Path to D.O. - by Caitlin Warlick
Blog Post by Caitlin Warlick, 25, from Phoenix, AZ & attends KCOM in Kirksville, MO.
I wanted to start this with some advice for anyone who may be interested in osteopathic school and then finish with a little bit about my path and where I am now, two months into being an OMSI. Applying for medical school is no joke, and on top of it all it you have to decide between MD and DO schools. Many people apply to both, I know some apply to one or the other. If you are in the category of applying to both, just DO, or not sure yet, then this may help you.
In July I started my first year at KCOM – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Since then, I’ve had many premed friends ask me what to write for supplemental applications and what I direct them to is the four tenats of an osteopathic physician and school mission statements. Osteopaths focus on whole person healthcare and the four tenants are: the body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit; the body is capable of self-regulation, self healing, and self-maintenance; and rational treatment is based on understanding the principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
It may have been that I grew up with a chiropractor as a father, but practicing health has always been a lifestyle for me. I remember having my dad bring models of spines to school as an elementary student to show my class about what he did. His passion and practice of holistic healthcare is what laid the foundation for me. I was able to see him give adjustments and then the body would do the rest, heal itself. He would come home telling my family about the people that he had helped each day. For example, someone wasn’t able to walk when they came in and in just a few visits he had restored their ability to function.
It wasn’t until college that I really learned what a DO was, and that I could take everything my dad had modeled to me growing up, and more. It’s important to me to look at the person as a whole and not as a set of symptoms. I look forward to establishing rapport with my patients and coming up with plans of care together that involve preventative medicine, too.
Since we learn osteopathic manipulative treatment, anatomy is heavily integrated into our first year. Understanding the way the body works as a unit is essential. We have an additional class called The Complete Doctor where we learn about patient interaction and how to be compassionate and professional physicians. What I really like about KCOM is that they start providing us with clinical experiences to shadow doctors in our first year of school and we do patient simulations. The studying and course material can get to be a lot at times but having those clinical experiences reminds you of why you are in medical school and that it is all worth it.