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Marcus Finch, son of Sally and Randy Finch, is sure his friends in Orchard remember him for his love to argue.
He loved to argue so much, he assumed that becoming a lawyer was a logical choice for his career.
“One of my projects in high school was to write a paper for Mrs. Cooper,” said Finch. “We had to pick a career and then write an entire paper about what that career was about. I did corporate law because anybody who knows me even remotely knows that I like to argue and so law was just kind of getting paid to argue which kind of sounded like a good deal to me.”
Over 10 years later, however, Finch is pursuing a very different career.
Finch remembers Dr. Botha, a physician originally from South Africa who dedicated time to the Orchard Clinic, as the man who inspired him to pursue medicine.
“My junior year of high school I ended up getting an ear infection,” Finch remembered. “Nothing majorly traumatic, and Dr. Botha didn’t treat me himself, he referred me to Norfolk. But how he handled everything was just compassionate and made me think, ‘Maybe there’s something better out there for me.’”
Finch was recently began his journey as a medical student at the Des Moines University Medical School’s White Coat Ceremony. Although Finch’s path to medical school hasn’t been the fastest or easiest, he is finally on the final leg to becoming a doctor.
Finch graduated from Orchard High School in 2003 and went to UNO on a scholarship.
“Originally when I started going to school at UNO, I had gotten a full ride with a scholarship,” explained Finch. However, the scholarship had specific requirements. “Basically in order to get a full ride I had to get a bioinformatics degree.”
Finch gave it a try, but quickly realized that software development was not his passion.
“I learned really quickly how much I absolutely hate computer programing,” Finch said laughing. “So I changed. I kind of did some manipulation to keep my scholarship but actually managed to switch degrees. in order to graduate in a timely manner I just switched to plain old biology.”
After finishing his bachelor’s degree, Finch went on to complete the prerequisites for medical school and then enrolled in graduate school in Des Moines University.
Most students choose to immediately go on to medical school after their bachelor’s degree, but Finch chose a unique path to his end goal.
It wasn’t until spending some time in Colorado, Lincoln and completing a masters program that Finch finally started medical school.
His detours weren’t so much detours as life opportunities for Finch. During that time, Finch gained valuable experience in clinical settings and met his wife, Hayden Finch, who is originally from North Carolina.
“There’s been some opportunities and life decisions that I’ve tried to take advantage of,” explained Finch. “It’s been a long winding road but the destination has always been the same. It’s just I’ve taken a detour or two along the way to get where I’m going.”
What’s A DO?
Now that Finch knows where he is going, it’s not where he originally planned to go. In four years, instead of being Marcus Finch, MD, which stands for doctor of medicine, he will be Marcus Finch, DO, doctor of osteopathic medicine.
As Finch explained it, MDs and DOs are both qualified physicians and both attend medical school.
“The MD philosophy and the DO philosophy are very similar. There’s a lot of overlap. If you were to do a venn diagram with circles of the two the circles would almost completely overlay, there’d be very little difference between the two.”
Expertise in Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is the main distinguishing factor between DOs and mainstream medicine.
Finch didn’t think about pursuing medicine as a DO until his masters program, and the more he learned the more convinced he became about his choice to pursue a career as a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Finch’s passion for becoming a DO was clear as he explained that osteopathic medicine takes a more holistic approach, and is so effective that sometimes can even seem magical.
“One example is one of my classmates she has had neck pain. It wasn’t a huge deal, just like an ache, but it had been going on for years. She tweaked it one day and went to the doctor. They prescribed some medicine and nothing really worked much.”
However, she hadn’t tried OMT from a DO. “She got into the DO program and got to talking to the doctors and they said, ‘Well just make an appointment and come in and we’ll see what we can do.’”
Finch’s friend made the appointment with the DO, and just a couple hours later noticed an immediate difference in her neck pain. “She came back and she goes. ‘My neck pain is gone!’ and she goes, ‘What’s even crazier is she (the doctor) fixed it and she never even touched my neck.’”
As a doctor, Finch is concerned with making sure his patients experience relief when they visit his office and is convinced that skills he learned as a doctor of osteopathic medicine will help his patients experience immediate relief.
From Orchard To Doctor
Although now Finch’s passion for becoming a DO is obvious, he didn’t always expect to take this path.
In fact, a lot of his life, Finch didn’t even know what a DO was.
“We didn’t have any DOs in Orchard,” explained Finch, “so I didn’t even know what it was until later.”
Orchard may not have given Finch the knowledge of what DOs do, but it gave him plenty of other skills which have influenced him as a future physician.
“I think small towns give you good skills to be likable and personable,” Finch said. “For example, if you go into the grocery store and see Todd and Leah Erb, you say hi and ask them how they’re doing and do quick catch up because you actually know them. As opposed to you grow up in West Omaha and it’s a different checker every week at Bakers. So I think that helps you be more of a people person specially when I hear of people who have moved to the coast and they talk about life in the East Coast as opposed to life in the Midwest and they talk about how everybody here is so friendly and everybody there is not really.”
Finch has already seen how small town friendliness helps him as a doctor. In a simulation for class, Finch noticed how he could empathize and talk to a patient better because of his natural tendency towards friendliness.
However, Finch also recognizes the limitations of growing up in a small town, and is passionate about contributing back.
Among those limitations are a smaller school system and limited access to healthcare.
Finch recognizes that the teachers he had at Orchard Public School were hard working and dedicated, but because it was a smaller system he felt at times he wasn’t challenged enough.
Furthermore, Finch recently realized that most of Nebraska qualifies as a ‘medically under-served area’.
“Driving 20 minutes to a doctor’s appointment, whether it’s your three month diabetic check or because you’re having a heart attack, is not normal,” Finch said.
Finch hopes to do his part in making healthcare more accessible to small-towns, whether it be visiting small hospitals as a specialist or living in a bigger community while practicing in a close small community.
At the moment, however, he is focused on getting through medical school.
Finch’s wife is a practicing psychologist in Des Moines while he goes to school.
As for the future, Finch has never been shy about changing his mind and following his passions, so he hasn’t got his heart set on any specific specialty.