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What is the most important thing to know about becoming a D.O.

I am very seriously considering going into this profession and would love to know More! #medicine #DO #osteopathic manipulation

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John’s Answer

Osteopathic doctors are physicians who focus on holistic treatment. Along with treating diseases or illnesses, these doctors place emphasis on prevention. Osteopathic physicians may practice all kinds of medical specialties in the United States. The terms 'osteopathy' and 'osteopath' refer to a more limited kind of healthcare worker who is not a physician. They practice medicine with a different philosophy than medical doctors (MDs), but their training is very similar, with the addition of learning osteopathic manipulative medicine. DOs have the same responsibilities and privileges of MDs, such as prescribing medicine, performing surgery and diagnosing illness. Osteopathic physicians spend a lot of time with patients, which often means working on their feet and exposure to illnesses. Hours can be long and may include nights or weekends, especially during residency. Many doctors earn a substantial income, although the education required is long and expensive. The job can be stressful, but there is great satisfaction in helping people.

Hope this was Helpful Jordanne

John recommends the following next steps:

Earn a Bachelor's Degree – Acceptance into an osteopathic medicine program generally first requires a prospective osteopathic doctor to earn a bachelor's degree. While no specific undergraduate major is required, osteopathic programs do require specific prerequisite courses for acceptance.
MCAT – Medical College Admissions Test performance scores are required for entrance into osteopathic medical schools. Prospective medical school students take the exam the year before they apply to either a D.O. program.
Complete Medical School – Osteopathic medical programs take four years to complete. During the first two years, students learn clinical skills and take basic science courses. During the third and fourth years, students explore the various medical specialties in clinical settings.
Complete Training – Graduates of osteopathic medical programs continue their training by enrolling in an internship program. The internship is followed by a residency program in a specialty area such as family or pediatric medicine. The length of residency programs varies by specialty, but typically last from 3-8 years.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! This information is really helpful! Jordanne G.
Thank you comment icon Your Welcome Jordanne, The real opportunity for success lies within the you and not in the career. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Raquel. The best time to do something significant is between yesterday and tomorrow. John Frick
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Dan’s Answer

There are a few big distinctions you'll have to keep in mind of concerning the osteopathic path.

1. You will have to work a bit harder to get into residencies that have traditionally mainly taken MD candidates. That is decreasing as time passes but some residencies and some specialties are still MD biased such as Plastics or Derm and prestigious academic institutes. In the grand scheme and on average, MD students get first pick at residencies, DO students second (but not by much) and International medical students are last including Caribbean. That's a general statement but unfortunately it holds true.

2. During medical school you will have to learn osteopathic manipulation (OMT or OMM), at least 200 hours of in-class experience not including study time for exams. What is OMT? It's a combination of physical therapy and chiropractic theory. Some techniques are well within the confines of acceptable science while other techniques are not. Regardless, you'll have to memorize them for boards and examinations. OMT is perhaps helpful in family outpatient practice but not really anywhere else. 200 + hours spent on this subject could be 200+ hours split in studying more relevant material such as pathology and pharmacology.

3. You will have to take at least the osteopathic boards (COMLEX 1,2, PE and 3) and to be competitive for the more prestigious residencies, you'll want to take the MD boards as well (USMLE 1+2, you can skip the physical exam and 3). Same testing subject (minus OMT for USMLE) but tested in differing ways. USMLE tends to be a bit more straight forward with longer question stems and information to process versus COMLEX is a bit more esoteric and confusing with less information given and unfortunately poorly written in terms of proper English.

4. Pending on which state you work in, some states require DO's to continue osteopathic continuing medical education (CME) regardless of specialty. What that means is, for example, if you're a general surgeon in say Arizona. You will have to do CME for surgery -- which makes sense -- but also CME for OMT which doesn't make sense.

As for the quality of physician, that depends on the person. I know great DOs and poor DOs. Same goes for MDs and any other professional graduate. Best of luck.