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General Rant about shadowing

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 229141, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. 229141

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    So I've asked over 4 doctors to shadow...politely gave them a sort of resume of where I am in school and my achievements etc. All of them seemed almost insulted and said "you should not shadow until you are a medical student" WTF!!! I was so irate...if I end up like that when I'm a doctor I'll hate myself. I ended up shadowing this surgeon a little only because he is a family friend...pretty cheap way of finding someone to shadow but whatever. I asked my friends how they find doctors to shadow and EVERYONE said either that parents are doctors or they had close family friends who were docs...meanwhile I get the shaft whenever I try to cold-call. Seriously I'm to the point where I'm embarrassed to ask a doc to shadow because all have laughed at me so far...
     
  2. Abulcasis

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    This worries me too. Just because I don't have connections I can't shadow?

    I haven't asked anyone yet but if this is how it is.....:(
     
  3. 229141

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    It damn well should not be like that..it is here for some reason. It seems like everyone has infinite family hookups here and when I ask if they could let me share with them they all greedily tell me to find my own docs to shadow. I know kids whose parents literally set them up to shadow with their friends. Meanwhile here I am walking around the hospital going into offices getting laughed at...oh well I'm calling up 5 more monday just go get laughed at more
     
  4. JStephens

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    I have done, and continue to do some shadowing. I have never cold called, and I won't if I can help it. I have met the doc's that I shadowed via friends/family. One guy did a friends breast reduction, the other did my Mom's gallbladder, another is the father of one of my good friends. I admire you for cold calling, im not quite sure i could/would do it.
     
  5. JStephens

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    One thing I forgot to add. The 1st person I shadowed I actually was refered to by my primary care doc. Obviously Dr's build relationships with other doctors, maybe your primary care doc could help you?
     
  6. 229141

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    Got no choice...not all of us are friends with doctors lol. The one I was shadowing hasn't been around lately either...maybe theres one out there who will help me out lol
     
  7. TooMuchResearch

    TooMuchResearch i'm goin' to Kathmandu...
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    Try cold-emailing. I made a list of physicians from a medical school and public hospital. The email addresses might take some internet searching, but you should be able to find them. Most of the physicians you email will probably never respond, but you might get something out of it. I've had a couple respond...and maybe 10 times that never respond. Also, once you get in with one, you could try asking them if they know anyone else who might be willing to take on a shadow. You might even have luck just contacting that surgeon friend and asking if he knows anyone else...
     
  8. 229141

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    I actually really like my primary care doctor too and am gonna talk to him this week...we get along well etc. I'm emailing my pre med adviser and some people at school to see if I can get any help lol
     
  9. 229141

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    Great idea- send out like 20 emails and even if only 1 writes back I'm where I want to be. I like it, thanks!
     
  10. rama kandra

    rama kandra Actual Psychiatrist jk
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    Your best bet is to volunteer at a hospital and get to know doctors that way. If i ask anyone that i know in person they are happy to let me shadow em...

    Cold letters are really not as effective as volunteering
     
  11. 229141

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    Thats the thing...the 4 rejections were face to face :| gave them my letter I made in case they wanted to know more about me. Keep on pushin! :D
     
  12. 229141

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    Any idea how to get the emails? I tried looking on the hospital site and stuff and couldn't find. If you are a good googler maybe you could find emails of docs in anchorage, AK :D lol!
     
  13. Artimacia

    Artimacia can do stuff real good
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    I went online and typed in "Doctors in "city", "state"" and found some listings. Try doing that.
     
  14. 229141

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    Found a huge list but no emails :'( thx though
     
  15. Artimacia

    Artimacia can do stuff real good
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    Sorry :( I'm with you on this though, it's really difficult to find doctors to shadow if you don't know them through other people, and especially since I don't have a primary care doctor :(
     
  16. 229141

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    I rarely get jealous of people but....for those who have all these docs as parents and family friends I'll make an exception right now :D
     
  17. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member
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    Keep looking. There most certainly are plenty of docs out there who are more than willing to accommodate you and let you tag along. Don't let 4 DB's turn you off. How the hell are you supposed to know you like medicine if you wait until you are already IN medical school to shadow? That's BS.

