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PT to MD transition

vmcDPT

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    Hi All,

    This is a post for anyone who has transitioned from PT to MD, or is currently thinking about it. I'm a 2nd year DPT student at WashU in St. Louis and I have one more year of PT school left along with three more clinicals. For the past year I've been thinking about whether PT is for me or not, and have always considered going to med school. I've just been frustrated with the things PTs are fighting for (transition to the DPT, direct access, new diagnoses, etc...). I know that PT is still a young profession, but after a year and a half of PT school ... I still have discouraging thoughts.

    I have seriously looked back in going to med school. My dilemma is: do I stop PT school now and go for med school, or do I finish my DPT and then go for the MD.

    Another problem is that I don't want to make the same mistake if medicine is not for me also ...

    I always just want to be sure of things ... even though I know you may never be sure about a lot things many times ...

    Has anyone else had similar feelings?
     

    dubDPT

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      vmcDPT,

      I am a 3rd year DPT student and I have had the same thoughts. In fact if you look at a previous thread that I created in this forum " PT to MD/DO" you may see some info to help you.

      I came to the realization that PT may only challenge me for 5-10 years plus the wear and tear on your own body, while medicine will likely challenge me for a lifetime and I could easily practice into my 60's.

      I also would like to have the ability to fully care for a patient, with the autonomy that a physician possesses as compared to a PT. I value the PT education that I have received, and hope that I will be able to use some of the skills acquired in PT. I plan on finishing my DPT and working for 2 years while I complete O-chem and take the MCAT.

      The road to becoming a physician is a long path and even longer after completing a separate professional program (DPT degree). In my opinion it will be worth it if you truely believe that you will be happier practicing medicine vs. physical therapy.
       
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      Skialta

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        vmcDPT

        I felt about the same as you when I was in PT school, I pretty much already knew medicine would be a better fit. I thought after graduation I would take a year off and then finish ochem. My year off turned into seven years as a PT. If medicine is really what you want to do then stay focused and go for it. Medical school is harder than you think, but it is also great fun. And both ortho and PM&R are boring, just my personal opinion.

        Skialta MS2
         

        dubDPT

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          Skialta,

          What specialities have you found that interest you at this time? Do you plan on choosing a specialty that you can use your PT skills? I am just curious on what your opinion is from your experiences in med school thus far.

          Final question(s): During interviews for admission did you have to defend your position on leaving the field of PT for med school and which med school do you attend?

          warren
           

          Skialta

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            VmcDPT,

            I am going to do general surgery and will likely go on and do a burn fellowship. Burns are a huge intrest of mine. I find the complicated pts are the most interesting and with burns there is a lot to deal with both medically and surgically. I love the OR but could never do ortho. I think burn is a nice mix, you get to know the pt and family and you still get to do surgery and practice some medicine. PM&R is too much like PT for me, and I would definitely be bored. Surgery is appealing because after treating patients with chronic pain for so long, it will be quite nice to know you can go in and fix a problem.

            So, PT is of no direct use but in the overall scheme it is still extremely useful. I feel like PTs approach a patient from a little different perspective and are more in tune with a pt, you know some of the more intangible aspects of medicine, the art of medicine so to speak.

            I was asked in interviews a couple of times why the change. My response was that I was good at what I did but no longer felt challanged and felt that medicine offered more challanges and flexibility between teaching, research and clinical practice. For most of the interviewers they stated they felt my experience was a huge plus, some of the most difficult part for med students is learning how to interact with patients and as a PT you are pretty well versed in patient interaction. Feel free to PM me if you want.
             
            hmmm...
            It is interesting.... :)
            I ilke PT and Dr...
            If i have time and i want to apply medical school...
            I think Dr has moe medical knowledge and differential disaese....
            They have many tools and technique to help pt...
            Sometime PT has many similar Tx and less challenge, however, Dr have more challenge and responsibility and risks.
            In conclusion, they are both important for me and i like them . :)
             

            vmcDPT

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              Hi All,

              Thanks for all the replies. It's encouraging to see that there are many others experiencing the same feelings. I do have a lot to think about, and I do agree with many of the feelings you all posted.

