There’s no doubt that the first few months of medical shadowing are overwhelming. Preparation is essential before starting. Shadowing a doctor is the perfect opportunity to obtain the vital clinical exposure needed for any med school admission. Whether you’re undertaking shadowing because of your interest or it’s mandated by your curriculum, your approach can make it a meaningful part of your medical education. For any pre-med, shadowing a doctor should be considered a necessity.
In this article, we will discuss the essential things that medical students should know before starting their shadowing experience:
To fully leverage your shadowing break, you have to plan beforehand. Determine which specialty you want to pursue down the lane, and when is the right time to get the experience. Moreover, figure out where you want to shadow a physician. You can consider volunteering at hospitals, health fairs, clinics, or medical centers to get real exposure to patients and physicians.
Choose your Career Path:
It is important to know whether you are planning to pursue medicine as your career path or not. Uncertainty can lead to distraction and lack of focus which is really important in shadowing a doctor. Another necessary thing is to plan out the field of your specialization.
It is a prerequisite to understand what exactly you are looking for before starting shadowing.
It’s likely too early to determine exactly what type of doctor you’d like to become. However, doing some initial research can help you gain a better understanding of which roles might be a good fit. Be sure to consider what topics interest you most, how you see yourself interacting with patients, and your inherent skills.
Make the most of your experience
Once you’ve lined up an opportunity for shadowing a doctor, the real excitement starts. You might feel a little nervous before starting your first day, but there’s really no need to worry. No one is going to expect anything from you. The objective of this experience is for you to gain exposure to that specialty so you can learn more about the practice of medicine. So be confident and Don’t forget to take your notes. Always be ready and willing to learn and see whatever the physician or the PA is telling you to do. It’s a teaching moment for them and they want you to see that you are ready and willing. Try to be a good observer. Don’t hesitate to ask questions because the main goal is to get knowledge. Try to gain as much as you can because this practical learning procedure can groom your personality too.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something because if you don’t know it, they’ll help you understand and will let you know what you should know. It’s okay to not know everything because it’s still the learning phase of one’s life.
After completing the Shadowing, it is advised to medical students to request a letter of recommendation. This letter of recommendation from the physician they were shadowing can help them to find a medical college.
This acts as proof that you have an uncanny ability to become a successful physician, which will eventually bolster your personal statement and interview for medical school admissions.
Remember, shadowing a doctor is a privilege and a learning opportunity. Approach it with professionalism, respect, and a willingness to learn. By being prepared and knowledgeable about what to expect, you can make the most of your shadowing experience and gain valuable insights into the medical field.