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Why DO? story of a convert!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by DblHelix, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. DblHelix

    DblHelix Member
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    Hey everyone! This is my first SDN post but I have been obsessively on the site for a while now. I know this is sorta long but I'm bursting to talk to you all.

    About me: I decided to take a year off and apply to med school next cycle. I've been a pre-med for four years now, am pretty competitve for MD schools (3.7 GPA at UCBerkeley, MCAT this spring) and only recently discovered osteopathic medicine.

    Frankly I've been questioning my desire to be a doctor for a while until today. I just got back from a talk by a TUCOM-CA professor and two current students there and WOW! I was somewhat drawn to DO previously but admit I was a skeptic due to ignorance. The DO talk completely reminded me why I want to be a doctor and revitalized my enthusiasm! DO's seem so patient oriented. Their philosophy is very refreshing to hear, to not only provide allopathic medicine but provide immediate patient comfort and healing through OMM, while at the same time being well rounded people with interests outside medicine, too. When someone asked why DO over MD, he replied, "You like (physical) contact with your patient, you like instant gratification, and you want to heal the person not the disease." WOW!

    I think I just may become a DO and not an MD! Although I must admit I too worry about not getting a decent residency as a DO, especially if I choose not to go into primary care. Nevertheless, I am very excited and have to start doing some more research into Osteopathic Medicine!

    Why do you all want to be DOs?
     
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  3. riceman04

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    That ending quote is sooooooooooooo cliche and to an extent not a great generalization. There are DO's who are just as disease focused as MD's.

    Dont get it twisted.

    Good luck in your pursuit though! :)
     
  4. DblHelix

    DblHelix Member
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    Thanks for your response! You know, it may be cliche to people experienced in what DOs have to offer but to a jaded allopathic pre-med it was great, possibly because it also went with the rest of the talk and seemed right with all his enthusiasm.

    Yes, I'm aware that DO's practice without OMM which I think is great to have that option, but the DO philosophy of patient care is still there.

    Aren't there any pre-osteopathics out there who feel similarly? Why do you all want to go to osteopathic medical school?
     
  5. hooperg

    hooperg Just some guy
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    Aren't there any pre-osteopathics out there who feel similarly? Why do you all want to go to osteopathic medical school?[/QUOTE]


    I want to be a physician more than anything... DO or MD. I really like the OMM of Osteopathy though, which would certainly influence my ultimate choice should I be accepted to both.

    I watched my father die a very slow, painful death due to Lung Cancer. The care the physicians rendered was sometimes very distant and half-hearted. He ultimately ended up in at-home-hospice for the last three weeks of his life, during which time I took care of him. The very act of placing a caring hand on a sick individual relieves tremendous amounts of their pain. Sometimes, that's all that one can hope for...
     
  6. Disse

    Disse Member
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    Your story is very similar to mine. I questioned going to medical school more because of the annoying loud mouths in my pre-med classes--I figured I'd either kill myself or go insane if I got stuck for four years with a group composed explicitly with these a**holes. I was also a bit more "alternative" in my viewpoint so when I saw a presentation on osteopathic medicine everything sort of clicked. I shadowed DO's (have a good friend still from those days) and found I really enjoyed them and their approach.

    All that being said, what I forgot about during the whole process was that I had some friends who applied to allopathic schools (they were either at other universities and/or ahead or behind me in school). I obviously liked these folks, they also got accepted and (per them) they enjoyed the majority of their classmates (it seems nobody likes to be stuck in large groups composed of a**holes ;)).

    Long story short, I enjoyed my program but I think if I had found the right allopathic school I would have been just as happy. There are nasty medical schools composed of nasty people on both sides of the spectrum--you just have to avoid them (unless you're a loud mouthed a**hole). The most important thing is to find a school (whether osteopathic or allopathic) that "fits" you. You do this by applying widely and talking extensively with people.

    Granted OMM is fun and provides a useful tool but I, unfortunately, suck at it. There are other well-known annoyances associated with being a D.O. (having to explain what it is, some assuming you're sub-human somehow, blah blah blah) that do seem to get more annoying as time goes by but, overall, I wouldn't change a thing. I have fantastic friends, I got good training and am pleased with how my life has proceeded since. I'm just more aware now that the philosophical differences between MD's & DO's aren't as extensive as I once thought--we all want to be good physicians.

