Shadowing Volunteering--How to Document?

I am full of questions this week! =) You guys are so helpful… can’t tell you how much I am learning from each of you!!

In the last 5 days, I’ve realized that I am VERY lucky to work daily with physician recruiters and with recruited physicians and their practice managers. I am SO excited, because this week I’ve been invited to shadow 6 different physicians whenever it’s convenient for me, as much as I want until I apply to med school… their specialties span internal med, family practice, pediatrics, OBGYN, and oncology.

The oncologist is a close friend and even offered to let me volunteer/work in his practice whenever I can, too. And my daughter’s pediatrician is going to let me come in on Saturday mornings whenever I can. VERY cool!!!

Which leaves me with this question: If all the volunteering and shadowing is an important part of your application, what’s the best way to document everything? Do you keep a log of some kind that the doctor signs off your hours on? Or do you just write it up in your application with a brief description of what you did, and they just take your word for it?

Since I’ll be doing this for almost 2.5 years, I want to make sure that I do it correctly from the beginning! Any advice?

Thanks, and have an amazing weekend!!

Hi Carrie Liz,

What a WONDERFUL opportunity! I’m so happy for you. Here is my suggestion: Keep a SEPARATE log/journal for volunteering and shadowing. (I keep these in a chart or document on my computer, for simplicity’s sake, but feel free to do it how you like.)

For each time that you shadow or volunteer, document down the number of hours first. This is very important, as you will be including this info on your AMCAS application (and you will list volunteering and shadowing as separate “activities” on the application, which is why I suggest keeping separate logs).

If it’s a shadow: type in the person’s name, title, and contact info. (If you shadow one person repeatedly, no need to repeat all that info, obviously.) Then document what you saw – procedures, types of patients, illnesses, etc. Then also write about your reactions – your emotional response, how you felt, what you thought about the experience, what you learned, etc. I don’t think there’s a need to have the doc “sign off” on anything, as long as they agree that you were there!

For volunteering: again, list the # of hours, then the name/title/contact info of your “supervisor” (or whoever is in charge, i.e., the oncologist you mentioned). Then again, document what you saw and what YOU personally DID there. Also, your reactions, emotions, thoughts, what you learned, and so on.

Keeping these logs is important for your AMCAS application, clearly, but also so you can review this information prior to any interviews you have. Then you can talk intelligently about what you have seen and done.

Also – if you do any research, do the same thing. Hours, supervisor, what you did, reactions. (That’s what I’ve done with my research experience.)

This is just my suggestion; feel free to do it however is best for you. Hope this helps!

Have a lovely weekend as well.