Shadowing a Physician

Hi, I am interested in shadowing a physician, but feel like I would be intruding on the patients. I’ve done a good bit of volunteering in under-funded hospitals, so I had a lot of patient contact. The patients in those hospitals were just glad for any help they could get though and didn’t seem to notice or care that I was a volunteer. How does the ‘shadow’ thing work?

Hi and welcome to OPM,

Since you have already done some volunteering at that hospital, perhaps you have built a relationship with one of the doctors and you could ask them if you could shadow them for awhile.

I shadowed a pediatric oncologist at the hospital. He was seeing out patients and let me come in during their visits to observe. He would introduce me as a student. I stayed kind of up against the wall and watched. Many times the patient’s parents would start to talk to me as well. The doc I was shadowing didn’t mind this at all and I really felt like I learned alot about patient/doctor interactions.

Patients usually don’t mind unless they are having a private problem or a personal problem that they wouldn’t want to share with someone else. I only did this 4 or 5 times over a 2 month period. Just enough time to let me know I still wanted to pursue med school. A friend of mine shadowed a DO for 6 months. I guess it all depends on how long you want to do it.

SOme people put it on their application under experiances, but I didn’t. I didn’t do it very long and really only did it for my benefit.