Dear Mothers in Medicine,
First of all, thank you for being so helpful and encouraging. When trying to decide whether or not to pursue medicine, I read just about every post and every comment on here! Now I am writing to pick your brains about MD/DO. There is a lot of information out there on the residency "merger," and the differences and similarities of the MD and DO approach.
However, I am writing to you because I want to know how getting a DO degree over an MD degree might impact my future specifically as a mother.
Right now I can either apply DO this cycle (the application season is longer) and start school in the Fall of 2016 or wait to apply next year to MD and DO programs and have more options, but start in the Fall of 2017. I am already 27, so starting sooner is very appealing to me, but I don't know how much my age should matter. Either way we will be having children while I am in medical school and residency.
Although I am pretty set on primary care, I worry that I could be wrong. Two years ago when I started this journey, I didn't think I really liked science --- I thought I just needed to get thru the pre-reqs so I could go into pediatrics or FM to provide care to rural and underserved communities. Turns out though, I LOVE science. For a few good hours I considered pursuing a PhD in biochemistry instead of medical school.
Now there is a small part of me that wants to keep my options open incase I fall in love with a specialty I don't even know exists yet, or if I decide to do research. But this --- always wanting to keep all my options open for as long as possible --- is one of my weaknesses and I don't know how much to indulge that part of me!
From reading all the posts on here that mention osteopathic medicine, it seems like a few regret their decision to go DO (momstinfoilhat and RH+) while a few (mostly students) left more positive comments. RH+ wrote in 2008:
"Don’t become a D.O. Right now you are sure that you are going to practice rural family medicine, this will change when you start rotating through different specialties. You are being told that being a D.O. will not affect your ability to get into residency. This is not true. You will seek to match in a competitive specialty, and it will be harder for you to get a spot. It will also make it harder to get a fellowship."
But, this was back in 2008. So I don't know if it is still true? I also saw someone mention that DOs have to do more away rotations in their third year than MDs? With the young children we hope to have, this could be frustrating.
A few physicians on here have mentioned taking time off to care for a newborn and doing research during their time off. Is this an option that is available to DOs? I ask because I haven't heard of any DOs doing it, but I like the flexibility that idea offers.
So, all this to ask, if going the DO route limits our choices later (in terms of a research year to care for a new baby or options for residency locations or job locations... which could limit access to family support), then maybe I should wait the extra year and try for MD while also applying to DO schools?
To those on hiring committees (MD and DO), have you or your colleagues ever passed over DO applicants in favor of MD applicants?
To DOs who are doing their residencies and DOs who are working: Did you feel limited in the match or when applying to jobs? Do you regret your decision to go DO? Do you feel like you have had to work harder to prove yourself as competent as those with MD degrees? Did you feel like your clinical training (years 3+4) was as strong? Can you think of any unexpected ways being a DO might have influenced you and your families lives?
Thank you so, so much for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate any help and advice you can share.
All the best,
Confused pre-med and pre-mom