A long while back, I wrote about how shadowing a physician was one of the essential things that you need to add to your medical school application. If you would like to read that post, then you are more than welcome to read it by clicking here.
I originally thought that I would make an additional post describing in detail the importance of shadowing a physician, but I feel that the above mentioned post explains that sufficiently enough. What I have noticed is that a lot of fellow pre-meds have asked me how I have gotten the opportunities to shadow physicians since they are struggling and so I would like to take the time to tell you how I did it.
Let me tell you, shadowing a doctor was one of the few things that I thought that I would never be able to get for my application. I had tried cold calling hospitals, only to get a hold of employees that didn’t know how to help me out. I really had no close connections with anyone in healthcare because no one in my family was involved in it and all of our family friends were dentists or orthodontists. I also didn’t have a family doctor because I had moved around so much in the span of 7 years so I wasn’t able to ask my family doctor.
I was so upset because I had acquaintances that bragged about having all these shadowing hours and cool experiences and I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to get any of my own.
I was at a point where I was very discouraged, but I decided that if I wanted to get a doctor who would be willing to give me some of his/her time, I would have to try a little bit harder. Since I didn’t have any direct connections to physicians I asked friends, family, classmates and even members of my church if they had any names of doctors that they knew and if they had their contact info.
Through that experience, I ended up with two really solid doctors that have let me come shadow them on a regular basis. They have been awesome and have helped better shape my perspective and thoughts on what it is like to be a doctor and what it’s like to go to medical school.
If you are in the same circumstance as me, I would suggest that you try digging a little deeper. You may not have any close connections to doctors, but I guarantee that someone you know does. Also I would definitely suggest doing cold calls to clinics or hospitals, even though it didn’t work out so well for me, I would say that is because I called the wrong people working there. Get in touch with HR or office managers so that you can ask them if there are any doctors that are interested in taking on a student for shadowing. All in all don’t give up!
Do any of you have any suggestions as to good methods to finding opportunities to shadow?