    Good luck to you.
     
  7. priu

    priu Member
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    Way to reduce enthusiasm...

    I was happy about reading your post. I do think DO philosophy will give that edge over what an MD school teaches... the Osteopathic principles are really drilled in from what I've seen at WVSOM's OMT lab (I'm an applicant as well, and have sat in on both DO and MD courses). It's great to feel this passionate about something, ey? I'm still on the fence between MD/DO, but I feel very strongly about OMM and Osteopathic principles. Good luck with your decision, I'm sure you'll make a great MD or DO!
     
  8. Koil Gugliemi

    Koil Gugliemi Koil Gugliemi
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    The bottom line is that while there may be schools that fit your stereotypes (DO=touchy-feely humanistic, MD=hardcore science nerds who don't really care about people), there are many more that don't. Further it's about each individual's appoach to the profession. If you want to be super touchy feely you could go to the harvard/MIT MD PhD program and come out touchy-feely even though it's a hardcore science type of program.

    Also - Ignore the uptight pre-meds. I would recommend not joining any pre-med groups, they're generally full of the tightly wound stress balls. These people did exsist in my med school class (MD program high on US news list for what that's worth), but they were easy to ignore, and the vast majority were great, super chill down to earth types. Yes, there were a bunch of touchy-feely types who were into treating the whole person, and that was stressed in the curriculum.

    Carefully consider your options. You may be gung-ho family med/psych/alternative med now, but things do change and if you decide while in school that you want to do a very competitive residency i.e. derm/optho/ortho/NS/ - -insert flavor of the month here - - you will have a slightly more difficult time coming out of a DO school. Since these fields are hard to get for anyone, even a slight disadvantage is to be avoided. My advice would be to go to a school you'll be happy at. Apply to both and see for yourself if "the philosophy" is really any different. I suspect you may hear that more at DO schools, but look at the curriculum. Many MD schools will have as much of a humanistic appoach as DO schools.

    KG
     
  9. Nate

    Nate Missing
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    Welcome!
    I chose a DO school because I really liked the school itself and I felt at home here right away. I don't feel that it had much to do with the fact it was a DO school and although I enjoy learning OMM and feel it has value I personally wouldn't miss it very much if I had gone to an MD school. I don't feel going to an MD school would have changed my drive to want to treat patients and I feel holistic medicine is the trend in all of modern medicine, not unique to DO schools even though we may have helped start that revolution. It doesn't belong to us. I am very proud to be a DO because I feel that I am a part of a noble profession and a tight community with inspiring roots from Dr Still through today. Good luck to you

    One more point from my opinion, I know it is common belief that being a DO residency applicant makes you less competitive. For some programs this may be true but then again who wants to be surrounded by elitist people for that many years? Those same residency directors will discriminate against most MD medical schools from Ivy League anyway so even most MD applicants get the short-end there. From what I hear, once a residency director tries DO we are heavily recruited. We are just as capable and as well trained, some better than others, as any MD student, some better than others. The fact is, we have our own residency programs to more than make up for those hardcore elitist MD programs that discriminate against us plus we have the opportunity to go to many good MD programs which do not discriminate (this is getting bigger all the time). If you ask people who know, residents and physicians (not pre-meds or even med students), who have RECENTLY gone through the process you will see where I have formed these opinions from. Look at the big picture! Again, good luck wherever your journey leads you, in the end we will all work together to heal the patient.

    By the way, I am interested in neurosurgery and I am not worried about getting a spot, I will do my best.
     
  10. Koil Gugliemi

    Koil Gugliemi Koil Gugliemi
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    Nate makes some good points. There are some DO only residencies for tough to match specialties. These may be a good choice for some people. For those that end up wanting to do traditional academic practice/research, these programs may not give you the same research training as the upper tier allo programs. To each his own. Again, there are no hard and fast rules to any of this, and I certainly am not saying that one group of programs is any better or worse.

    Having recently been through the match for a fairly competitive specialty, I did percieve a bias against applicants from osteo schools. This is purely my observation, and I do not have any objective evidence to back me up. I think, though that if I were to look at the people interviewed by what most folks consider the top 20 residencies compared to the total applicant pool to those residencies, I feel as though I'd find a higher percentage of allo grads being interviewed. Perhaps this is a regional thing, I dunno.