    Check with your school's premedical advisor or with the premedical organization on campus. Our premed honor society had a list of docs who allowed students to regularly shadow them. They each had a waiting list and sing-up sheet, we signed up for a date and went. They were all used to having undergrads there at the office. Made things a lot easier.

    Also check with your family doc. If you have a good relationship, he'll probably open his doors to you. Good luck.
     
  18. 229141

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    YEP! If the dude wants to lie to me at least give me something I'll believe haha. No you are right though- I am continuing to call docs and I sent out a bunch of emails tonight to school advisers/contacts. I have shadowed like 40 hours so far...but I need and want more exposure imo
     
  19. halekulani

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    shadowing really isn't that important.

    your efforts could be much better spent at trying to find a clinical research position.
     
  20. 229141

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    Meh no clinical research so far, but I'll have 2 yrs+ biomedical research with a med school prof. It's animal studies but the applications are medical...no pubs probably but posters and some nice presentations.

    How would one try to find clinical research?
     
  21. Maygyver

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    Now you make me nervous. Do you have good stats? Were these doctors just primary care physicians? or in a hospital?
     
  22. BlueElmo

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    I just faxed random doctors. I think I faxed about 10 or 11. Pediatric surgeon, urologist, and a orthopedic surgeon all told me to come shadow them. Pretty friendly, all of them too. Try faxing a letter, it's more formal.
     
  23. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    if they're older doctors then they probably don't know whats going on
    I live in a small, close-knit town (at school anyway). My boss, who is a pharmacist, pretty much was able to put in a small word for me around town and I had a lot of opportunities. Try some of the younger ones. And also, what about your doctor? Maybe you'll have to volunteer in the ER or something, least then you can develop some connections.
     
  24. Nomdeplume

    Nomdeplume (nom nom nom)
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    I'm really sorry that you've had such bad luck. I also promise you that there are tons of nice, or at least friendly, doctors out there who will let you shadow.

    If you haven't yet, I recommend that you go onto the website of the nearest medical school (I hope one is near you) and find departments you're interested in. Send a polite email or telephone call to a handful of doctors, one at a time, stating the basics (undergraduate, interested in their specialty, want exposure, your availability, thank you). I know this is kind of basic stuff, but I hope it's of some help somehow.

    Personally, I've found it hard in the past to meet and maintain relationships with doctors while volunteering. Your experience could certainly be different, though.

    I would expect that doctors at an academic hospital will be more likely to let you shadow, especially if you and them are affiliated with the same institution. However, some hospitals do have very strict policies about shadowing now. This may have been a factor in the responses you got from doctors, though I quite disagree with them.

    Edit: If all else fails, volunteering probably would help. Just make sure you spend your downtime productively (hang out with nurses and doctors who are on break, rather than putting your face in a book like I tended to do).
     
    #24 Nomdeplume, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  25. RevivedPreMed

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    It's really the luck of the draw. If you find a PI that has a lab but is an MD and is clinical as well as research that's your best bet.

    I got extremely lucky with my PI because she does all kinds of research.
     
  26. Forthegood

    Forthegood ProcrastinationAficionado
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    I didn't have connections either, but I applied for a job in the hospital and got it (sound of angels singing hallelujah)

    But most of my friends had to volunteer in the ER or something... its not formal shadowing, but get in good with the team and theyll usually let you see whatever you like.
     
  27. NTF

    NTF PGY-6
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    I got similar responses as OP when cold-calling. I only got shadow opportunities through contacts at work (hospital) and using the AOA mentor exchange.

    The AOA mentor exchange was actually pretty awesome. Within only a few days, I had emails with offers to let me shadow from more doctors than I knew what to do with. Of course, I live in OH which has loads of DOs compared to other states... but I'd give it a shot.

    http://www.osteopathic.org/YOM/Mentor_exchange.htm
     
  28. 229141

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    2 of the ones I had seen as a patient and primary care. 2 others I did not know and were in the hospital while I was volunteering. They just said they were too busy to help me out. And yeah not to sound arrogant but I feel I have really good stats.
     