              I do like PT and what I'm learning, but I don't think I can do it for the rest of my life. I want to do more and I love using my hands to fix things, and would love the challenge of medicine.

              I'm still struggling to decide if finishing PT school is worth it. I only have a one more year of class left. So I either leave now and go for the MD ... or pay another year of tuition, and leave with my DPT.

              :confused:
               

              delicatefade

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                If you are this far in I would go ahead and finish. I started having second thoughts during my second year but finished anyway and I don't regret it at all. I worked for three years after graduation while taking o-chem and studying for the MCAT.

                Not saying that this will happen, but you will be kicking yourself if you quit PT school before you finish, apply to medical school, and end up NOT getting in...
                 

                DOctorJay

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                  delicatefade said:
                  If you are this far in I would go ahead and finish. I started having second thoughts during my second year but finished anyway and I don't regret it at all. I worked for three years after graduation while taking o-chem and studying for the MCAT.

                  Not saying that this will happen, but you will be kicking yourself if you quit PT school before you finish, apply to medical school, and end up NOT getting in...


                  I agree 100% with the above post. Plus don't forget that the PT market is wonderfully flexible which means plenty of per diem spots available all over the country. This equates into working a couple times a month during medical school and making decent money. Make use of the skills you have learned and finish your degree. Some medical schools may look down upon an applicant not finishing a degree program like this. The skills and knowledge you learn in PT school will absolutely help you in medical school (believe me it's an entirely different beast but you will still be ahead especially clinically).

                  Good luck
                  -J
                   

                  Anubis84

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                    vmcDPT said:
                    Hi All,

                    This is a post for anyone who has transitioned from PT to MD, or is currently thinking about it. I'm a 2nd year DPT student at WashU in St. Louis and I have one more year of PT school left along with three more clinicals. For the past year I've been thinking about whether PT is for me or not, and have always considered going to med school. I've just been frustrated with the things PTs are fighting for (transition to the DPT, direct access, new diagnoses, etc...). I know that PT is still a young profession, but after a year and a half of PT school ... I still have discouraging thoughts.

                    I have seriously looked back in going to med school. My dilemma is: do I stop PT school now and go for med school, or do I finish my DPT and then go for the MD.

                    Another problem is that I don't want to make the same mistake if medicine is not for me also ...

                    I always just want to be sure of things ... even though I know you may never be sure about a lot things many times ...

                    Has anyone else had similar feelings?

                    I'm no expert, but I'd at least finish your DPT degree and then explore your options. Have you thought about getting a PharmD, DC, or DO? You could always go into research too, if you get burned out of clincial practice. Don't give up and see if you like being a DPT first, then if you're young enough, maybe give medicine a try.

                    Wouldn't you be, in effect, abandoning PT and sort of making a veiled statement that it's less than medicine?
                     

                    DocWagner

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                      Devils advocate, I say take the MCAT now and do what you want NOW. Avoid extra tuition in a field you will not practice!
                      The days are gone when a PT (myself) can practice with only 5k of student debt...PT's are in debt up to their friggin eyes with no end in sight. If you don't plan on practicing as a PT, then don't pay the tuition.

                      And I don't really see PT as a young profession, just a profession that has had an identity crisis for 50+ years (manipulation is bad, no its good...etc)
                       
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                      I think that you have to finish the DPT program before u wanna change career life. You can do the job and choice the specialist in what you want to be. If you like that area and want to learn more medical background. I think you can go to the medical school. :cool:
                       

                      sfdentist/PT

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                        VMCDPT,


                        I know how you feel. I was a DPT student at Southern California. After my 1st year, I started to have second thoughts about PT. Just like some of the board member have stated, PT will challenge you intellectually for about 5-10 years. That's when I said to my self, I need to make a change. I submitted a leave of absence to the dean of the school, indicating that I wanted to explore other endeavors.

                        So right now I am applying to dental school; it's a 180. If I dont get in, I work on Masters in Bio or Chemistry, something that will have a stronger carry-over effect in the dental world.

                        I dont regret attending PT school. Remember it is never too late to change profession (I'm 26 now, spent time in the Army after completing my undergraduate degree @ USC as well).

                        Just make sure you are happy---it's something you will be doing for the next 35-40 years!!!
                        I hope that helps!
                         

