By Tyler Cymet, DO
Associate Vice President for Medical Education
Growing Up DO
In college I studied more courses in the humanities than in the sciences which, oddly enough, strengthened my desire to become a physician. To me, having a philosophy of care and understanding my role as a physician to individuals and to a community, was just as important as knowing how to synthesize a molecule.
My ambitions in life derived from this philosophy: be a good person and make my life count to others and my community. I wanted the opportunity to cultivate a role in a community that I could belong to. Medical school gave me the direction and training to achieve this desire.
The most miserable period of my life was the waiting for acceptance after applying to both osteopathic and allopathic medical schools. “Would I get in? Am I worthy enough?” Despite my degrees in anthropology, psychology and Hebrew language, I feared that my mentors might not grant me the privilege of caring for other people. Thankfully those fears did not come true and I was accepted to both allopathic training at Northwestern University School of Medicine, and osteopathic training at Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine. I choose Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Choosing osteopathic over allopathic training was a simple choice for me as the osteopathic philosophy is closest to mine. I believe a physician should possess a complete understanding of not only the physical and mental aspects of their patients, but also the ethereal. Much more than allopathic training, osteopathic medical education cultivates a primary care focused, holistic, person-based care provider.
I was on a third year rotation on a reservation in the Badlands of South Dakota when I first realized I made the right choice by entering this profession. I was being driven to an outpatient care facility, equipped with only a stethoscope and prescription pad, and was expected to connect quickly with and decide on treatment for my patients. Do I ask for help, refer, provide simple care, or send them to the hospital? As scared as I was to be treating this rural population, I knew that the care I provided was positively impacting their lives and their community, and I was proud to be there.
Osteopathic medical school was the right choice. It gave me more than just knowledge, it taught me a way to apply that knowledge to reach my goals. I learned how to touch and relate to my patients. I learned how to treat the whole person with comfort and care. I learned how to follow the lifestyle advice I was giving.
Today, when I leave work, I know that I have treated my patients to the best of my abilities. The success I have with my patients, and my involvement in the community, is due to the education I received at osteopathic medical school. It shaped my approach to life.
Thirty years later I am thankful for the road that osteopathic medicine has paved for me. My friends, who are part of the osteopathic community, are exercisers, prudent eaters, and caring critical thinkers. We have become professionals. We have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others and to live our own lives in a balanced way.