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To DO or not to DO, that is the question.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by someday soon?, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. someday soon?

    someday soon? Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2002
    I am applying to medical school next year and I cannot decide if I should apply to DO or MD schools. My GPA is 3.9 and 3.94 science and I have clinical volunteer experience, was president of my local chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and was chosen to represent the United States as part of a Native American dance group for UNICEF's fiftieth anniversary celebration.
    I am interested in osteopathic medicine but some people have told me that DO's can be less respected than MD's. If anybody has input on the pros and cons of being a DO vs. MD I would appreciate it.
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  3. SoCal

    SoCal Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 12, 2002
    Do you know the difference? If all you are considering is the respect issue, you will need to read up on what osteopathic medicine is. Try reading "Osteopathic Medicine - A Reformation in Progress" it is by Gallagher and Humphreys. This should answer a lot of questions, as well as give you some history.
  4. Fenrezz

    Fenrezz AT Stills Worst Nightmare 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Ft. Tulsadale
    I've been shadowing a DO for about 10 months now, in his practice and in a hospital setting and all I can say is he's just as respected as all other doctors by both physicians and patients alike. From what I've seen, patients don't care whether you're DO or MD, as long as you can take care of them.

    According to him, he says that the whole "MD looking down on DO's" thing is something that pre-meds tend to worry about. Once you graduate medical school it never becomes an issue. Keep in mind, that is his experience and elsewhere it might play out differently but from what I've seen, that seems to be the case.

    I imagine if there is a bias it probably comes from the older generation of MD's who practiced when DO's were still fighting for respect. Nowadays I'm guessing the younger generation doctors have as much respect for DO's as MD's. I may be wrong but that's how I feel. If an MD does look down on me because I survived the EXACT same education requirements as him or her, that is their problem, not mine.

    So my advice is not to worry about things like that. If you believe in the osteopathic philosophy, go to DO school. If not, apply MD. In the end you'll be a doctor and that's all that counts. :)

    Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. :)
  5. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000
    Go to a state school and save yourself the money.

    I'm all for DO school, myself, but money is a big issue for many (me included).

    Once you visit a school you will know if it is the right school for you. I think it just sorta feels right. That may sound a little weird, but you get the idea.

    Good luck.

    PS: Shadow a DO.
  6. drusso

    drusso Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 1998
    Over the rainbow
    Apply to both, interview, and choose the school the best fits you regardless of the medical degree awarded. It's a very subjective choice, but you'll know. Tuition cost is a big consideration! If, however, you feel like you really enjoy OMM, then the extra cost might be worth the additional training because it is very time consuming and expensive for MDs to go back and learn manual medicine.
  7. Dr. MAXY

    Dr. MAXY Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2002
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    I totally Agree with Fenrezz.
  8. too-sweet-phat-cool 4-life

    too-sweet-phat-cool 4-life Way too Sweet for you!!!! 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2002
    Do some research! A good book is The Difference a DO makes by Bob Jones. Your decision should not be based on respect, but prinicipals you believe in. You seem to have great stats, so you are able to choose what is best for you and I also agree with the money issue. If you can stay in-state that is a major plus. FYI I worked in a inner-city ER for a few years and there were 2 DO's and 3 MD's on staff. All were treated Equally. Plus the hospital had a FP Residency Program and the Chief Resident was a DO.
  9. too-sweet-phat-cool 4-life

    too-sweet-phat-cool 4-life Way too Sweet for you!!!! 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2002
    I forgot to mention the R. Program was a allopathic Program.
  10. barb

    barb Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Aside from reading the books you guys suggested, I am very interested in your own reasons for choosing DO instead of MD.
  11. jd star

    jd star Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2002
    fort lauderdale, fl
    I'm applying to DO schools mainly because I like their philosophy. Also, DO schools look at more than just your MCAT scores -- they look at you as a person, which is also the way a DO looks at a patient. I've shadowed various DO's and patients seem to love them because they seem to be more friendly and caring about the patients. And yeah, I know there are MD's like that too, but I would rather be a part of something that looks at me for who I am, and not what my scores say. Also, I really want to go to PCOM because I've neve heard a bad thing about the school, plus I know that they have really good program. In the long run, you just have to listen to your heart and not to what other people say.
  12. Fenrezz

    Fenrezz AT Stills Worst Nightmare 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Ft. Tulsadale
    The two main reasons I chose DO is:

    1. Osteopathic medicine's dedication to primary care medicine. I want to be a primary care doctor and DO schools tend to focus on that more than specialties. Kinda nice to be accepted at a school in the top 50 for primary care. :)

    2. Manipulation. I like the idea of at least having the option of offering patients manipulation, although I don't know enough about what it does to comment anymore than that. I need to practice it firsthand to see how it can benefit patients. However, from discussions with DO's, it must work pretty well.

    The holism philosophy didn't play much of a part in my decision because, although I actually believe it's the optimal way to treat a patient, I could still have done that if I had gone to MD school.