                        alpha trauma

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                          Skialta said:
                          vmcDPT

                          ... And both ortho and PM&R are boring, just my personal opinion.

                          Skialta MS2

                          I couldn't agree with this more. I completed my BS in Kinesiology, and planned on pursuing my Masters in PT. During my senior year clinical internship, I came to the realization that PT would be too monotonous for me. I could not see myself in the field for 20+ years, as I bore very easily. I decided to work in the ER (ER Tech) with my previous military medical background (corpsman), until I figured out what I wanted to do for the rest of my young adult life. Well, its almost 5 years later and I have decided to go back to school to become an MD...I'm sure the MCAT will be a blast after being out of school for 4+ years. If I were you, I would definitely complete the PT program (if all else fails, you can still earn a living), as you have come this far. I must say, being new, it was great to see this topic and know there are others who feel the way I do :thumbup:

                          Good luck :)
                           

                          bigdan

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                            Let me hijack the thread for just a second...

                            I'm an OT leaving the rehab field for medicine. What would you guys in medical school/residency that have come from PT say is the strongest benefit from your rehab experiences before heading into medicine? What would you guys suggest for me to do now that would better prepare me for medical school and residency?

                            Thanks, and good luck to all.

                            dc
                             

                            delicatefade

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                              I was wondering when you were going to do this!!!! I've enjoyed your posts in the past. Here are some of the benefits I've seen of my PT background.

                              1. Good background in FUNCTIONAL anatomy. We are definitely learning detailed anatomy this year but rarely can others in my class apply what we are learning.

                              2. Good study habits. I developed these in PT school and I think it made for an easier transition for me during our first quarter. A few in my class were shocked to find out that starting to study 3 weeks worth of material the weekend before a test wasn't enough to pass.

                              3. I think that as an OT you will find a huge advantage during your clinical years in understanding the psychosocial and functional aspects of your patient's diseases and disabilities and you will be in a much better position to help them or refer them to the proper specialist. You will also be a lot less likely to write inane and pointless PT/OT consults in an acute care setting. :)

                              The best thing you can do right now is study hard for the MCAT and do well. You will shine in your interviews (particularly if you choose to go DO). There is another PT in my class and a COTA and I think all of us were accepted very shortly after our interviews.
                               

                              bigdan

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                                Del-

                                If that first paragraph of compliments was for me, big thanks! If not, I apologize sheepishly...

                                Thanks for the insight. Your points are good. Any other thoughts from the gallery of rehabbers?

                                And, Del, as an update, I did the MCAT and application thing. Only did allopathic. I was accepted at the 8 schools I had interviews at, and I'm actually fielding some scholarship offers...things are looking good!

                                dc
                                 

                                amy73

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                                  Hi There,
                                  I am glad to have found this thread. I am an OT, hand specialist. I have been an OT for about 8-9 yrs. I have been considering MD for quite sometime now. I took the MCAT in august last year and scored a 23P.(9V, 8 BS, 6PS). I am also 31 and a mother to a 3 yr old. I also have to take 2 classes in organic chem. I am now debating on several issues.

                                  1. To apply with this score and then see what happens.
                                  2. To drop the idea of medicene and continue to work as OT and be an active mom.
                                  3. To take one calss in summer and other in fall... along with MCAT.. (I worry if it will be too much to take on at once).

                                  I have also been tuned to recent debate about the medical career and if it is worth going thru all this and then having to face the hassles.. etc..
                                  I do not have any DO schools nearby so that is kind of not a good option.

                                  Please share your opinions.
                                  Bye
                                  Amy
                                   

                                  JohnDO

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                                    amy73 said:
                                    Hi There,
                                    I have been considering MD for quite sometime now. I took the MCAT in august last year and scored a 23P.(9V, 8 BS, 6PS). I am also 31 and a mother to a 3 yr old. I also have to take 2 classes in organic chem. I am now debating on several issues.

                                    1. To apply with this score and then see what happens.
                                    2. To drop the idea of medicene and continue to work as OT and be an active mom.
                                    3. To take one calss in summer and other in fall... along with MCAT.. (I worry if it will be too much to take on at once).

