I have a question. Has anyone had trouble finding a doctor that will allow you to shadow? I’ve shadowed in my local ER but that is the extent of what I’ve been able to do. I tried shadowing with my family doctor but she only accepted shadowing that was set up through my school. Just wanted to know if anyone has had this issue or not. I am lovin this forum, so much information and like-minded people. I would appreciate any advice that ya’ll can give.


Paul- 34 y/o , married with 1 boy 11 yrs old.

2nd yr pre-med going for B.S in chemistry.

University Alabama at Birmingham

“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, remains and is immortal.”-Albert Pine

My experience has been that you should not expect open arms. You need to persevere and keep asking different physicians.

I know that there is a site to shadow DOs, but since it was not my focus I can’t help you there. Perhaps a DO fellow will pitch in here.

I had about 50h of shadowing, over 5 or 6 (long days)with 2 docs. You don’t need much, but enough to say: been there, saw it, liked it, want to do it.

Thanks for your info, I will take your advice and keep asking. There is a local DO in the town I live in, so I may ask him.


I’ve been having trouble in this arena too. There are 4 major hospitals in my area, and only one has been very accommodating in terms of shadowing. I had things lined up with another doc in the ER of one of the hospitals and the hospital administration blocked it. My wife is a rad tech who works with cardiologists, and one of the docs she works with was willing, and again got denied based on the fact that they didn’t want to deal with the HIPAA paperwork.

Anyway, keep going with it. I’m working on some of the hospitals a little outside of my local area now to see if they may have some opportunities.

Almost all hospitals have a volunteer office through which you would arrange shadowing. They should have HIPAA training in place (sometimes done online) and paperwork you’ll have to fill out. Most hospitals have a variety of opportunities for volunteers (not just the ER). But it depends, of course, on the size of the hospital. Bigger hospitals will logically have more options.

You can also try to contact individual physicians but that’s generally a little harder to set up. Going through a volunteer office usually requires a minimum number of hours, which is a good thing. Med schools like to see that sort of commitment.



Thanks Liza! You are right! I found that contacting physicians directly is quite difficult. I’ve already signed up for shadowing at my local hospital through the educational director. She is helpful when it comes to shadowing nurses but not shadowing doctors.

I begin my shadowing journey in a few weeks. I was lucky that I spent a lot of time with my mom’s cardiologist while she was ill and he is allowing me to shadow him on weekends when he is on service seeing patients. He told me that I get to wear a white coat!! (I am going to have to really compose myself when the time comes, I am SO excited)

I also have in the works to shadow a friend’s husband who is an Emergency Medicine Dr who works mostly nights.

I basically have just been asking any Dr that I have a connection with. I may be annoying, but my persistence has paid off in some aspects. I even was in to see my internist for a sinus infection last week and asked if I could shadow her. She seemed a bit taken a back at first, but did say that I could go through her office when I was ready to start shadowing.

The local hospital here requires an orientation and to receive a badge for clearance.

Good luck!!!