    The last thing I was concerned with is how much respect I'll receive from MD's. That means next to nothing to me (read my post above). Anyway, hope that helps. Good luck with your decision!
  13. jimdo

    jimdo Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    As a fourth year medical student doing a Neurosurgery rotation now at a large MD hospital I can honestly say that I am treated EXACTLY the same as the MD student. We're all treated like crap, we're med students what do you expect? Seriously though, I see many DOs here in practice in a wide array of specialty, and have had attendings of both degrees. I have found that there is no difference in respect between the two and have come to believe that those who really seem obsessed by this whole thing tend to be premed students. Its simply not an issue anymore. Scratch that, it is an issue for many who choose to make it one. I had an MD neurosurgeon tell me recently that DOs seem to have an inferiority complex while the vast majority of MDs find no decreased repect for them. So its the DOs that are keeping this fear of perceived disrespect alive, and not the MDs. My advice, dont worry about such trivial things.
    I am preparing to match to Neurology and am applying to 21 neurology residencies across the nation. Every one of them is an MD institution and is universitty based. I believe the quality of MD residencies to be higher and more suited to my interest in research plus clinical pathology. My point...I have spoken to many residency coordinators and office staff about my being a DO and their perception of that fact. NOT ONE HAS HAS ANYTHING REMOTELY NEGATIVE to say and all have been friendly and encouraging. It may be because my stats are good, but I suspect that it is more that they simply dont care if a candidate is a DO or an MD.
    I understand your fears. We all deal with them because we somehow keep pounding it into our heads through chats like these and in our profession that we somehow are inferior. We dont want to admit it to ourselves or others, but many of us feel as though we are not as good as the MDs even though the vast majority (esp younger_ MDs have no quarrel with us at all. It simply is not true that there is less respect available for a DO. And even if there were, this should make it more desirable for you to have the opportunity to change a situation and perception that is misguided. Be a pioneer if thats the way you need to look at it.
    There are areas of the country where DOs are not as common and therefore less understood. This may be mistaken for less respected and may in fact sometimes be less respected. But this is the minority of cases and is decreasing steadily.
    We all have ou reasons for going to DO school. Mine was a combination of factors. I had both the AMCAS and AACOMAS application in hand. I, like many was not confidant in my stats. In hindsight, they probably were "good enough" to go to many MD schools, but I didnt take the risk for the following reasons. 1)I am from California and went to college out of state. It is probably more difficult going to med school in CA because of huge demand for spots. Plus going to school out of state may have been a drawback. Schools elsewhere would not have been feasible since I didnt have state residency elsewhere and it would have placed me at a disadvantage. Lastly, the DO application process is quite clever. I had applied to several DO schools and was interviewed and even accepted before the deadline had even passed for AMCAS submission. I could not justify turning down a medical school acceptance in the hope of acheiving an interview elsewhere. So I decided to forego the entire AMCAS process and go to DO school.
    As a pre-med, I was naive about the whole process and not as confidant in my abilities as I should have been. Its quite common I see from reading these posts. I would have been able to go to either MD or DO school, but the situation played for me the way it did and I have no regrets. You must do what is best for your situation, for it is unique for everyone. In the end, it simply will not matter. Its something you cant see at the stage yore at now, but will become abundantly clear as you progress in training. Good luck.
  14. jimdo

    jimdo Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    One more thing. As I have progressed in training, i have realized how very important it is to have confidence in yourself and take risks. The biggest risk is not talking one they say. I did not "settle" on going to a DO school as has been implied in other threads, it just seemed the most appropriate option given the timeframe of the situation.
  15. apgar7

    apgar7 Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2002
    Pomona CA
    From having talked to a few residents and 3rd/4th year students, my understanding is that respect is given based on your ability to work well with your colleagues and your ability to treat patients. As far as the public's perception of DO's, the huge majority have never really heard of them to the extent that they know what a DO does. From what I've heard, most patients will never even know you are a DO either because they probably assume you are an MD or, if they never really pay attention to degree titles anyway, they will assume you are a "doctor" like all the rest of the "doctors." In any case, if widely known respect is the biggest issue for you, then you probably are better off going the MD route. But I think in the real world of medicine no one has time to ponder the greatness of their degree title anyway. Everyone just wants to practice good medicine and get along with their work mates.
  16. Your post says that you are in Washington. You didn't post your MCAT score, or least I don't remembering seeing it, but the rest of your stats seem to indicate that you would get into Univ of Washington. That is a great school for the money you would spend there. I applied to both MD and DO programs in my state and was only accepted at the DO program (TCOM). I chose TCOM over the out of state private MD programs I was accepted at simply because of the money. Clearly there is somewhat of difference between DOs and MDs, but to me it is neglible, and for the most part, only getting smaller every passing year. By the time I am a doctor, I feel both degrees will converge to where people in the medical field will not even be asking this question. With that said, I chose to save myself the money, and go with a state supported DO program. Medical school is medical school, in my opinion. Had I gotten into Yale, of course I would have gone. But when I receive an acceptance to a MD program not ranked in US News World Report, and my school, TCOM, is ranked 37th (in primary care), it makes no sense to me why I should not attend. Anyway, that is my two cents. Good luck.

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