    So then, are these programs elitist? I don't really know what that means. I don't believe that any grad of the big ivy programs gets to pick his/her favorite competitive place and go there simply becuase they've got the ivy background. It might help, but is that really bad? I think when you think about it you'll probably agree that people who get into very selective medical schools have worked extremely hard to get there, are bright etc. That may also be true for any other school, osteos included, but having gone to a highly selective school is an indicator of some success in a competitive situation. And they would still have to do very well amoung their hard-working smart classmates to have the grades and scores to get into a competitive specialty. Knowing how difficult and competitive it is, I find it impressive when people have CV's full of difficult-to-get schools, residencies, fellowships etc.

    I'm sure Nate will match NS if that's his focus. That's certainly a tight squeeze for anyone. NS, in some places anyways, can be very old-school, and DO's will have a tougher time at those places. Perhaps you can say "well I wouldn't want to go there anyways with those old-school tightwads", but given how tough the NS match can be, I would have a hard time advising some one who may be interested in a field with a tough match to put themselves in a position where they may have fewer options available to them. Opinions obviously vary on this. Just my 3 cents.

    Holistic neurosurgery. Interesting. Most NS I know have little time and emotional energy left to spend on the social side of things in clinic. On the other hand, given all the bad outcomes in NS, a holistic approach will certainly serve you well in dealing with families etc. The challenge will be to hold on to those ideals 5yrs out of residency when the demands of the field are starting to wear on you, given the tough patients, lawsuits etc. It can definitly be done, but will require a conscious effort every day. IMHO anyways. (PS I was gung-ho NS until late third year when my preceptor told me not to do it as he was in the process of burning out - your mileage may vary)

    KG
     
  11. jeffsleepy

    jeffsleepy Senior Member
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    Just curious, where was this talk and what was it's primary purpose? Was it through a program at Berkeley? Just wondering because I didn't have any contact with DO's at Cal, and I would have been interested just for personal education.
     
  12. czyja

    czyja Junior Member
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    I was at the same talk and I must say Dr. McCombs is an extremely impressive speaker - he got me fired up about osteopathic medicine too. I was especially impressed by his efforts at integrating osteopathy into hospital practice at St. Lukes - pretty cool. Would you like to see if we can arrange a Cal outing up to TUCOM? Perhaps the might let us observe OMM lab.
     
  13. czyja

    czyja Junior Member
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    The talk was through a Decal course - Premed 101. Dr. McCombs also spoke recently at the Integrative Medicine conference here at Cal.
     
  14. jeffsleepy

    jeffsleepy Senior Member
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    Ah I see, thanks. I don't think they offered that decal while I was there, must be somewhat new.
     
  15. DblHelix

    DblHelix Member
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    I think if we make an outing it will be a lot less personal of an experience. Dr. McCombs suggested going up to TUCOM and going to their clinic and if the group is too big we won't really get anything out of it (they can only take so many people into a hospital room to watch a DO at work).

    Does anyone know how TUCOM-CA stacks up to the other schools? One of the TUCOM students there told me they are the highest or second highest in board scores and like 8 or 9 of them went to Stanford and UCSF residencies last year. But I don't hear anyone talking about TUCOM-CA on SDN, just COMP.
     
  16. Jerseygrrl4

    Jerseygrrl4 Heather
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    Just wanted to point out that it makes sense there would be a higher percentage of allo grads/applicants being interviewed since they comprise 98% of grads out there (only 2% of doctors are DO's, or something like that)

    ..And to throw in my 2 cents... I come from an ivy league background and I decided hands down to go the osteopath route, which had a lot to do with that "elitist" attitude that surrounded me for four years...it was totally different at UMDNJ-SOM and I felt like I really needed that kind of supportive environment instead of the cut-throat mentality I was used to...so I know exactly what ya mean Nate...but like some others have been saying, you have to like the school and feel like it fits you....whether you are sussessful or not depends purely on YOU, not the school
     
  17. Pharos

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  18. Koil Gugliemi

    Koil Gugliemi Koil Gugliemi
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    I understand that. I was trying to say that even if 2% of applicants to the tough to match spots (at least in my specialty) were from osteo schools, they would probably be less than 2% of interviewees. At least that's how it seemed to me, I never saw any osteo grads at my interviews, I don't know why. Could be not many osteo grads applied to the same programs, regional thing etc. Just my observation, take it for what it's worth...not much!
     

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