  29. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    Honestly, if you're trying to shadow, they couldn't care less about your "stats." Just be friendly and show up when you say you will.
     
  30. dienekes88

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    Dude, 4 negs and you're going off on a rant? Is this a joke? Don't take it so personally.
     
  31. 229141

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    The reason I am ranting is because everyone (that I know..) gets spoon fed docs to shadow via family friends/parents
     
  32. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Could you go back to one of these docs who you know and ask for a referral or letter of introduction to someone who isn't so busy, maybe a young doc just getting started or an older one who is part-time or office based only (some surgical specialties like ENT & GYN do that in their old age). Volunteering in a clinic or other place that employs docs might be another way to meet people who will let you shadow them.
     
  33. Forthegood

    Forthegood ProcrastinationAficionado
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    Life is not fair.
     
  34. dienekes88

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    Some people get lucky. Others don't. That's life, dude.

    On top of that... it's 4 negs. FOUR.

    Getting upset about 4 negs when other people are doing all this shadowing is gonna get you nowhere. Yeah, it's a rant, but the fact that you even feel the need to rant is a problem. This **** happens. Doctors are busy, and they probably don't want to feel like they're carrying deadweight around the hospital worrying about your ability to maintain confidentiality. They're thinking about the 1 in 100 scenarion: Starry-eyed Pre-Med blabs about someone's prolapsed uterus. Not worth the risk.
     
  35. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir
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    The first day of my holiday break, I went down the page in the phone book and left my information with each office. Two hospitals and one private practice FP doc called back. I managed to shadow at one of the hospitals before Christmas and now I'm setting up my shadow at the other.

    One thing that was funny... I shadowed at the hospital, then got a call from their volunteer coordinator the next day.

    "Are you interested in volunteering?"

    "Well yeah, but I'd like to focus on shadowing over the holidays, while I really have the time."

    "Oh, we never let people shadow here due to privacy concerns."

    So I'm guessing she has a little office far removed from the med ed dept. :p
     
  36. Dedikated2liftn

    Dedikated2liftn Bodybuilder
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    Don't worry bro, I had the exact same ****ing thing happen to me back when I was looking for someone to shadow. In the end, I was lucky enough to shadow my PCP because I knew him for 20 years. Regardless, as long as you have done some shadowing (which you have), you'll be set in that regard. In the grand scheme of things shadowing really isn't huge, espeically if you can make up for it with clinical volunteering experience. Overall, just make sure you've got a decent amount of hours in a clinical setting, and I think you'll be just fine.
     
  37. justdoit31

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    I think the response the OP got from physicians he doesn't know was normal. I asked one EM physician at the hospital I volunteer for if I could shadow and he never did get back to my emails after he said "sure"...

    My best bets for shadowing were my general physician, a connection from a family I nanny for (that physician didn't know me from Adam and still spent 6 months helping me through paperwork!) and then I got some connections from a free clinic I worked at through church and the pediatrician for the family I nanny for... I ended up not using those last connections since I was accepted and decided to do other things with my time...

    Try to talk to your physician first- mine was hesitant at first but fabulous after a day spent with her where I was respectful, well dressed, and had good patient manor- now she says come in whenever!
     
  38. michigator04

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    I had some difficulties with setting up shadowing as well. I was able to do some through volunteering, and some through family friends. However, I found it frustrating that even the family friend opportunities involved getting stonewalled. When I attempted to talk to the doctors who knew I was interested by calling their office, the receptionist would refer me to the nurse who works with said doc, but who never would bother to return calls. This happened at 2/4 of the offices I dealt with. It was like they had a whole system set up to keep anyone from getting within earshot of the doctor.

    And to the person who said shadowing is not important: I was specifically told by multiple adcoms that my lack of shadowing was a bigger problem than a lack of research experiences. It is an important factor at many schools.
     
