PG Hospital Shadowing Experience

I am starting my first shadowing experience in the ED at Prince George’s hospital (affiliated with GWU), and I am really excited albeit nervous too. Any advice? The doctor that set up the visit wasn’t very specific about what I should do when I show up? Should I just go directly to the ED and ask for the doctors that I am supposed to be working with? Do you ask a lot of questions, or will that be seen as annoying and distracting for the busy residents? What should I wear?
And, I apologize in advance for the naive nature of the questions, but I just want to make sure that I am prepared to make the most of the experience.

You’re best bet would be to contact the Doc that set this up for you, so that you don’t have to guess, if that’s possible. If not, then I guess the best thing would be to show up at the main ED reception desk and tell them why you’re there. As far as what to wear, well, I’m sure that varies for every ED. For the ED that I volunteered/shadowed in, I wore slacks, comfy dress shoes, and a polo style shirt. It’s really hard to say exaclty because some ER docs will wear slacks, shirt, tie, and white coat, while others just go with scrubs. I don’t think you could go wrong with some casual slacks, comfy dress shoes, decent shirt, and bring tie in case it’s needed at least until you can get a better feel for what’s expected. Hope this helps.

Chad, I’ve never worked at the PG ER but know the attendings at GW so here’s my advice: at the PG ER you’ll definitely want to dress casual. Not jeans, but one step up. I think a tie would be WAY too dressed up there. If you don’t communicate with the doc ahead of time, just go to the main ER and ask for him/her by name. Relax, have fun! It’s a teaching facility and the ER attendings I worked with over the past few weeks were terrific.

The only thing I would add is that if you have a white lab coat, wear it. Every time I shadowed, that was a requirement.

As for asking questions, I would say, ask away. One of the reasons I think I have a great relationship with the docs I work with today is because of the interest (both medical and career) I expressed in asking questions back when I was volunteering. Continuing to work with them and have their advice and insight is one of the reasons I juggle my med school schedule to work part time (16 hr/mo).
Just my two cents,

Thanks everyone! I emailed the doctor who coordinated everything today to ask about when and where to show up, etc. Stay tuned. I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it went!

Good luck. It is an interesting experience to be there as a student/observer and not as a patient. You’ll enjoy yourself and wish you could jump in and start treating patients too.