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Following the Spark  – Interview with Kennedy Sherman, OMS-III

Part of the inaugural class of The Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, Kennedy Sherman, OMS-III, is intent on being part of the change in the osteopathic community.

Here, Sherman—who also participates in the NBOME Student Experience Panel—shares her thoughts on utilizing practice questions and COMLEX-USA Level 1 going Pass/Fail, and her experience thus far on the Road to DO Licensure.

Why did you decide to choose osteopathic medicine as a profession?

In high school, I was interested in the medical field, already loving science and math classes. When I tore my ACL my junior year, I got the spark when I realized I wanted to pursue an occupation in the medical field. Throughout college, I shadowed different physicians, but still did not know the difference between MDs and DOs. It was not until my junior year when I visited OSU that I learned what osteopathic medicine was and the tenets that highlighted the whole person. I immediately loved the place, loved the people—loved the practice.

How do osteopathic principles stand out to you personally?

In the first year of medical school, you learn the tenets. You memorize them, know them by heart, but I feel like you never fully make a connection to them until you see them happen in real life. Whether it is an athlete who has something going on mentally that is making them physically fatigued or it’s RSV season where children are needing simple rib-raising techniques to help their body self-heal, it has been really eye-opening for me to see what we learned come to life.

How do you feel about COMLEX-USA going pass/fail and what was your experience in taking the exam?

I took the exam on the very first day of it going Pass/Fail. With Level 1 being my first board exam, I knew there was going to be a lot of pressure on how I performed. Since the test was Pass/Fail, it took some of the stress away from getting a high score and allowed me to focus more on learning the material. Getting a Pass gave me a boost of confidence and sense of accomplishment. I recently was invited to join the NBOME Level 1 Score-Reporting Task Force to help advise on the delivery of information provided to the students.

Did you also take USMLE?

I did not take Step 1. After joining the NBOME’s Student Experience Panel and hearing some of the discussions about DO advocacy, I decided that I did not need to take both exams, especially since they are both Pass/Fail.

While I have not picked what specialty I’m going into, I do not plan to take Step 2 either. With the single accreditation system for graduate medical education merger that recently happened, I believe my COMLEX Level 2-CE score will be a great testament of my knowledge for residency programs.

How did you prepare for COMLEX, and what advice do you have for others about to take the exam?

Since I knew I was going to take Level 1 in May, I started planning early. In February, I made my daily schedule and chose what resources worked best for me. The biggest thing I would recommend is to do a lot of practice questions. During the spring semester, I started incorporating practice questions into my study habits. This allowed me to get used to the exam format and wording. If you are familiar with the way questions are asked prior to studying for your exam, it will allow you to shift your focus towards learning the material and getting your timing down.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next stage of your journey?

I started rotations in July and have completed five different rotations. I’m getting to the point where I am excited to see what specialty I decide to pursue. So far, I have enjoyed all my rotations, which is a good and bad thing because how am I going to choose?

Honestly, finding what I am passionate about is what I am looking forward to in the future. As of now, I am really interested in family medicine, pediatrics, and sports medicine. However, I am continuing to keep an open mind while finishing rotations, as I still have a few more specialties that I am looking forward to rotating with in the upcoming months. Where will I end up?