Getting into an osteopathic medical school is a difficult process. You have to be well-rounded in all aspects of your application, and the why osteopathic medicine essay is one part that cannot get overlooked. This why osteopathic medicine essay should not just be any old why osteopathy essay; it needs to show specific details as to why the person wants to become an Osteopath, and why they want to go here instead of another MD school.
What is different about Osteopathic Medical education
Osteopathic Medicine is different than allopathic medicine because it focuses on the whole patient, not just a certain illness. This means that osteopathic physicians are trained in holistic care and provide treatment across all areas of medicine from pediatrics to geriatrics. Osteopaths still receive medical knowledge like an MD does, but they also learn more details about the musculoskeletal system then allopathic or MD students do.
This helps DO students with their OMM skills, which is a reason why they learn so much about the MSK system in medical school.
The holistic idea of DO school can sometimes be miscontrued, and we will get into more details later, but many students include the “holisitc” topic in their essay, but truth is the philosophy of OSteopathic medicine is more holistic, but just because you go to a DO school, doesn’t mean you are more holistic than an MD.
What is different about Osteopathic Physicians
An Osteopathic physician can provide a wide range of treatments and they are well-equipped to handle anything from acute illnesses, like the flu or pneumonia, right up to chronic healthcare needs.
Osteopathic physicians can also prescribe drugs, perform surgery, deliver babies and manage any other type of medical emergency.
Osteopathic physician training is based on the same scientific model that allopathic training is based on. This means DO’s and MD’s receive the same training, with the main difference being the time spent on osteopathic philosophy and OMT.
Those are the main two differences, the philosophy and OMT training.
Breaking down the why osteopathic medicine question
Focus on the osteopathic philosophy and OMT.
Try to avoid talking about how DO’s are more holistic than MD’s because that just isn’t true. Any physician regardless of their medical degree can practice medicine in a holistic manner.
This is the most important part of the essay, and you have to be able to break it down for the reader.
The question is asking why are they applying to an osteopathic medical school instead of an MD program?
This means that there needs to be a reason as to why they want this over another degree or medical education. It cannot be vague, and there needs to be a clear explanation.
The person who is applying should make sure that they are specific about their reason, because this essay can really set them apart from another in the application process.
It needs to be clear and concise with why you want to DO instead of MD school or a different medical program altogether. That way all aspects of your personality shine through in the essay.
Why this is important to osteopathic medical schools
Osteopathic Medical school is different, so DO schools want to see that you are aware of the osteopathic medical school application process. They want to see that you have done your research on what it means to be an Osteopath and why they should take a chance with you as their student.
The essay could show how well-rounded someone’s understanding in medicine is, and this helps understand if someone would be a good candidate for the school.
It is also important for them to see if you know what osteopathic medicine is all about – and if it is what you want to do with your life.
The osteopathic medical school essay will not just help the admissions process, but also in regards to future employment as an Osteopathic physician in your chosen specialty, whether that is family medicine or not.
Schools are looking for people who have a true understanding of the type of work they would be doing and how different their day-to-day would be.
This is a chance to show them that you are not just applying to get into medical school, but for the profession of osteopathic medicine.
In this essay there needs to be an understanding of what it means and why they want DO school over MD schools.
Focus on the Osteopathic philosophy and OMT/OMM, both of which are discussed in more detail below.
History of the Osteopathic Medical Profession
Osteopathic Medicine started in 1874 with Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, DO- a small town doctor from Kirksville Missouri.
This is the man who first introduced osteopathic philosophy to medical school and pioneered OMT techniques that are still in use today.
He believed there was a connection between patient’s neurological system and their skeletal system when it came to the health of an individual.
He is the one who first coined the term osteopathy, which means “the practice or system based on treating dysfunction by manipulating muscles and bones.”
His philosophy was that there should be a connection between body and mind- not just with patients but also for physicians themselves. He wanted to create medical students who were not only intelligent and hard-working but also compassionate.
He wanted to have a medical school that would go beyond just the anatomy of medicine, which was how he knew MD schools at the time were focused on with their curriculum.
This is why osteopathic philosophy is so different than an MD’s because it looks past what can be seen by the eye – it is about what isn’t seen as well.
