Pros and Cons for MD and DO?

Adapt

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    I would like to focus this response at just the cons of going the MD route.

    First, you don't learn manipulation as DOs do, so you have one less tool to help your patients. There is no distinct philosophy that MDs have whereas there exists one with DOs.

    It is more difficult to get into an MD school because they mostly look at numbers while DO schools at times look past the numbers. Most of the students at MD schools may be gunners so you would be learning in a hostile environment.

    Of course you may look at these as negatives but some may look at these as positives. To be honest I see some positives in all that I said.

    Overall, the two routes balance each other out. There are obvious advantages to going MD which maybe someone else can go into.
     

    Robz

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      Originally posted by BPengMan
      Hi, this is my first time posting here. I was wondering what the pros and cons are for applying to MD and what the pros and cons are for applying to DO. Thanks!

      I'm going to take this for face value and gear it towards the application process vs another MD vs. DO thread which can be found in excess by a search funcion.

      In the application procedures with both AMCAS and AACOMAS are fairly the same. AMCAS gears their GPA a little more different than ACOMAS where DO schools may take the highest grade on a repeated class and MD school will average them. Makes a difference if you went from a D to an A.

      Other than that the application process is the same. Apply with the services. This includes paying the primary fee and getting your personal statement and activities written down on them all. The AACOMAS personal statement section is limited to fewer characters than the AMCAS.

      Then you apply....wait for secondaries and spend out the wazzoo to send the secondaries back with recommendations and paperwork. Most DO schools do require a DO letter of recommendation with the secondary. That may seem like a con but it required you to meet at DO and see what the profession is about.

      Then you pray for an interview.

      The pros & cons of MD application services versus pro & cons of DO application services there was little difference. My biggest bitch is the nonrefundable deposits. Thats the biggest con and its for the osteopathic schools. Like in my case I was accepted to a few schools and I put in a deposit in December by a deadline. I was then selected to another DO school I wanted to go to and I put my deposit in there. I have then forfited my original deposit at my first school. Now I have also applied to my state schools and they are around 15K a year to go to. This is much cheaper than almost all DO schools but they have not given my my final answer yet. My next deposit at NSUCOM is due on Monday. It looks like I am going to wait till Thursday and then Airborne Express that baby so its there by Friday Morning. Its 750 dollars so I wanted to wait to check my mail on Thursday. 750 bucks is still a large sum for a poor graduate student like me.

      Anyway, there arn't too many big pros or cons of either application service. By the end you get to be a pro. Feel free to ask as many questions about it here as you want. That what these boards are for. If you weren't asking about the application services and were asking about MD vs. DO please do a search. There are many many discussions on this topic.
       
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      BPengMan

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        Sorry if I wasn't too specific. What I actually have in mind was, what should one consider when applying to MD and DO. What are the factors for deciding between the two. For example, I know that DO are geared towards primary care. That may be either pro or con, depending on what kind of doctor you want to become. Are there any other factors that one should seriously consider? Thanks again.

        Also, if this too have been answer before, let me know, and I will just try to search for it.
         

        DORoe

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          Alright here is what I know (although it may be limited). There is not much difference in the end result between both tracks. Yes DO's tend to go into primary care more often than their MD counterparts, but I don't think that has anything to do with the education. DO's are able to enter both DO residencies as well as MD residencies and most DO's go into MD slots. MD's are NOT allowed to apply for DO residencies. There are a lot less DO residencies available to you. There are MD's and DO's in every specialty that there is. Yes, a lot of DO schools want to train PC docs but I think that might have something to do with trying to get funding from the state (for state run schools at least). As slickness pointed out it seems that DO schools are more cooperative in nature than MD where many schools are very competetive. In my experience DO schools were more friendly during interviews as well as during visits. They also get back to you regarding your application sooner. No matter what people here might say some places still hold a bit of a prejudice against DO's. I am lucky to live in a very DO friendly state. If you go into DO you will have to explain the profession to many people who may not have ever heard of it before. I personally don't think I will mind doing that. DO's and MD's are equal in all regards except for the learning of OMM which is not used by many DO's. In short DO and MD are exactly the same except when you go DO you might run into more public ignorance about what you do.
           

          Radman

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            First and foremost you need to understand and make an educated decision about what kind of physician you would like to be. One thing I have not seen pointed out here, is that in addition to OMM (manipulation) there is a different approach that D.O.'s take with patient care. D.O.'s tend to look more at the entire person and treat in a more holistic manner. In general, most D.O.'s will tend to treat alternatively vs. pharmacologically. This IS a big difference in the clinical approach. As many have pointed out here, the end result (practicing physician) is the same. But, there are some political differences within the medical community. You need to decide what approach you feel more comfortable with, and go that route. Personal experiences have proven to me that there is often simply a different/alternative approach that has proven to provide relief and answers to patients, where traditional (MD) appraoches had failed them. That being said, I mean no disrepsect to MD's and most of my friends are MD's. But treating the entire person (mind and body) has proven more beneficial in my experience.
             

            s42brown

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              Honestly, I feel that you really don't understand what a DO is. The philosophy describes the way in which a physician approaches the patient and evaluates all that may be wrong with him or her. Once a clinical diagnosis is made the treatment is usually standard. You need to realize that we live in a world where people will sue your pants off if you make a mistake. That means that you treat the patient the best you can using the latest medication and procedures to ensure that the patients gets better quickly. OMM is a great tool to have but it does not take the place of any medication or surgical procedures that your patient might need. Ask some of the practicing D.O.'s on this board if they would take an alternative approach to a patient before trying every standard treatment first.
               

