, at my school, fellows are selected during their second year and take a year off between their third and fourth year of school. Some schools spread out the fellowship across years 3-5. Some schools don't have fellows. If you can still get into a fellowship, I recommend it if you want to solidify your skills.

I would not take a year off just to make yourself more attractive to programs. Study hard for step 2 of the boards to show improvement, do a couple of PM&R rotations at programs you think you want to go to and work your butt off. Make sure the specialty is what you want to do.

Get good letters of recommendations. The letter programs mentioned the most at my interviews was not my great PM&R letters but a great letter I got from an orthopedic surgeon. So do well on rotations in closely associated fields if your school allows them.

I feel the fellowship helped me some, but I didn't have trouble getting interviews with average board scores and gpa.

Other things that might help:
Get your ERAS application in early. You can add letters of rec later.
Apply and set up your PM&R rotations at any big name programs now. They may not give you notice right away, but you will be at the top of the list to get the dates of your choice.


Good luck!
 

axm397

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I agree with all of the above posts. Like you, I had below average USMLE StepI, average step II, and below average grades my first two years. I did do a lot better my third year and did two away PM&R electives and an acting internship in PM&R at my school my fourth year. I also got honors in my Neurology acting internship (a related field). Other related rotations would include ortho, rheum, sports medicine, and maybe cards. (there's a thread about this topic)

I started planning for fourth year around February of third year. I would request certain attendings at your PM&R electives if you know of any "name" in the field to secure good LORs. I made it so my first PM&R away elective would give me a broad exposure to the field. (did P&O, TBI, Ortho, Stroke, Wheelchair clinic, EMGs, Pain, and accupuncture) then, I used the second rotation to go a little more in depth - did two weeks of TBI and two weeks of SCI. I would say two weeks is the minimum to spend with one attending to get a LOR. Of course, a month would be better. (if you have an interest in one aspect of the field of PM&R, by all means, do a rotation at an institution known for that subspecialty. If you already know which programs you like, do an away elective at a "reach" program.)

i also sought out the one physiatrist on staff at my school and started working on a small research project. (case report) I had also gotten two publications (just abstracts and posters) in the field of pain managment through my Anesthesiology department.

I also spent a pretty good time and effort on my personal statement - which many PDs and interviewers commented on as one of the best they had read. (just be honest and concise.)

So the bottom line - it is not too late to start working on ways to fortify your application. I really would not take a year off unless you really want to do an OMM fellowship. If it is only to make your application stronger, there are other ways.

-work on your personal statement now - think of the things that make you different and emphasize your committment and dedication to the field of PM&R. It also would help to get a few physiatrists to read your statement.

-find a research project. it can be really small but just having that on your CV helps. - publication would be a plus but it's probably too late for that.

-look for mentors and letter writers. I got three PM&R letters and one medicine letter. PM&R is a small field and the PDs will most likely know the letter writer or the institution you rotated through.

-do well on those away rotations and get good evals - make copies of those evals if your school doesn't include them in the dean's letter. Take them with you to interviews - just in case.

-I don't know much about the COMLEX but I took Step II early (july of my fourth year) to make up for my mediocre step I score.

-get your application in early - mine was about a month or two late - and I think I missed out on a couple interviews because of that. That is my one regret.

-make contacts. the fact that you are on this forum asking for advice is a great start. Catch a PM&R resident, buy him/her coffee and pick their brains. It's worth the few bucks. :) I also went to the AAPMR conference and talked to a lot of residents. It is a great way of getting a "feel" of the field but if it is too expensive, it may be better to save your $$ for interviews.

-go on more interviews than you think you should. I went on 12 and ranked 10 programs. I think 6-10 is a good number. Some of the interviews were a waste of my time. If you do electives and you get the impression that they like you and you really want to go there, you may even be able to cut the number down to 5.

If you are sincere about your interest in PM&R (i.e. it's not your "back-up" plan) and you are energetic and passionate, I think it will more than make up for your grades. Most PDs did not ask me about my grades or board scores. They talked about my personal statement, my LORs, my activities, my electives in PM&R, and my research. And try to be optimistic and positive - that will take you far. Good luck!

hope this didn't come off like a lecture. Just passing on what I learned from my own experience. Like they say, "if it doesn't apply, let it fly!!". take it with a grain of salt.



p.s. - hi Whirley!! Nice to see you on the forum! :love:
 

Dr JPH

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Just a comment on OMM Fellows:

3 of the 4 senior OMM Fellows from PCOM last year went into PM&R.

Of the current senior fellows, I guess we will find out in a week or so.

As a MSII who is selected into the Fellowship program for next year, this is encouraging.
 

TreeOfLife

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JPHazelton, Whirly, DrVlad, axm397 and Stinky Tofu--

I can't thank you all enough for your responses. I have had an overwhelming amount of feedback as to my taking a year off to get more experience. Everyone says, "don't do it!"

It looks like I'm just going to go for it. I have a great P,M&R rotation set-up for Apr/May and will try to get another one for Aug/Sept as well. I'll put faith in my LOR's, my personal statement and interview rather than on my grades and board scores.

Again, thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I'll keep ya posted.

Tree of Life
 

Finally M3

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Just to add to axm's remarks;

Apply to a lot of programs...my regret is that I probably didn't apply to enough of them. (7)

It sounds like you'll be fine. :)
 

jack straw

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i too completed a year-long OMM fellowship. it was a great experience, allowed me to cement my manual skills, my anatomy knowledge, and gave me another year in the clinic to continue to polish the ole practical application of said skills. do not, however, spend a year in a fellowship simply because you think that it will improve your application for pm&r (or any residency) and your competitiveness. i subscribe to the school of thought that you should be experiencing things because you have a true and genuine interest in doing so. don?t live your days doing things with the hopes that it will help you with something else in the future. if your sole reason for the doing a fellowship is the hope of getting more interviews come that time i think that you will likely regret it. 12 months is short in the long run, but a bear to endure if you don?t enjoy what you are doing.

i had smack-dab-just-below-average gpa for my first two years. minimally-above-average part I scores, and horrendously poor part II scores (in comparison to my part I). clinicals went well, and i had excellent letters from both those in pm&r and several other fields. most importantly, i think, i have a genuine interest in rehab and was able to express that in my application and my interviews (hopefully). my impression is that this is what they are looking for more so than stellar numbers. #'s mean little when working with your patients. did the fellowship help me during the application/interview process? i don?t have any idea. i am certain that it didn?t hurt. it was a topic of discussion in every interview i sat through, but it was never mentioned how much it came into play when looking me over.

cheers
 

lj1230

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I am currently applyin to medical school (MD). I am very interested in PM&R. I would also like to be able to do a OMM fellowship. However, I was wondering if it is a disadvantage to go to an MD school, or will you be able to learn the OMM techniques during a fellowship. I have been very interested in PM&R for quite some time, but I would like to go to Wayne State which is a MD school. If you guys could give me any tips I would appreciate it!
Thanks
 

melancholy

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Just curious how 5th year OMM Fellows did with the match this year in case anyone would be willing to share. If you matched, I probably saw you at one time or another in the Nugget down in the casino or bar. :D
 

melancholy

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Drusso,
Your name is well-recognized to lots of aspiring DO's. A random student I was talking to actually referred to you! One of our old fellows, Eric Watson, is also at Mayo right now... I believe he is a PGY-2.
 
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