Advice on how to deal with a weird and extremely awkward shadowing situation?

blackroses

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Apr 24, 2014
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This is the epitome of making something out of nothing. Go in and do your shadowing hours. Be friendly to the other students when socializing is appropriate and mind your own business the rest of time.
 

Goro

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Chill!!!!!
 
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Goro

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7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
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Hmm, okay. I do see how I could be overreacting. I'm just venting here (probably should have toned down on the all-caps). The problem is that whenever I try to be friendly, or volunteer to do something, or just try to mind my own business, they always make super snarky comments about how I'm "too important" to be bothered and so on. They've also all gotten close to each other and now conspicuously exclude me from any group activities during the shift, which is annoying. I guess I'll just keep shadowing while trying to find another doctor.
This isn't High school. You're there to learn what a doctors day is like, not to make friends.

Ignore them and concentrate on your mission.
 

precisiongraphic

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Oct 29, 2015
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Ask yourself: Will this matter in five years?

Sure, they don't talk to you, they make you feel awkward but that won't affect you. In five years, will you care that they snubbed you?

Conversely, if you quit shadowing will you feel like you lost an opportunity? In five years, if you allow things like this to delay, demotivate you or question yourself, will you regret allowing that to happen? Not shadowing is unlikely to keep you out of medical school but you need it, you're there, it's not like a year-long commitment.
 

Skydive Fox

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Feb 20, 2016
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Next time they make a snarky comment hit back with a "that's why I'll be your f***ing boss someday" and then put on your sunglasses and stroll away with exaggerated arm swings.

I kid, I kid... Just keep a low profile and focus on why you're there: shadowing. They can think you're a spawn of the devil for all it matters as long as you're gaining the meaningful shadowing experience you're there for in the first place.
 

Happy123!

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Nov 19, 2016
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If it makes you feel any better, the similar situation happened to me when I was shadowing an orthopedic surgeon last month. Most of the medical assistants and interns snubbed me and made snarky comments about being the docs "favorite".

Indeed unpleasant and awkward, but as Goro said earlier, you're there to learn not to make friends. And why would you care what those people think of you?
Just keep going to your shadowing gig, learning, and ignoring those types of people. You can do it! :banana:
 
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hubbsbubbs

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they may just be poking fun. have a laugh at yourself, they may lighten up
 

Wiesal

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Don't let the malice and envy of others distract you. Realize that you are there to learn the doctor's day to day life; friendships can be made elsewhere.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Apr 11, 2017
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Okay, let me set the scene. You have me, your typical awkward neurotic premed trying to check off all the boxes and get some shadowing experience before I apply. After months of cold-calling nearby docs with increasing desperation, I finally get a family doc to agree to let me shadow. Plus he's open on weekends so I won't have to take time off classes!! JACKPOT right?

I show up to my first shadowing shift, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to kiss some serious ass. Turns out there's like 6 other students because the practice is hosting externships(?) for nursing students and medical assistant students. Okay, cool, I get to meet new people and at least we can be confused students together!

One of the techs is giving us an orientation and she asks us all to introduce ourselves and what our goals are. The 6 other students go first and mention that they are nursing/MA students. Then it's my turn, so I say that I'm going to be applying to medical schools soon and want to be a doctor eventually. The tech says, "Oh! Okay, you're definitely more important than the other students! I'll make sure you're always in the room with the doctor!" OH GOD. WHAT. WHY. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY ELSE. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT EVER. WHYYYYYY?????

I did my best to salvage it and be all "nooooo I'm just a dumb student everyone is important" but obviously it didn't work. Now all the other students lowkey hate me. I don't even blame them, I'd probably hate me too if I were them. Whenever I talk with them, they're either super chilly or snarky. It's so awkward now and I dread going in every time.

Is this an unsalvageable situation? I already have ~8 hours with this doc (and tbh I don't even really like him) so I guess I could just stop shadowing him. But it was so hard for me to get shadowing in the first place! I don't know how else I could get any more shadowing.
Are you going to quit medical school when a patient tells you that they aren't a fan of your stethoscope? You have to stay focused on your goals not the nursing students...
 
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Dr. Stalker

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Many adcoms have revealed on SDN that shadowing "letters of rec" are often useless and have like a 0.01% impact on your overall application. Its simply needed so medical schools can "check off the box for the shadowing EC." As in, it doesn't matter. Just go and shadow for like 50 hours or so.

P.S.: Its not that awkward. My friend (she's gorgeous) had the attending try to kiss her and feel her up while shadowing her...
 