              Radman

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                I think you are narrowing your thought of the alternative verbage I used, or perhaps it came across differently that I intended. I agree with you in the approach being different philisophically. I think the fact that the DO philosophy even considers other factors (mental, structural etc.) as contibuting to a patients illness is alternative to traditinal medicine. Most MD's don't consider any of these and are more likely to just have you take another pill.
                 

                Echinoidea

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                  Originally posted by Radman
                  ...Most MD's don't consider any of these and are more likely to just have you take another pill.

                  That is inflammatory and wrong. This is how these *****ic flame wars begin. MD's are just as capable of providing compassionate care as DO's. We spend way too much time here focusing on the minutiae of our differences while we ignore the vast similarities.

                  To the OP: I only applied to DO schools, specifically because the way that AACOMAS calculates your GPA (another poster mentioned this) is very beneficial to those of us who stumbled the first time we tried college. I had a horrid GPA from a community college, but I took several years off and came back to college. I took almost every class over again, and therefore, to DO schools, my GPA was very competitive. But due to the differences in the way AMCAS calculates your GPA, at allopathic schools, I couldn't even make the cutoff for a secondary.

                  I got an interview at every DO school I sent a secondary to, and got accepted to my 1st choice. I'm very excited to become a DO. Honestly, I wanted to be a doctor first - the initials after my name are tertiary. I suggest you try and shadow a DO and an MD, and see for yourself if there is some huge discrepancy in the way they provide care. A good doc is a good doc, DO or MD. And there are bad apples in both too.

                  Good luck.
                   

                  theringworm

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                    Just FYI, there are some MD residencies or schools that also teach OMM, I can't remember which. Granted there aren't a great number of them, but some places are starting to implement it into their curriculum. I wish I could remember the source of this and which places were doing this but I can't. I read it not to long ago, if I only remembered where. Anyhow, I think Echinoidea stated it best. The only real difference is probably in the app process. DO schools tend to look more at the whole applicant profile pre-interview vs. the MD schools that tend to do some weeding out with numbers pre-interview. Therefore you often get the "stereotype" that DO schools are easier to get into than MD schools. In my opinion this says nothing about the caliber of the student, it's just a difference of approach for accepting applicants. If you need help making up your mind, tour both an MD school and a DO school and see for yourself which you prefer or a DO doc and a MD doc. Whichever you choose you'll get to where you are going. One last thing, if I wanted to be a family doc, I would hands down go to a DO school. Many of them are ranked in the top 20. They are great schools. Just do your homework first. Good luck, and whatever you choose will be what's best for you.
                     

                    sportsmedicjim

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                      I can only speak from experience that I see no diff. in patient diagnosis between the MD and DO. After shadowing 4 DO's...only one used OMT. I also shadowed 4 MD's...there was a slight diff. in patient care.

                      3 of the DO's hated OMT in medical school....thus, they don't use it all.

                      I applied to several DO schools's and was accepted because I wanted to be a DO and I believe in the entire philosophy. I was also accepted to in-state MD programs.

                      The problem is...I do not wish to incur extra debt - 30 K a year for osteopathic schools versus 14k for the MD program.

                      At the MD interviews I told them I wanted to be a DO! They laughed and I received an acceptance letter. I guess they felt sorry for me :)

                      Anyway, I will learn manual medicine (OMT) from the one DO who uses it! I hope to attend seminars and even an OMT fellowship to supplement the rest.

                      Signed,

                      A D.O. in an MD school?

                      sportsmedicjim
                       

                      raspberry swirl

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                        Originally posted by Radman
                        One thing I have not seen pointed out here, is that in addition to OMM (manipulation) there is a different approach that D.O.'s take with patient care. D.O.'s tend to look more at the entire person and treat in a more holistic manner. In general, most D.O.'s will tend to treat alternatively vs. pharmacologically. This IS a big difference in the clinical approach.

                        i'm not going to go as far to say that this statement is wrong, but it gives the impression that DOs run around prescribing yoga and herbs. and that isn't accurate at all. at an allopathic school, you will learn medicine. at an osteopathic school, you will learn medicine and manipulation, (often given in the context of primary care, although certainly not limited to). we most certainly do not use the words holistic or alternative at lecom either. the philosophy of osteopathic medicine more rests in the idea that the body heals itself, and doctors simply aid the process, using whatever means fits the patient best. medicine at an osteopathic school is more about the patient and less about the disease.

                        and to get back to the OPs original question- the only con to applying DO is that you're gonna have to explain yourself a lot. and the only con to applying MD is that you miss out on manipulation and a more integrative approach (which to me was a big reason to chose DO).
                         

                        DORoe

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                          Originally posted by gujuDoc
                          I got a question for you all.


                          I was reading something on one of the post aboves about how the AMCAS calculates GPA, and someone said that if you do bad in a class and then pass, they average out the grade.


                          Does this mean that if you got say a D in a class and then were like .2 points of B when you retook it so got a C, that they take the C and D and average it?????? If it were averaged, wouldn't that mean that according to the school this isn't passing???? What if grade forgiveness was used and mentioned?????? Just asking?????

                          Yes that is what it means. Even if your school has a forgiveness program you have to report the original grade to AMCAS and they will average the two scores. I believe that a D is officially a passing grade though. the DO service takes the better of the 2 scores and uses that to calculate your GPA.
                           
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