SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Befriending a Doctor

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by Daisy, Jul 17, 1999.

  1. Daisy

    Daisy Junior Member

    Jul 2, 1999
    I'm going to be the first doctor in my family so it's hard for me to befriend a doctor or much less shadow one. I was wondering if you could share your experiences with me on this subject. I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. justwannabadoc

    justwannabadoc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 1999
    Kirksville, MO
    Be bold, but obviously courteuous, respectful, and professional. Tell the physicians you're interested in shadowing that you're premed, would like to gain some clinical experience by following him/her (make sure you're not doing this to look good on paper but because you are truly interested in witnessing what being a physician is like), and ask him/her if this is okay. If you're interested in a particular field of medicine but don't know any docs, call up the department at a hospital, tell them your position, and see if they know of any docs that might be willing to let you do this or if you could speak to some. I followed 2 ortho docs just this way; I called up the ortho department here and told them if I was interested in following some docs around. They were nice enough to ask around and 2 agreed. Good luck, and don't be discouraged if some say no. Keep trying, since the ones that say yes will tend to be the ones you will learn the most from anyway.
  4. mightymouse

    mightymouse Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 1999
    Panorama City, CA USA
    I agree wholeheartedly. I will also be the first doc in my family so I come from a similar background. I am now a med student and here was my recipe for success: call the local medical school or hospital and speak to someone who has knowledge on this subject. Often, med schools have lists of doctors that have already agreed to do such things. If you habe no resources available to you in this regard, then there is always the phonebook. It may seem difficult to do, but Ive found that docs in general love to have a student interested in their area of expertise. I shadowed docs using both methods and had nothing but succcess. After all, the worst they could say is no, and then you move onto the next doctor. Be assertive yet professional and humble. If they sense your desire to learn, more than likely theyll be happy to oblige. One further point, this procedure worked for me from specialties ranging from family practice to the intensive care and surgery.
  5. edgar

    edgar Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 1, 1998
    Pomona, CA

    I opened the phone book and called a bunch of doctors down the list. About 60% were courteous enough to call me back, a few were practicing specialties I had no interest in, and some did not have any time to have me shadow them. Out of the 15 doctors I called, one of them was very enthusiastic of me following him in the office and I shadowed him for a year before asking him to write my recommendation for medical school. In a few short years, I will be his colleague and will always be greatful for his help in getting me into medical school and teaching me the joys/difficulties of being a doctor. I think calling is the best way, the ones who call you back are probably worth pursuing for shadowing experiences. Good luck, it seems like just last year I was in your shoes.

  6. Gregory Gulick

    Gregory Gulick Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 9, 1998
    Largo, Florida (USA)

    When I decided to pursue medicine, I had no friends in the field and no contacts whatsoever. So, like you, I had to start from scratch. If you have a premedical advisor (like I didn't when I first started shadowing DOs), then he/she should be able to set you up with some doctors who have already agreed to take-on students.

    From my experience, getting past the office staff was my biggest hurdle. At one hospital, I contacted the department of medical education about shadowing a physician and they replied, "Shadowing is a violation of our patient's privacy." The DME then scribbled the phone number of the hospitals attorney and told me to speak with him. I thanked the DME, walked out of his office and threw the attorneys phone number in the trash. Then I went home, wrote a letter to the physicians that worked in the hospital and they were anxious to have me tag along with the medical students and residents.

    So for me, it was all about getting past the office staff. The strategy I found that worked best, in my case, was writing a letter explaining my intentions, including my CV, and then stating that I would follow-up with a phone call in a week if I didn't hear from him. In most cases the physicians welcomed me to join them for a few days.

    Good luck. If you need any additional help, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] .

  7. Hskermdic

    Hskermdic Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 17, 1998
    I would also investigate programs through medical schools. I participated in the University of Kansas Primary Care Summer Mentor Program and really learned a lot. I learned not only that I was very interested in primary care and that I wanted to be a DO. They had an orientation that involved learning about and how to do some basic medical procedures, very basic, and also hooked me up with a preceptor who was wanting to mentor premed students. This was supposed to be a one year program through which I have made connections and have continue shadowing physicians I met that summer.
  8. drusso

    drusso Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 1998
    Over the rainbow

    I think that you'll discover that most physicians love to teach; of course, there are always exceptions. Synthesize all the good advice above and start putting out some feelers...

Share This Page