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Medical Shadowing – What Premedical Students Need to Know

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If you are applying to an MD program and want to add some meaningful experience to your medical school application, start looking for medical shadowing opportunities. Having some clinical experience will make you a competitive medical school candidate and bolster your chances of obtaining a slot in a top medical school.

Medical school admission committees look for candidates who have some physician shadowing experience as it shows their dedication to medicine and helps them select for their institute. Many premedical students are unaware of the concept of medical shadowing and don’t know how to shadow a doctor and find physician shadowing opportunities.

This post is meant to guide premedical students to understand the benefits of physician shadowing and how to obtain some clinical experience before applying to medical school.

What is Medical Shadowing?

Physician shadowing allows you to build a better understanding of different medical specialties and help you decide what kind of doctor you want to be. It is a great opportunity for medical students to get the clinical experience needed to perform well in medical school and clinical rotations.

Many medical schools don’t require physician shadowing experience but adding it to your medical school application will help the admission committee decide that you are the right candidate and is eligible to become a doctor.

Prospective medical students are recommended to find physician shadowing opportunities to gain some clinical experience as it helps them decide whether a career in medicine is right for them. It allows you to experience what it actually means to practice medicine and gives you a clear idea of the medical specialty that you want to pursue.

If you want to be a doctor and want to gain admission to a medical school, medical shadowing is your chance to get firsthand experience from a practicing physician.

When to Start Physician Shadowing?

For many premedical students, finding a physician shadowing opportunity is a somewhat difficult undertaking. They find it hard to gain premedical job experience and wonder where and when to start. If you have made up your mind to become a doctor and are waiting for the next admission cycle to submit your medical school application, it is advised to start finding medical shadowing opportunities as early as possible.

Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your admission application. Start finding the physician shadowing opportunities at the beginning of the freshman year. Keep in mind that each medical school wants to hire talent with shadowing experience and want to know what you have learned from those opportunities.

Getting clinical experience early allows you to build up clinical experience that truly shows your commitment to a career in medicine. So, start your shadowing experience as early as possible and do your best to find the right shadowing opportunity.

How to Find Great Shadowing Opportunities?

You need to research and contact doctors who are ready to assist medical students. You can find shadowing opportunities in hospitals, medical centers and private clinics. Many physicians who are practicing in private clinics offer shadowing opportunities.

Similarly, physicians in large medical centers and hospitals need trainees to complete the basic clinical work. Ask professors and academic advisors if they can recommend any physician, they know who offers shadowing opportunities.

You can also reach out to medical students and residents, ask them about shadowing experiences they gained before admitting to medical school. Talk to your family physician and ask them if he has any shadowing opportunities available.

Find the Medical Specialty of Your Interest

When it comes to gaining physician shadowing experience, it is important to figure out the medical specialties that you find most interesting. For instance, primary care, family medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, and orthopedics, are a few specialized medical fields that you can choose for gaining some clinical experience.

Shadowing these specialized physicians will give you a detailed look at how your life may be if you find a career opportunity in these fields. If you find dermatology interesting and have an interest to know about hair, skin and nails, find a dermatologist that offers shadowing opportunities.

You can shadow doctors from specialized fields to get a feel for the particular medical field. The ultimate goal is to prepare you for a medical career and determine if medicine is the right choice for you.

Contact Physicians

Many doctors enjoy giving training to medical students and would be excited to share their medical knowledge and clinical experience with them. You can create a list of doctors or hospitals and reach out to them directly. Compose an email in which you can ask directly to shadow a doctor and describe the reasons to gain clinical experience. Outline why you are interested in the particular field of medicine, your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities and other essential information that increase your chances of getting the opportunity.

Shadow Different Physicians

Don’t limit yourself to a specific field. At this stage, you are exploring and gaining exposure so you can learn about different fields of medicine. If you find the chance to shadow different physicians in many specialties, go ahead. It is because practicing in outpatient clinic is entirely different from working in inpatient settings. Working with different physicians can give you more a diverse experience and prepare you for a challenging career.

Don’t forget to obtain physician shadow letters after shadowing. Adding this letter to your medical school application will make you a successful applicant and increase your chances of gaining a slot in your favorite medical school.

Are You Ready to Gain a Shadowing Experience?

Adding a physician shadowing opportunity to your medical school application sounds interesting as it makes the admission process smoother. It is a valuable opportunity that allows you to gain valuable experience from physicians and surgeons. Many students are probably wondering how to shadow a doctor and the necessary tips to choose the right shadowing opportunity. Hopefully, this post helps future medical students to find the right shadowing opportunity and guides them on how to shadow a doctor.

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