I didn’t know about osteopathic medicine until I attended my first college organization fair. It never dawned on me that there was another branch of medicine that I would soon come to admire. Growing up, I have always viewed a physician as someone who sees patients, identifies the illness, and prescribes medication. Learning about osteopathic medicine entirely changed my perspective of healthcare physicians. I’ve come to envision a physician as someone who is able to diagnose patients holistically, as a health educator, and an advocate for patients’ well-beings.
My desire to become a physician comes from a passion for helping others live life to their fullest capabilities. I hope to achieve that through patient-provider relationships wherein I am able to help ill people become well again. Upon learning about the values and principles of osteopathic medicine, I was drawn to the holistic approach of evaluating patients and the view of the human body as a single functioning unit with self-healing abilities. When I changed my major to Human Development and Family Sciences during my sophomore year of college, I learned to take a step back and look at the human body as an integration of the mind, body, and spirit – how all three components influence one another to contribute to our well-being. I took various classes that taught me how biology, psychology, and sociology all work together to shape the human body. I began to understand that our bodies are complex and that when someone becomes ill, it’s due many factors that we must take into account. With that in mind, I decided to pursue osteopathic medicine as my interests are similarly aligned with the osteopathic principles.
With all these thoughts of osteopathic medicine in my head, I wanted to experience what is like to be an osteopathic physician from day to day. I was lucky to have gotten a chance to shadow a family medicine osteopathic physician for an entire month. During that time, I discovered what osteopathic manipulative techniques (OMT) is, observed high quality doctor-patient interactions, and learned how osteopathic doctors view patients holistically. I was fascinated with OMT and at how intimately and quickly a physician is able to bring relief to patients in times of pain. The trust that a patient places in the hands of a physician during their most vulnerable moments is so astounding to me and further fortifies my desires to become a healer and patient advocate. I immediately fell in love with the day to day dynamics of being not only a family doctor, but also an osteopathic physician. The care and genuine concern of the physician I shadowed during the patient visits solidified my dreams of going into medicine.
These days I am still questioned a lot when I bring up osteopathic medicine to family, friends, and acquaintances. Although the numbers of osteopathic physicians are growing, this branch of medicine remains fairly unrecognized by many. Unfortunately sometimes when people are aware of DO physicians, it’s usually in an inferior manner to allopathic medicine. My hopes are that eventually people will come to know of osteopathic physician, not for the letters at the end of a physician’s name, but for its holistic values and principles. I am glad that I attended the organization fair during my first year of college because had I not, I most likely would not have discovered such an amazing, if not essential, form of medical practice.
Anne is a recent college graduate and pre-med student. She has a lifelong desire to attend medical school and become a physician. Currently, she is studying for the MCAT and plans to apply to medical school this May. With her blog as a creative outlet, Anne enjoys writing in her free time and promoting the importance of self-care in daily living. She hopes to be an inspiration to those on long and difficult journeys to their dreams. You can check out her blog at www.loveandscrubs.wordpress.com and her Instagram @loveandscrubs_
There are more than 100,000 DOs in the US, practicing in every medical specialty. Want to visit a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine? Check out the DOs in your area.