× Debates, Issues & Talk

Pros and Cons of becoming a DO

9 years 2 months ago #66953 by Doc201X

Originally posted by hilseb:
.............why tell them they are going to be limited? To what? Being a practicing physician? Some programs may insist on taking the USMLE's, I am sure, but I doubt many still refuse to take DOs period.

Let me first start off by saying that I have NO PROBLEMS with the DO philosophy and would apply myself if I didn't have to relocate to attend school. But a serious conversation needs to be held about the very REAL prejudice that exists against DO's.

I've seen with my own eyes NO Do's on the residency staff at some schools and know for a fact that some schools won't take them. So, if you're interested in a highly competitive field like Derm, it's simply better to go MD than DO. IM NOT SAYING YOU CANT BECOME A DERM AS A DO. Just that it's harder to do. This is not MY prejudice, it's simply THE facts.

A couple other cons I can think of:
1) Having to take BOTH the USMLE's AND COMPLEX
2) On average, it's FAR more expensive than a lot of MD's schools.
3) Not being recognized in some countries.
4) Having to explain to people what a DO is.

1) If you can't get accepted MD, this is a viable option to become a Physician.
2) Admission is not as competitive as MD schools.

I have a close friend that wasn't sure she would get accepted to an MD school and is now a doctor. I asked her why she didn't apply to DO schools and her answer was very profound: "As Black woman, I already have to deal with enough prejudice based on gender and race. I'm not about potentially add more prejudice in my life by becoming a DO". I have another friend who also happens to be a Black female and is the best resident Pathologist I've EVER met, about why she went DO instead of just doing the post bacc and starting med school (MD) a year later. Her response was that she was ready to get on with becoming an Doctor and now she's doing extremely well as a community Pathologist.

Pros and cons is ALL this debate is about, and you can't talk about going DO without talking about both IMHO.

My Scientist/Physician Journey
9 years 2 months ago #66954 by 3DMOM
You are right. I want to become a DO because of what DO stands for. I am a very holistic thinker and the DO philosophy happens to include a holistic approach to medicine. I do not mind explaining what a DO does and the difference between an MD. Not all MD's are the same.
9 years 2 months ago #66955 by twinmom
I'm not a huge DO expert, so I'll limit myself to my own experience.

I shared some work space with a pediatric heme-onc fellow when I was a research assistant prior to med school. She was a DO, an extremely nice woman, and really smart. She had no trouble getting where she is today. She had to explain to her residency and fellowship (mostly fellowship) why she wasn't doing primary care. (She had a super explanation that I don't remember, sorry, but it was good.) She did NOT go to a DO school because she couldn't get into an MD school. She could've gone wherever she wanted. She just liked the DO philosophy better, and because of that she was able to stand up and write her own ticket.

On the other hand, another former coworker had a husband (whom I never met, so I can't comment on directly) who went DO because he had to. He ended up getting pretty far down his match list for IM programs, and took twice trying to match for a cardio fellowship. (Good news, though, he eventually did.)

I guess my point is, if you're into the DO philosophy, do it. If you're not, don't. Don't just do DO because you can't get into MD. It's its own thing. :)
9 years 2 months ago #66956 by docE
hmmmm...DO is not it's "own" thing. As a second year medical student at an osteopathic institution, I don't consider myself a "DO" student, I consider myself a "medical" student. It really annoys me when people say I'm in "DO" school. You would never say someone is in "MD" school. The osteopathic "philosophy" is mostly historical. It's a great philosophy to follow, and all medical professionals, in my opinon, should embrace it, whether they're MD, DO, RN, CNP, PA, etc. As patients (and we've all been patients before), we want our providers to treat us like people, not diseases. We want our physicians to understand that social, emotional, psychological, and economic factors contribute to our health. Isn't this just good medicine? At my "DO" school we don't go around asying things like "lets treat this patient as a whole," it's a philosophy that is introduced in a historical perspective (the reason that AT STill created the institution as a break from allopathic medicine), but after that, it just seems to make sense.

Really, the only difference in the training that I can tell is that we LEARN OMM. Most DO's never use OMM past their second year of medical school. It's a handy tool to have, but we're not chiropracters, and this is not the focus of our practice. Those who want to learn further OMM techniques can elect to take more classes.

I do agree, that from what I've heard, it is more difficult for osteopathic students to get very competitive residency spots (derm, ophthomology, radiology, etc). If you're really thinking you'd like to go into something competitive, I'd probably try the MD route, but be prepared to work your a$$ off either way, because those spots are tough for MD and DO students alike.

Not all DO schools are more expensive. Some are, some aren't. Do your research.

MD PROS: you get to be a physician
MD CONS: you get to be a physician

DO PROS: you get to be a physician
DO CONS: you get to be a physician

It's six one way, half a dozen the other. Don't let all these debates on "holistic" medicine throw you. If you're going to be a great physician, you'll do it regardless of what the letters are following your name
9 years 2 months ago #66957 by docE
A note on "explaining" to lay people the definition of a DO...I did this about 20 times before I came to medical school, and since then I haven't done it once. It doesn't bother me, and it doesn't come up often, and when it does come up, it's really not a big deal. Up until a year before I went to a "DO school" I had NEVER heard of a DO, so I was one of those ignorant people. Another great oportunity to educate in my opinion.

As for standards of admission--most DO schools are (generally) easier to get accepted to. That does NOT mean that once you get there that they are easier to get out of. IE, the quality of education, from my experience, is in no way whatsoever inferior. We are taught by MD's, DO's and PhD's. We pass the same board exams. We all are taught and learn the same material...the physiology, biochemistry, pathology, is the same whether you're at an MD or DO institution.
9 years 2 months ago #66958 by Doc201X

Originally posted by docE:
Not all DO schools are more expensive. Some are, some aren't. Do your research.

Where did I say that ALL DO schools are more expensive? :confused: Do my reserch? Gladly! ;)

College/In state/Out of state

DMU/COM $29,050 $29,050
KCOM/ATSU $31,700 $31,700
KCUMB-COM $33,247 $33,247
LECOM $24,100 $25,100
MWU/AZCOM $34,099 $34,099
MWU/CCOM $29,755 $35,391
NSU-COM $22,265 $27,995
NYCOM/NYIT $31,749 $31,749
PCOM $32,334 $32,334
PCSOM $27,000 $27,000
TUCOM $30,650 $30,650
UNECOM $33,000 $33,000
VCOM $29,500 $29,500
WesternU/COMP $33,230 $33,230

MSUCOM $20,682 $46,482
OSU-COM $14,995 $29,220
OU-COM $19,455 $28,353
TCOM $6,550 $19,650
UMDNJ-SOM $20,567 $32,185
WVSOM $16,418 $40,630
Mean $16,445 $32,753

Source: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Tuition Survey for 2005-2006

I can think of 15 state MD school's off the top of my head with tuition LESS than 20K/year.

http://services.aamc.org/tsfreports/report.cfm?select_control=PUB&year_of_study= 2006

My Scientist/Physician Journey
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