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Good/Bad Shadow Experience

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deleted737034

    Wanted to make this forum just because the last similar thread was made back in either 2013 or 2015 and wanted to make an updated version

    Leave your good/bad shadow experience! I would love to read some.

    I forgot to post my story up.

    I got to shadow my uncle's wife, who is an ophthalmologist, at a hospital not to far from my home last summer. She was very nice and answered all my questions that I had. I got to meet most of her patients and got to see what she does on a daily basis. She explained every thing she did and why she did that specific task. There wasn't much going on since she works at a veteran hospital so I got a lot of 1 on 1 time with her. She bought me lunch and told me to relax whenever she had paper work to do. Overall, nothing too special happen but I did enjoy my time there watching her and asking her questions
     
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    Meep_xo

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    Jun 27, 2017
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      Let me say that my first shadow experience ever was with my aunt, who is a doctor, at a hospital an hour away from me. She told me that the only thing I had to wear was closed toe shoes (sneakers or flats), some long pants, and a shirt that was not sleeveless. Basically, as long as every thing from my waist is covered and my shirt had sleeves.

      I wanted to explore my other options so last month I emailed my gynecologist if I was allowed to shadow her. She emailed me back saying that I was only allowed to shadow Mondays for 3 hours. I thought that was better than nothing so I started 3 weeks ago. My gynecologist works in a small medical office not too far from my house. The first Monday was fine. She would ask the patients if they were comfortable with me entering the room and observing. Sometimes I was allow to enter while other times I had to wait patiently outside for her. Overall, I got a chance to watch her work and get a feel what her job was like. However, I was not able to ask any questions since she was very busy that day so she told me to bring questions the next time I see her. The week after, I came in asking her some questions such as

      What's the difference between MD and DO?

      What made you decide you wanted to be a doctor?

      Why did you pick to be a gynecologist?

      What was med school like?

      Etc. (Don't worry guys I did ask her about the profession too and not just personal stuff)

      Every time she answered me, she sounded really annoyed that I even asked her any questions considering she was the one who asked if I had questions for her. Most of the answers she gave me were mainly 1-3 word. After asking every thing I could think of, I just sat there in silence for a good 30 mins while she did paper work because it seem like she didn't want to engage in conversation with me. Eventually, she just sent me home saying that I was not dressed appropriately to go see patients (I was wearing a T-shirt and some black pants). She said I needed to cover both my arms and legs. However the first day, I was wearing a summer dress with a cardigan and stockings that ripped (it was a large rip) that day on my way to the doctor's office and she still allowed me to go in to see patients. A lot of my friends, during their shadows, wore short sleeve polo shirts and got to see patients.

      I told my aunt, who is a nurse, about what happen. She told me that it might be because I was in casual clothing and that my doctor probably did not take me seriously or the patients would not take me seriously. I admit that I should have dress in more business casual attire, but my clothes on the first day did not look business casual at all and my doctor did not say anything to me. In fact, I feel like she was much nicer to me that first Monday even though she barely spoke to me that day (she was busy) and I sat in the nurse station majority of that day. Since I was basing off my first shadow experience with my aunt (the doctor), I thought I could wear anything as long as I cover my legs and toes and wear a shirt with sleeves. I'm not sure if she wanted me to be there, if she's not taking me seriously cause of my appearance, or she was just having a bad day.
       
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      BehindBlueEyes

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        I shadowed a cardiothoracic surgeon once for a day. After an entire day of sitting in the corner of the OR, he sat me down in his office and said something like "Well I'm sure you have lots of questions for a guy like me, after all there's not too many other doctors worth shadowing in this dump."

        I remember asking if he had any advice to give me about going through medical school/residency and he said "Don't get married during school, or during residency. Matter of fact, just don't get married. If you're a halfway decent doctor it'll never work out anyway, I've been through three marriages already and let me tell ya...."

        Proceeded to give me a 20 minute lecture on why marriage is worthless.

        Then I asked him why he was such a miserable guy. No, just kidding, but I was definitely thinking that.
         
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        DBC03

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          As a non-trad, I've had students shadow me so I know it can be a little stressful to have someone following you around all day and that made it a little awkward for me to ask doctors if I could do the same. But I got pretty lucky and made it in with a gynecologic oncologist who let me shadow once or twice a week for three months. He is semi-retired and I could tell that it would be a little stressful for me to be there past the morning, so I kept it to mornings in his office once a week and surgery once a week (after school ended). It was a really amazing experience. I got to see many patients in the office, then in surgery, then in follow up. He was adamant about talking with patients in his office about treatment options, not the exam room, and he never took anything but paper and pen into the exam room, preferring to dictate and do all computer work in his office when the patients weren't there. Surgery was a great experience - he was sure to thank everyone in the OR after each surgery and explained his procedures both during and after surgery.

          I had quite a few eye-openers. We had to discuss with more than one patient the process of dealing with hospice. And he had a fairly awkward initial consultation with one patient who would not accept best treatment practices. I felt like I got a very good perspective over that period that I wouldn't have gotten if I had just gone in one or two days.