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P0ke

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When I was working as a scribe, I had a doctor who would say "idiot" whenever I made a mistake, even as a scribe in-training. She also called the other non-doctor employees "peons". There's sh**ty people in the world, you suck it up and put in the time until you get what you need and then leave.
 

coldspring

2+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2016
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Hmm, okay. I do see how I could be overreacting. I'm just venting here (probably should have toned down on the all-caps). The problem is that whenever I try to be friendly, or volunteer to do something, or just try to mind my own business, they always make super snarky comments about how I'm "too important" to be bothered and so on. They've also all gotten close to each other and now conspicuously exclude me from any group activities during the shift, which is annoying. I guess I'll just keep shadowing while trying to find another doctor.
Why on earth do you care what these other students think of you? Do your thing, act professionally, and get the most out of your experience. Your entire medical career, should you be fortunate enough to have one, is likely to be permeated with all kinds of interpersonal conundrums, so you might as well start dealings with the vagaries of human interaction now.
 

ymedex

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May 31, 2016
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Why on earth do you care what these other students think of you? Do your thing, act professionally, and get the most out of your experience. Your entire medical career, should you be fortunate enough to have one, is likely to be permeated with all kinds of interpersonal conundrums, so you might as well start dealings with the vagaries of human interaction now.
This seems like really sensible advice, and I'd follow it.
 
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rmalia

2+ Year Member
May 30, 2016
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Okay, let me set the scene. You have me, your typical awkward neurotic premed trying to check off all the boxes and get some shadowing experience before I apply. After months of cold-calling nearby docs with increasing desperation, I finally get a family doc to agree to let me shadow. Plus he's open on weekends so I won't have to take time off classes!! JACKPOT right?

I show up to my first shadowing shift, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to kiss some serious ass. Turns out there's like 6 other students because the practice is hosting externships(?) for nursing students and medical assistant students. Okay, cool, I get to meet new people and at least we can be confused students together!

One of the techs is giving us an orientation and she asks us all to introduce ourselves and what our goals are. The 6 other students go first and mention that they are nursing/MA students. Then it's my turn, so I say that I'm going to be applying to medical schools soon and want to be a doctor eventually. The tech says, "Oh! Okay, you're definitely more important than the other students! I'll make sure you're always in the room with the doctor!" OH GOD. WHAT. WHY. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY ELSE. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT EVER. WHYYYYYY?????

I did my best to salvage it and be all "nooooo I'm just a dumb student everyone is important" but obviously it didn't work. Now all the other students lowkey hate me. I don't even blame them, I'd probably hate me too if I were them. Whenever I talk with them, they're either super chilly or snarky. It's so awkward now and I dread going in every time.

Is this an unsalvageable situation? I already have ~8 hours with this doc (and tbh I don't even really like him) so I guess I could just stop shadowing him. But it was so hard for me to get shadowing in the first place! I don't know how else I could get any more shadowing.
It's totally salvageable, because what you need to keep in mind is you're salvaging your shadowing experience, not relationships with people who are completely ancillary to your goals. That being said, you might also speak privately with the tech to clarify your intentionality and absence of malign purpose. Likewise, you could also, in your own way, authentically explain your perceptions of their behaviors to the other student observers. However, without sounding too harsh, and from the tone of your post, you may be presenting in a manner that precipitates negative responses. You might ask some trusted mentors for their assessments of your affect, listen carefully , and then modify accordingly and as necessary. Good luck!
 
Jun 27, 2017
9
12
Okay, let me set the scene. You have me, your typical awkward neurotic premed trying to check off all the boxes and get some shadowing experience before I apply. After months of cold-calling nearby docs with increasing desperation, I finally get a family doc to agree to let me shadow. Plus he's open on weekends so I won't have to take time off classes!! JACKPOT right?

I show up to my first shadowing shift, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to kiss some serious ass. Turns out there's like 6 other students because the practice is hosting externships(?) for nursing students and medical assistant students. Okay, cool, I get to meet new people and at least we can be confused students together!

One of the techs is giving us an orientation and she asks us all to introduce ourselves and what our goals are. The 6 other students go first and mention that they are nursing/MA students. Then it's my turn, so I say that I'm going to be applying to medical schools soon and want to be a doctor eventually. The tech says, "Oh! Okay, you're definitely more important than the other students! I'll make sure you're always in the room with the doctor!" OH GOD. WHAT. WHY. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY ELSE. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT EVER. WHYYYYYY?????

I did my best to salvage it and be all "nooooo I'm just a dumb student everyone is important" but obviously it didn't work. Now all the other students lowkey hate me. I don't even blame them, I'd probably hate me too if I were them. Whenever I talk with them, they're either super chilly or snarky. It's so awkward now and I dread going in every time.

Is this an unsalvageable situation? I already have ~8 hours with this doc (and tbh I don't even really like him) so I guess I could just stop shadowing him. But it was so hard for me to get shadowing in the first place! I don't know how else I could get any more shadowing.
I was one of those other students. I know who you are.




jk
 
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