Medical School: A.T. Still University-
Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
November 26, 2013:
I'm sending this e-mail to just fill you in on my perspective of being a medical student as we are beginning to wind down my first semester here. I believe A.T. Still University-KCOM really was the greatest choice for me. Being the founding school of Osteopathic Medicine, I know I'm getting a great education by a dedicated staff. The faculty here will always go out of their way and try to work with students to make time to clear up any issues a student may have with material. They are extremely dedicated to their students and I couldn't ask any more of them. My classmates are awesome. In a nutshell, these are people that I will probably reference for the rest of my life and my classmates do everything to help one another. There is no sense/aura of competition or any of the horror stories you sometimes hear about with other medical schools. Everyone here is genuine and willing to help, and even the second years assist us by passing down study guides and what not to help us with the material. We just opened a Dental School here and it is in its first year of operating and although I do not know much about it, I do know the dean of the dental school is an awesome guy and worked in Washington D.C. (although I forget what department he worked with). We also have a small bio-med masters program which is a great way for students who may not have had the best grades/profile to get accepted to medical school right away an opportunity to still reach their goal of becoming a physician.
Now, for the education side of things! First and foremost, all the analogies and everything students have probably heard about pancakes and drinking water through a fire hose are 100% accurate. I promise you, if you go to medical school, you will quickly realize that you never worked so hard in your life to just hope when the exams roll around you get that 70% passing grade! Although the workload is insane some days, I wouldn't trade it for the world though. Second thing, there still may be some people on the fence about whether or not I should apply to a M.D. verse a D.O. program and then further question whether or not a D.O. is "as good" as an M.D. In short, D.O.'s are trained the same and can do everything an M.D. can do and then some. One of my favorite parts of school is OMM lab. The ability to treat your patients with a hands on approach is awesome. When you're all sore from sitting at a desk/table hunched over your books and coffee there is nothing better than grabbing one of your classmates and having them do a little quick manipulation on you. Also, in my opinion, if a student has any desire to work with orthopedics, sports medicine, family practice and the list can go on and on; having these extra tools will come in handy. My girlfriend works as an athletic trainer and frequently gets frustrated with the sports med M.D. physicians she works with because their standard protocol is more NSAIDs, narcotics or muscle relaxers because they've never been trained in OMM (Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing M.D. schools, but there are certain fields where it is far more beneficial to know OMM versus others). Now, when dealing with the testing side of school, we are tested in blocks. So we take our exams on our Ipads (yes we are required to have Ipads) and our blocks usually cover 3 weeks of material and cover a wide range of classes. A typical block exam may include testable material from Anatomy, Biochem, Med. Micro, Path, Histology and Nutrition. The theory behind this testing method is to help prepare us for boards because on boards you do not do all anatomy, then move on to all biochem and so on and so forth. Our faculty does try to line things up so we get similar material across the board (as an example when we were studying Anatomy of GI tract, we also covered Physiology of smooth muscle). Finally, on the curriculum side of things, one of my biggest draws to this school was the fully integrated ultrasound curriculum we have. As ultrasound units continue to be developed with enhanced clarity, ultrasound may very well be the new stethoscope for physicians in the future. Patients also like the idea that they can see what's going on as the doctor/ultrasound tech is performing the scan. As far as I know, unless things changed, there are roughly 5 medical schools in the country (M.D. or D.O.) that have an integrated ultrasound curriculum.
Sorry for the length of this email and I hope it can help you/your students with any concerns they may have. If you or your students have any questions for me, just shoot me an e-mail and I'll try to reply as promptly as possible. If you choose, you can forward this on to the students or copy/paste bits of it. One last thing that I would encourage all students applying to medical school to be mindful of is that you must do things besides medical school to keep your sanity. You will be put under an insane amount of stress, but if you like working out, drawing/painting, singing, hunting (which is my go to and there is awesome hunting around Kirksville) then you need to get out and do that! Attached here is the picture of my deer that I shot a week or 2 ago!