I was wondering how many hours I should spend shadowing a Dr. I have a few friends that are Dr’s now that I can start with, but how long is a good amount? 10hrs? 20hrs? 30? Should I spend a few hours with several types of Dr’s, and quite a bit more with those that I feel more interested in, or those I’d like to ask for a LOR? Thanks again for your help…

It is up to you. A few hours or more? Remember, shadowing is a way for you to see what a doctor’s life is like while seeing patients and a way to get a letter of recommendation. It is not something that will impress the adcoms.

Get a feeling for what it is like being a doctor and see if you really like it. It may also be a way for you to realize why you want to go into medicine and use it for your personal statement.

I recommend shadowing as much as possible.

If you haven’t done it yet, when you do you should be pleasantly surprised by how fascinating it is.

The recurring theme I keep hearing from med schools and advisors is to do it regularly for at least three months. Though, don’t do it just to “check that box” on your app. It’s a great opportunity to see if this journey is really worth it for you, because you won’t get through it if you’re not sure.

Can you help me figure out how to shadow exactly? I’ve called several doctors offices and because of the HIPAA regulation, I believe a lot of doctors are not keen on doing this. Any advice? Thanks!

Contact a teaching hospital. They deal with these requests all of the time.

If you are calling an office of any doctor in a community/ a stranger, HIPAA laws are going to prevent you from getting into the door. The best way would be contact a doctor you know, possibly your family doctor, or ask around your friends if they know any doctors and if they would be willing to recommend you.

Gabe’s idea is good, but it works only if you have a teaching hospital close by.

Good luck,