KatieJune

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What do you guys think they are looking for in the physician (DO or MD) letter or rec? I'm concerned because the MD writing a letter for me hasn't seen me with patients, but only in a research capacity. I do have health care experience, just not with doctors and I've tried contacting DOs, but they don't want me to shadow them. Mainly, I just want to send in my application....will this LOR hurt me a lot? Thanks!
 

tkim

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My guess is that the criteria for an excellent physician LOR contains:

1) Personal observation of you working with patients and treating them well.

2) A belief that you fully understand the hardships, commitment, sacrifices you will make when entering medicine.

3) A belief that you can handle the rigors of medical school.

4) For DO's, an understanding and belief in the osteopathic philosophy of medicine.

That being said, if you cannot get a DO LOR, then certainly you should go with the MD letter. That letter would be best if it either specifically mentions the above things, or by some other analogy, endorse your application to med school.

In your particular case, since your interaction with the MD is through research, perhaps emphasizing dedication to the research project, attention to detail, working long hours to make sure the job's done right, will be apt analogies. Scrupulous honestly in the reported data. Working well in a team. Perhaps even a demonstration of your knowledge of how your research will fit into the 'big picture' of heath care, medicine, or science in general.


- Tae
 

maysqrd

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My LOR was from an MD and I got accepted at TUCOM with it. Some schools are really stingy about the LOR coming from a DO and others just "preferr" it. My letter demonstrated, the physician knew me well and on a some what personal level, my clinical experience AND their support for me to go to medical school. The letters need to say "I strongly support John Doe's decicion to go to medical school.....etc., etc." Other than that I had nurse's write LOR's because I worked with them directly with the patients and they could really describe my clinical experience and patient interactions on a detailed basis.

What ever you do, do not let it keep you from applying. There is a DO school out there that will accept you with an MD LOR, especially if the MD knows that you are applying to an osteopathic school and is willing to write the letter to the school on your behalf!
 
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DrMom

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Originally posted by tkim6599
My guess is that the criteria for an excellent physician LOR contains:

1) Personal observation of you working with patients and treating them well.
tkim's other advice was right on, but I have to disagree with the above point. I don't know of a school that expects you to have had experience working with patients, let alone having that included in your LOR.

Ideally, though, the Dr writing your letter should make some statement about how they believe you would work well with patients (in their opinion). The bigger point is that you are competent to complete med school and they believe that you have characteristics that would make you a good Dr.
 

tkim

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Originally posted by DrMom
tkim's other advice was right on, but I have to disagree with the above point. I don't know of a school that expects you to have had experience working with patients, let alone having that included in your LOR.

Ideally, though, the Dr writing your letter should make some statement about how they believe you would work well with patients (in their opinion). The bigger point is that you are competent to complete med school and they believe that you have characteristics that would make you a good Dr.
You make some good points, DrMom!

When I wrote that, I had in mind someone who perhaps did volunteer work at a hospital, and had the opportunity of being observed by the letter writer in that capacity.

It dovetails quite nicely with the expectation that most applicants have some hands-on experience in medicine or health care, where they can decide if this is what they want, and for people observing them that they would make good docs.

- Tae
 
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