AT Still was an MD, and struggled with how medicine was being done. He wanted to do it a different way, and so he developed OMT and the principles and philosophy of osteopathy and decided to start training others in the trade and eventually this developed into Osteopathic Medical schools.
The Osteopathic Philosophy
Osteopathic philosophy is a different way of practicing medicine, and it is focused on the body’s ability to heal itself.
This idea was spearheaded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still who believed that there were three principles in osteopathic philosophy- all of which are detailed below:
·Musculoskeletal Manipulation – The belief that a muscle or joint problem can produce symptoms that have nothing to do with the source of a problem, or the path it takes.
·Body’s ability to heal itself – The idea that if given enough time and opportunity for healing, an individual will be able to recover from any illness by their own power because they are innately capable of doing so. This is also called the self-healing process.
·The unity of body, mind and spirit – The idea that the human being is more than just a physical entity with an intellect but instead has a soul as well which all three make up who we are. This belief in osteopathic philosophy means that pain can be caused by something emotional or psychological rather than what the patient is describing.
The Body’s Nervous System – The nervous system plays a role in the osteopathic belief of self-healing because it controls and coordinates all bodily activities, including healing responses to trauma or disease.
As you can see, there really are three components to the philosophy of Osteopathic Medicine and are so important to address these in your secondary essays and during your interviews at osteopathic schools.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine or OMM
OMM is an important component of osteopathic philosophy because it is a way to manipulate the body’s muscles and joints.
This type of medicine was pioneered by Dr. AT Still, which makes it an integral part in any DO school application process essay or interview with someone applying for medical schools who want to go into this profession.
OMM involves using different techniques to move a joint in order to release tension that has built up and can create pain or dysfunction.
There are multiple different techniques when it comes to OMM and it is important to know the difference in these techniques and why they are used so that you can address them specifically when writing your essay or talking about osteopathic philosophies.
Myofascial release technique – This type of treatment is used to treat fibromyalgia and chronic pain by applying pressure on a tissue that has been tightened or shortened, which can be caused by muscle contraction.
Trigger Point Therapy – Trigger points are where muscles cramp up because they have become overworked and tense. This type of OMM treatment is used to relieve the pressure in trigger points.
Cranial Sacral Therapy – Cranial sacral therapy can be a helpful technique for people who suffer from migraines, chronic pain or any kind of emotional trauma because this form of osteopathic medicine targets how these parts of the body affect each other.
It is important to know the different types of OMM techniques and their uses when it comes to osteopathic philosophy for medical schools.
Knowing some of the different techniques can really make your essay stand out and can make you look very interested and engaged in the process in both your personal statement and the interview.
Is it really a more holistic approach
No, it is not. It is a more holistic approach to the patient, but that does not make it “more” than other types of medicine because osteopathic philosophy only looks at things from one perspective rather than all aspects of an individual’s life.
Osteopathic approaches look at pain in three ways: as a structural issue with your muscles and joints; as an issue with your nervous system or as a combination of both.
As a whole, the field and its training may be more along the lines of “holistic”, but at the end of the day any physician MD or DO can be holistic in their approach, or they can choose not to be. Their degree isn’t important in that decision that they make.
Does the Osteopathic profession really focus on preventive medicine more
A medical career as a DO is usually in the primary care field, as most DO’s pursue this, so from that standpoint your career path will likely focus on preventive health more as a DO.
It isn’t that osteopathic medical students spend more time on preventive care during their training.
It is simply that most of them end up in the primary care field so, the focus is more on preventive care.
Key points for your Essay
The Osteopathic philosophy and how you want to incorporate that into your practice of medicine.
OMT and what it means to you, and how you think it can be utilized in treatment plans for your patients.
And honestly, that is about it. Try to avoid the holistic plug if you can, most students focus on that and, I think that most admission committees get tired of reading it.
In the end, it’s your story. And that is what admissions committees are looking for when they read these essays – a compelling narrative about who you are and why you want to be an osteopathic physician. So take some time to think of those moments in your life where you felt exhilarated or deeply connected or changed by something. What do they say about who you are? And if there’s one thing I can offer as advice for writing this essay – focus on a few details and dive deep into them– because sometimes the most important things happen right under our noses! Have you applied yet?