                                    I do not have any DO schools nearby so that is kind of not a good option.

                                    Please share your opinions.
                                    Bye
                                    Amy
                                    Hi Amy! I can really only chime in on one aspect of your post, just so that you can approach the application cycle understanding the implications. Chances are that you will have to move to go to medical school. The wording of your last sentence made it sound like moving far away is not a good option. We pretty much have to take what we can get.

                                    If I were in your shoes I would take organic one and two, and then retake the MCAT. Medical schools will likely want to see an organic score on your transcript before you apply. Work on the physical sciences as well to pull that MCAT score up. There are many here who go through medical school with children, but that's not my area ;) You may want to check into the nontraditional forum here as well.

                                    Good luck to you!!
                                    John
                                     

                                    delicatefade

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                                      Ditto. If you are set on going to a nearby medical school it probably won't happen with that MCAT score. You can of course increase your chances of acceptance by applying to more schools but then you may get accepted and have to move.
                                       
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                                      Static Line

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                                        Hi amy: you'll need to move in all likelihood so don't rule that out if you want to go to med school. O-Chem is a pre-req in everty school I looked at, which is a lot. If I were you, I would consider looking into DO schools. They like to recruit folks with experience as well as stats. I have a decent GPA but lower MCAT that you, and I still got into school. It's not impossible to get in with 23 MCAT, but you should try to raise your score this April if you can, you'll stand a better chance. Have your app ready to go on the first day and apply early.
                                         

                                        Freeeedom!

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                                          As a former PT I can tell you, you have a heads up into getting into a osteopathic medical school if that is something you would consider. But overall your score is very weak. Did you take a prep course, would you consider taking the MCAT again.
                                          Things on your side
                                          1. you are a female
                                          2. previous experience
                                          3. desire

                                          My thoughts
                                          1. Retake the test AFTER a prep course
                                          2. Consider a wider pool of schools...yes, you may have to move...as did I.
                                           

                                          tom26

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                                            It's interesting to see so many people say that being a PT could keep them mentally stimulated for only 5 - 10 years. I've been practicing for 7 years and have only started to acquire the skills that can really allow me to help my patients. Not only am I interested each morning when I wake up but I can say I am interested each time a patient walks into my treatment room. If you limit yourself to what I like to call "trained monkey" work (i.e. hospital or exercise based therapy), then, yes, you will be mentally bored and dulled in no time. However, I have studied much osteopathic-based manual therapy and am amazed every day at the results I get and the patients that have been tossed aside by MD's that I am able to help. Each person that comes to my clinic comes with unique problems that require Sherlock Holmes-type skills of deduction. Further, as a DPT, I actually have the time to spend with the patient and can get to know them over our treatment sessions. I, also, have maybe $15,000 in loans rather than $150,000 in medical school loans. I even get to work only 4 days a week. Lastly, the gratitude I get from patients that I can help is invigorating. Thus, if you want to practice medicine go to med school. But don't sell your PT education short. If you "dig deeper" and learn more it can be a very satisfying profession.
                                             

                                            Skialta

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                                              Tom,
                                              Thats great that it worked for you, I have many friends that are equally satisfied with their careers as well. I also know several highly skilled manual therapists that have told me that I made the right decision to go into medicine. I really don't know what your practice is like (are you the owner or a salaried). I can only speak for myself, I have worked both as a staff PT and I was also in private practice with another PT. I absolutely hated groveling for patients from physicians. The politics doesn't necessarily mean that the best trained therapist gets the patients, alot of it is who you know. When you are in that situation it pays you to be the sloppy therapist that sees the patient forever, not the skilled therapist that is able to treat the patient quickly and effectively. You would think that it would even out with a good reputation but it doesn't always work out that way. I know this happens in medicine but it is quite a different game.

                                              The thought of being a staff PT again after working for myself and knowing just how raped you are as a staff PT just turned me off. I really think it is what you want out of it. One aspect of PT that I found troubling is that outcome studies were having a hard time proving a lot of manual treatment and a lot of what PT does. I know a lot of effort is being spent on evidence based practice, but that is part of what makes medicine appealing, it is based more in science. Good post.

