Job shadowing conduct?

Not having shadowed before, I’m sort of wondering…what do you do? Do you just walk around behind the doctor like a puppy all day? Do you ask questions? In private but not in front of a patient? Did you bring a notebook with you to write things down? Obviously I’m really clueless here.

I’m going to shadowing in radiology and the ER at first, and then possibly some other departments. Just don’t want to do anything wrong, though I’m sure it can vary from place to place.

I just saw my doctor, and he was being shadowed. The student simply stood in the room and smiled, observing what happened without asking or adding anything (or taking any notes, that I saw). I assume she wrote down her impressions afterward.

What spoxjox notes is what I would expect to be the proper shadowing behavior. You don’t want to slow the physician down and you don’t want to make the patient nervous that you’re documenting everything that’s being said/done. Use the time to absorb what is going on during the patient encounter and then prepare thoughtful questions to ask when time allows. Also, putting together a more generalized reaction to the day’s experiences is a good way to wrap up and to review before writing your personal statement.

Totally agree with spox and MD2. I don’t document stuff and avoid interactions with the patient. Although, in my case the doc I shadow (who is a friend and colleague), presents me as Dr redo. Because I have a PhD, so in the eyes of the patient my presence is not necessarily an issue.

But, definitely, when you shadow, you should be just that, a shadow. And do not wait before putting stuff on paper. The same evening or so. I keep an excel spreadsheet, with dates, hours, and comments on cases that I found exciting and heart breaking (and there are a lot of the latter unfortunately).

All comes down to : " Yeah, I have seen what it is, sometimes it is great and sometimes it is bad. But I am sure I want to do this". Important for the interview but I think even more important for you.

Thanks for the comments. I’ll be just that, a shadow, and see what I see. I suppose the experience can go either way. It’s being set up through the hospitals clinical training group, so no idea if the doctors involved welcome the shadow or are being told they have to deal with it. I’m sure that can affect the experience quite a bit.

Note taking? Did not do that. Will consider it as I would do better writing down terms to remember. We ran into a lot of the same terminology. But, if I don’t write it down and see how it’s spelled, I don’t retain it. I started getting quizzed on ultrasound photos of kidneys and I knew that it would be ________ but, could not recall the term. Urology is unfamiliar. I need to find a good site for urology and refresh myself so that I am prepared next month! I loved the moments afterward the appointment where I was able to ask questions on the physicians perspective and reasoning. So, I took no notes, but, think I might take a small notepad for next time to write down terms and questions.

I would like to know when is it proper to use a physicians first name and when to call him Dr? The doctor I shadowed, I initially met in a class that both my husband and he were taking. So, we were on first name basis. Should I make sure and call him Dr in front of nurses and other physicians? Absolutely in front of patients or around patients. That’s a no brainer. But, what about in office discussion. It seems uncomfortable to be formal. But, I do not want to be rude in any way.

Sounds like you enjoyed your time! With respect to how to address the Dr., I would suggest asking the Dr. directly as to preference in the varied situations. My gut would be, in the professional setting, to use Dr. Most attendings with whom I’ve worked call each other Dr. So-and-so when students, nurses, etc. are around but use first names with each other.

I really had a great time shadowing a radiologist. In addition to the xray/ct/mri readings, I actually watched him do several procedures on patients. I learned a ton when he was going over “films” though (all digital now). Amazing how the radiologists need to be so solid in so many different areas to be able to know when something isn’t right. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to spend more time there.

A great volunteering opportunity came up this week as well, so I think more of my time will be devoted towards that in the future. Persistence!!! Only way to make these things happen sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself.