- Written by kcho1
Min Je Woo, OMS-IV
Education: Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – Middletown Campus
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
When I first I stepped into St. Barnabas Hospital, I was overwhelmed with anxiety. Would I get along with the residents? Was I going to make a fool of myself? What if I wasn’t good at OMT? All these questions were racing through my mind as I waited for the residents to arrive.
Fast forward a few days – I am having a blast. I finally understand why I so many have said that this is one of the best OMT programs in the country. This rotation has given me greater insight into osteopathy. I now confess – during the first two years of medical school, I believed that I would become a better osteopathic physician by learning techniques. Thus, I invested a lot of effort in learning as many techniques as I could. This rotation taught me that a mastery of the techniques was not the only piece in becoming a better osteopathic physician. Rather, how I incorporate my knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology to look at the patient as a whole was equally as important. I now have a new framework to understand what it means to “think osteopathically.”
Being in a large hospital, I had the opportunity to see OMT applied to very acutely ill hospitalized patients and chronically ill patients as well. The residents are divided into two teams– one team would start in the neonatal nursery and treat all the newborns. The other team oversaw the medical and surgical consult service, starting their morning with hospitalized patients that were ordered an OMT consultation. Various departments within the hospital requested OMT consults, seeing the benefit of OMT in assisting their patient’s recovery. I spent three weeks on the hospital floors and one week in the nursery.
A typical day is quite straightforward. I usually arrived just before 6:30 am. As I waited for the rest of the team to come, I typically took the time to prepare myself for the patient encounters mentally; I would, at times, review my anatomy, or take a few moments to calm myself so that I was better prepared to palpate with gentle, listening hands. I would then see our new consults with a resident and an attending, and follow-up patients with a resident. Following morning rounds and treatments, the team would then go to the outpatient clinic, where we would see various patients with a variety of complaints for a few hours.
I realized that the osteopathic approach I learned in school was just the tip of the iceberg. My training from first and second year provided a solid foundation, but I realized that I needed much more training and practice to develop skills required for clinical practice. My rotation at St. Barnabas Hospital challenged me to be more efficient and precise in my osteopathic diagnostic skills. It also gave me the opportunity to cultivate my palpation and perception skills. I experienced many “ah-ha” moments as I learned to trust my hands.
This rotation was a phenomenal way for me to start my fourth-year rotations, and I highly recommend it to anyone who shares love and respect for osteopathy. The skills that I have gained from this rotation are invaluable and have enabled me to take another big step towards becoming an osteopathic physician.