                                              Skialta
                                               

                                              Freeeedom!

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                                                Tom,
                                                I practiced for 3 years and decided that I really wanted to learn manual medicine from the DO's and entered osteopathic medical school. It was a fantastic choice. I loved being a PT but much like the poster above, I couldn't tolerate marketing and I simply wanted to learn more and be engulfed in the learning process.
                                                As for loans, back in "the day", PT school was cheap (I had maybe 5k in loans) today its about 20k per year AT LEAST. I honestly can't see how the young PT's can survive (hell I know some that are 100k in debt). Nonetheless, being a PT was rewarding and leisurely by comparison...it is a great profession...some people just move on.
                                                 

                                                pingDr.

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                                                  vmcDPT said:
                                                  Hi All,

                                                  This is a post for anyone who has transitioned from PT to MD, or is currently thinking about it. I'm a 2nd year DPT student at WashU in St. Louis and I have one more year of PT school left along with three more clinicals. For the past year I've been thinking about whether PT is for me or not, and have always considered going to med school. I've just been frustrated with the things PTs are fighting for (transition to the DPT, direct access, new diagnoses, etc...). I know that PT is still a young profession, but after a year and a half of PT school ... I still have discouraging thoughts.

                                                  I have seriously looked back in going to med school. My dilemma is: do I stop PT school now and go for med school, or do I finish my DPT and then go for the MD.

                                                  Another problem is that I don't want to make the same mistake if medicine is not for me also ...

                                                  I always just want to be sure of things ... even though I know you may never be sure about a lot things many times ...

                                                  Has anyone else had similar feelings?



                                                  vmcDPT,
                                                  I am in the same position. I am a first year DPT student @ Duke and have been thinking about MED school since the middle of my first semester. I am still trying to gather information to make the best choice I can. I have been wondering if I am alone in this and fear speaking to my faculty or fellow students because they might take my wanting to change fields ther wrong way. I would be interested in talking to you more about this. This forum is very helpful. Feel free to contact me if you wish.
                                                  Kind Regards

                                                  Duke DPT student
                                                   

                                                  DocWagner

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                                                    I wondered about med school when I was a first year student as well...I remember telling a classmate and she said "oh they won't let you in...they hate PT students"
                                                    I found that to be the exact opposite (particularly in DO programs). Medical experience only helps medical students...and some of the curriculum in PT school prepares you for medical school (anatomy primarily).
                                                    If you are "wondering" now...then you need to pursue it soon, before the timing is lost.
                                                     

                                                    freddydpt

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                                                      I've heard that PT has the upper hand in the application process "especially DO" a million times... and I want to be someone on this thread who states (emphatically!) that PT's also have the upper hand in the MD application process.

                                                      With that said, I'm at an allopathic school and I don't go one day without CRAVING using my hands. I also find that most students don't understand the effects of manual therapy in my school. I've tried to make some change and started an interest group that has hands on experiences, but change has been slow. Refreshing, however, are the 15 or so students who are always showing up to the workshops.

                                                      If you are in a DPT program and pretty far along, definitely finish... it'll give you a sense of pride and a wonderful skill set when you're on rotations and start practicing. You'll probably have better relationships with those allied health professionals you'll work with (common bond thing).

                                                      If you scored a low MCAT score and REALLY REALLY REALLY want to do medicine... take the MCAT again, as painful as it may seem, it'll be worth it.

                                                      If you just started a PT program and want to do medicine, don't finish PT... it doesn't get any better studying day and night wondering "is this really what I want to do." You need a passion to do PT. I think I covered most ppl on this thread. I'm so glad to see this back on SDN!!!
                                                       

                                                      Skialta

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                                                        I should have clarified that, the patient populations are very similar depending upon what kind of therapy you practice. Personally, I find neuro fascinating, but it is not really my focus of interest. So for me PM&R was just the other end of what I did as a PT.
                                                         

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                                                          Hi.. I wanna know the drill to get into medical school.. I completed 4.5 years bachelors in physiotherapy.. Can I apply for MCAT? Or am I suppose to take bachelors course in science ?
                                                          That was posted over 10 years ago. You'll get more help from the pre-med forums on SDN than from this old thread.
                                                           
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