FAQ Osteopathic Medicine
(Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is the difference between MD and DO?
- What can I do with a DO degree?
- How is osteopathic medical school (DO) different from allopathic medical school (MD)?
- What are the principles of Osteopathic Medicine?
- What is a CNA and where can I go to get CNA certification in this local area?
- What is a medical scribe?
- What service/volunteer opportunities are available locally with a pre-health focus?
- How do I find out more information about various programs?
1. What is the difference between MD and DO?
Both MDs and DOs are physicians that practice medicine and choose a specialty. The main difference betweena MD and DO is that DOs have additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine, which is a unique type of manual therapy. Osteopathic physicians also work with the patients to help them have a high level of wellness by focusing on health education, disease prevention, and injury prevention.
Although there is a difference in the definitions of a MD and a DO, studies show that DOs are becoming more and more similar to MDs in their practices.
The application process to Osteopathic Medical Schools utilizes a different common application site and the GPA and MCAT requirements are slightly less competitive than that of medical schools.
2. What can I do with a DO degree?
Osteopathic physicians can choose any medical field to go into and can practice anywhere in the United States. Today, statistics show that there are more DOs in primary care than specialties when compared to MDs, but this is subject to change as the DO medical profession continues to rapidly expand.
3. How is osteopathic medical school (DO) different from allopathic medical school (MD)?
The medical training between these two types of medical schools is virtually indistinguishable except that osteopathic medical schools have additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). In OMM training, osteopathic pre-physicians will learn several treatment options to consider when pain is not diminishing such as spinal manipulation. On average, DOs spend more time developing hands-on physical examination skills.
Both schools have the same length of schooling (generally four years) and residency. Both have two years of classroom training followed by two years of clinical training. Following clinical training, students can go on to specialty training in residency and fellowships.
For the Medical Licensing Exam (MLE) Step 1: MD: USMLE required, DO: COMLEX required, USMLE optional.
For the Medical Licensing Exam (MLE) Step 2: MD: USMLE required, DO: varies by program, may require COMLEX or choice of USMLE or COMLEX.
Residency: MD: Allopathic (ACGME), DO: one of either Allopathic (ACGME), Osteopathic (AOA), combined allo/osteopathic, or AOA approval of an ACGME program.
Board Certification: MD: State medical specialty boards, DO: Either allopathic or osteopathic medical specialty boards.
4. What are the principles of Osteopathic Medicine?
Here are four guiding principles of Osteopathic Medicine that differ from Allopathic Medicine. They are used as an underlying philosophy for the education of doctors and the treatment of patients.
1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
5. What is a CNA and where can I go to get CNA certification in this local area?
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, helps patients or clients with healthcare needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Things to consider for CNA training:
Community College: Hours/schedule are more full-time in nature and college credit is also awarded along with certification. Therefore, cost might be higher for credit/certification.
- South Central Community College, Mankato: http://www.southcentral.edu/nursing/certified-nursing-assistant.html
Other Organization: Course offerings tend to be more part-time in nature to accommodate working/students schedules. Cost might also be slightly lower because of no academic credit earned.
- Thro Company, Mankato: http://www.throcompany.com/nursing-assistant-program
- Red Cross, Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Cloud, Duluth: http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/program-highlights/nurse-assistant-training (click on link, scroll down and click on Course Availability)
6. What is a medical scribe?
"Scribes are typically recent college graduates that do the medical documentation who assist a medical provider throughout his or her shift. They serve as a personal assistant to the provider to help make them more efficient and productive. The primary function of a scribe is the creation and maintenance of the patient's medical record, which is done under the supervision of the provider. The scribe will document the patient's story, the provider's interaction with the patient, the procedures performed, the results of laboratory studies, and other pertinent information. This is accomplished by using a laptop or tablet computer, which the scribe takes with him or her throughout the shift.
Additional functions of a scribe may include assisting with the patient's disposition, documenting consultations, and notifying the provider when important studies are completed."
*Source: Elite Medical Scribes: http://www.elitemedicalscribes.com/scribes.html
Scribe Companies in Minnesota:
7. What service/volunteer opportunities are available locally with a pre-health focus?
Gusatvus Service Programs: https://gustavus.edu/servantleadership/communityservice/serviceprograms/
Applications for the above Service Programs are available at the start of the academic year.
Mayo Clinic Emergency Department Volunteer Program: Positions are available Monday-Sunday in the evenings.
8. How do I find out more information about various programs?
Attending an information session, preview day, or visiting campus is a great way to learn more. Here are links to various opportunities.
- Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine –https://www.dmu.edu/admission/discover-dmu/
- Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences - http://www.kcumb.edu/admissions/get-connected/travel-recruitment-fairs/
- Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Midwestern University - http://www.midwestern.edu/news-and-events/university-events/interested-in-a-career-in-healthcare-x10574.html
Updated 7/7/2014 HB