  39. Jacobian78

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    I definitely know how you feel OP. Is anyone else getting the "HIPAA" response? I'm not exactly sure how I'm supposed to shadow if every physician seems to think it's illegal :confused:
     
  40. Lukkie

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    i would recommend finding FELLOWS to shadow. i find their schedules are usually a little more relaxed than attendings and residents, and since htey are getting into a really specialized field they are usually excited and eager to teach. i've shadowed an interventional radiology fellow for a couple weeks (~10 hours) where i got to see him perform a few operations (interventional radiology is like surgery-lite), reviewed the operation (he showed me how to read the MRI, orientation, etc) and a couple other things.

    i was able to do this since i volunteered in the radiology dept for a couple months and a patient came down for the operation. the doc came into the tech station to look at the chart, seemed like a young, really friendly guy by the way he talked to the rad techs. so he seemed like a decent guy to talk to and i asked him if i could shadow and luckily he said yes and even explained right there what was gonna happen.

    personally i don't think its a good idea to ask older doctors that might not realize that shadowing is a necessary step for pre-meds these days. it wasn't a big deal back in the day (as i am told by the doctors i talk to). but fellows, not being too distant from our generation (6-10 years) know the game we have to play. residents for the most part just have too much slave work to do to allow you to shadow, imo.
     
  41. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
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    I havent read any posts on this thread so forgive if me someone already said this. But I've had no trouble finding docs to shadow, and its mostly due to the AOA mentor program. Docs in this program have already agreed to have students shadow them so no one is going to laugh at you or turn you down. Just search by city/state (leave every other category blank or else it will significantly narrow the results you find) and then from there just pick which docs from what specialites you want to shadow. Good luck.
     
  42. Dedikated2liftn

    Dedikated2liftn Bodybuilder
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    Delete please.
     
    #42 Dedikated2liftn, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  43. MDman87

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    I know how you all feel. I hate doctors who refuse to let undergrads shadow. Obviously, I'd stay out of their way. I'd be willing to help out (answer the phone, whatever). I wouldn't want to shadow 10 hrs/day every day. All I want is to have a few hours a week to observe a doc go about his business. . . But apparently that's too much to ask
     
  44. ejay286

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    I shadowed a GI who wouldn't let me come in until the patient was anesthetized. That way the patient never knew I was even there.
     
  45. ladyscorpian14

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    I went to UAA last year talk to the pre-med advisor there i forgot his name but he teaches coures at the medical school also contact providence hospital and ask a request to shadow one of the doctors sometimes winter are harsh on doctors!!!:p
     
  46. robynrich

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    On the off chance that someone from Mississippi reads this thread and needs some shadowing experience, North Mississippi Medical Center offers a month-long, PAID shadowing program in the summer for pre-meds. You have to apply for it, but the process is pretty simple. I did it this summer and got to shadow over ten specialties. I am not sure if they accept applicants from different states, but you could always ask. Also, maybe some bigger hospitals in other states have programs like this. I know at this particular hospital, it is pretty much all the shadowing that goes on. I have tried to set up my own shadowing before with no luck, but I hope everyone else is able to find something that works for them!
     
  47. michigator04

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    Whoa! That is a sweet deal.
     
  48. suizyme09

    suizyme09 I haz a flavor
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    I think everyone on here keeps mentioning close connections to doctors but I haven't noticed (and I may be wrong) the suggest that the OP go through nurses. I have an aunt who works as a scrub nurse. She is good at her job and respected by many doctors she works with. I asked her for help and she connected me to the 6 different surgeons and anesthesia people that I have now shadowed. If you know a good nurse well who can vouch for you that may be a good way to get your foot in the door.:D
     
  49. 229141

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    Well I tried many of your guy/gals great suggestions. I also went the Med School program and asked for help (fearfully..). They were actually very happy to help since I did one of their fellows programs this year. So anyways they sent some emails out to the hospital and hopefully I'll be shadowing very soon!
     
  50. htownpremie

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    i know some med schools actually have online pre-med networks that you can join (UTHSCH comes to mind) that offer shadowing opportunities. i personally followed my pcp's wife, who also happened to be a doctor. like some people have said, i think your own doctor is a good place to start if you don't have anywhere to go.

    in general though, i think shadowing is over-rated and the utility of it is rather limited. i don't think someone needs to do like 400 hrs of it to get the gist of what it means to be a doctor.
     

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