I’m starting my volunteer work in a local ER this month. I’m hoping I can gain some clinical experience through that.

I keep reading about shadowing though. I know the more the better, but how much shadowing should an premed student try to do (in other words, I should try to do at least ____ days/hours of shadowing)?

Also, I was thinking about keeping a journal for my volunteer experience and shadowing experience. However, by the time I apply for med school I’ll have around 400 hours of volunteering. I’m afraid my journal would be more like a book and wouldn’t do me any good. On the other hand, I thought I might be able to pick out two or three of the best entries to include with my app (if that’s even possible). Any ideas or advice?


RB - you should answer the how much shadowing question based on the goal of shadowing being able to make sure the life of a physician is for you.

I am just starting this journey, so take anything I say with a grain of salt. However, I have hooked up initially with my own GP. He has agreed that I can shadow him on friday mornings for a yet to be determined length of time. I plan to also shadow someone in EM, pediatrics, geriatrics, podiatry and general surgeon if I can. I will probably do a mix of DO and AD docs, as I am interested from a personal fit view with a DO career.

The point of my shadowing is to both gain a realistic view of how a doc spends their day (not just from a patient and caregiver perspective), but also to take a closer look at some areas of medicine that I am interested in currently.

The amount of time that I spend with each will be based on what time I am offered by these people, and also when I feel I have gotten enough input to feel good about my chosen path.

Hope that helps