Doctor Shadowing

Hey all,
I am considering shadowing a few doctors in the near future. But I have was wondering what this actually means? Do you pretty much just go to work with them and experience the actually day of a doctor? How long is this usually done for? A day? A week? A month?
Anyone that has done a shadow please comment on your experience.

i haven't shadowed anyone for an extended period of time. Im supposed to be shadowing at this inner city clinic now but only for 3 hours a month (I didn't set it up). Im looking for another opportunity at the moment.
As for shadowing, I got to shadow an osteopathic anethesiologist last year. We talked for a bit. He introduced me to the patient for who I got to see a procedure done. He just had me standing in the back while he injected some medicine into this guy's spinel cord. He was explaining everything as he was doing it. It was interesting and Id love to do it more, but you dont do anything on hands really. Or it might ahve been my own experience that kept me from doing anything.

I shadowed a pediatrician in last fall. I went to his office for about 3 hours every Friday morning for about 10 weeks. I just followed him into the room with his patients, listened a lot, got to see some interesting stuff (ear infections, catheterization, skin conditions, etc.), and then he would explain his diagnosis after we left the room. It was really eye-opening as to what a “day in the life of the pedi” is like. We talked a little about billing, insurance, handling patients and their parents,etc.
I also volunteer in an ICU once a week. Since they know I’m a student, I’ve been invited to observe some procedures. I’ve seen a couple of intubations, replacement of a thoracotomy tube(?) and an endoscopy(fascinating!).

I've done a little shadowing.
My orthopedist let me watch him perform surgery for a day. It was AMAZING. As someone whose attention span isn't the longest in the world, I was transfixed and loved every minute of it.
Then a neurologist let me follow him around and that was really interesting, too. I really appreciated the fact that the patients allowed me to be there when he examined them.
The best part – to me – was that I just got the sense that this is something I can see myself doing.
My advisor has told me that a good thing would be to get an idea of the hours and to see both success and failure – he stressed that he thinks it is good to see a doctor deal with a frustrating case.

I think your experiences in shadowing can be as different as night and day.
I spent a full week during spring break shadowing three different doctors, 2 D.O.s and 1 M.D., all in a group and Ass. Profs. of the Univ. of Oklahoma Family Medicine Residency Program. I found each doctor had his own way of relating to patients, and each had their own way of relating to me as well.
The youngest of the three allowed me no more than simply going in and listening and observing him as he worked with the patients. This was okay, and I thought that was what it all would be like. The second doctor, a man I have known for several years after tutoring his daughter through Gen Chem, Org. Chem I, and Anatomy, allowed me a lot more involvement; assisting with a minor surgery, being handed the baby after a routine delivery, talking with the patients, helping gather up medication samples, etc. I even gave his a suggestion for one of his patients and he went right back into her room and told her I had thought of it and that it was a good idea to try. The third doctor was fantasic! After observing him with his first patient of the day, he had me go in to the next patient and take a history. Then I reported back to him what I had found, and we discussed how I had handled the job. I did that with every patient the rest of the day. We then went in together to the patient's room, and he allowed me to listen to hearts, participate in procedures, etc. He even told me that I was better than many third or fourth year med students!
Also, because it was a residency program, I was allowed to make rounds with the residents twice that week. Everything from morning report to visiting all the patients on their service. I loved every minute of it, and I found that my background allowed me to understand most of what they were discussing!
Most of all, I loved discussing the cases with the doctors after the patients left. I found the patient-doctor relationships all to be good and strong ones, which impresses me a great deal. When the last doctor asked me at the end of the week if I still thought I wanted to do family medicine, I told him that the week had taught me that this was absolutely the right decision for me; that it just feels right; it fits.
So, I guess what I'm saying is try to find doctors that will let you participate as much as possible in the routine day-to-day activities. And while you are there, be sure to enjoy yourself! It really is fun!