          All in all a really good experience. I haven't had any really bad ones, but my theory is that the doctors who allow you to shadow are usually the nicer ones. Obviously some people will prove that wrong in this thread!


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          Meep_xo

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            OP it could have been your questions, it could have been the doc was busy and had work to do(she should have told you that) , could have been a bad day. Who knows. Is the aunt you shadowed a nurse?


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            My one aunt is a doctor and the one i talked to about the situation is a nurse. I shadowed the one that was a doctor
             
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            Meep_xo

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              how did you all as for your experience? did you just go to the businesses? did you dress up? did you make a call first or make an appointment to talk to someone?

              I emailed my gynecologist about it since I was told she switched offices. Last summer, she told me that if I wanted to shadow or volunteer, all i needed was to contact her about. She didn't let me volunteer when I emailed her last month, but she let me shadow her. Just call or email a doctor or your doctor and some of them will let you.
               
              D

              deleted737034

                I shadowed a cardiothoracic surgeon once for a day. After an entire day of sitting in the corner of the OR, he sat me down in his office and said something like "Well I'm sure you have lots of questions for a guy like me, after all there's not too many other doctors worth shadowing in this dump."

                I remember asking if he had any advice to give me about going through medical school/residency and he said "Don't get married during school, or during residency. Matter of fact, just don't get married. If you're a halfway decent doctor it'll never work out anyway, I've been through three marriages already and let me tell ya...."

                Proceeded to give me a 20 minute lecture on why marriage is worthless.

                Then I asked him why he was such a miserable guy. No, just kidding, but I was definitely thinking that.

                Oh yikes...i'm sorry for him
                 
                D

                deleted737034

                  how did you all as for your experience? did you just go to the businesses? did you dress up? did you make a call first or make an appointment to talk to someone?

                  I got lucky and my family member happened to be a doctor so I took advantage of it. If your parents or someone in your family knows anybody, they can probably help you find someone to shadow. However, I'm sure that any of your doctors would be kind enough to let you if you call or email them!
                   

                  DBC03

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                    I started with my alumni network and asked all the doctors from there - got only one positive response. I then asked doctors I knew. And the doctor I shadowed for 3 months was someone I had done photography for over 5 years before


                    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
                     

                    LizzyM

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                      Let me say that my first shadow experience ever was with my aunt, who is a doctor, at a hospital an hour away from me. She told me that the only thing I had to wear was closed toe shoes (sneakers or flats), some long pants, and a shirt that was not sleeveless. Basically, as long as every thing from my waist is covered and my shirt had sleeves.

                      I wanted to explore my other options so last month I emailed my gynecologist if I was allowed to shadow her. She emailed me back saying that I was only allowed to shadow Mondays for 3 hours. I thought that was better than nothing so I started 3 weeks ago. My gynecologist works in a small medical office not too far from my house. The first Monday was fine. She would ask the patients if they were comfortable with me entering the room and observing. Sometimes I was allow to enter while other times I had to wait patiently outside for her. Overall, I got a chance to watch her work and get a feel what her job was like. However, I was not able to ask any questions since she was very busy that day so she told me to bring questions the next time I see her. The week after, I came in asking her some questions such as

                      What's the difference between MD and DO?

                      What made you decide you wanted to be a doctor?

                      Why did you pick to be a gynecologist?

                      What was med school like?

                      Etc.

                      Every time she answered me, she sounded really annoyed that I even asked her any questions considering she was the one who asked if I had questions for her. Most of the answers she gave me were mainly 1-3 word. After asking every thing I could think of, I just sat there in silence for a good 30 mins while she did paper work because it seem like she didn't want to engage in conversation with me. Eventually, she just sent me home saying that I was not dressed appropriately to go see patients (I was wearing a T-shirt and some black pants). She said I needed to cover both my arms and legs. However the first day, I was wearing a summer dress with a cardigan and stockings that ripped (it was a large rip) that day on my way to the doctor's office and she still allowed me to go in to see patients. A lot of my friends, during their shadows, wore short sleeve polo shirts and got to see patients.

                      I told my aunt, who is a nurse, about what happen. She told me that it might be because I was in casual clothing and that my doctor probably did not take me seriously or the patients would not take me seriously. I admit that I should have dress in more business casual attire, but my clothes on the first day did not look business casual at all and my doctor did not say anything to me. In fact, I feel like she was much nicer to me that first Monday even though she barely spoke to me that day (she was busy) and I sat in the nurse station majority of that day. Since I was basing off my first shadow experience with my aunt (the doctor), I thought I could wear anything as long as I cover my legs and toes and wear a shirt with sleeves. I'm not sure if she wanted me to be there, if she's not taking me seriously cause of my appearance, or she was just having a bad day.


                      A few observations:

                      A dress with a cardigan is appropriate clothing for a woman working in a physician's office. Slacks and a blouse would be appropriate, too. T-shirts are too informal. In dressing for shadowing, ask yourself, "how would I feel if a staff member in the office where I was receiving care were dressed like this?" You should be dressing as you would if you worked as a receptionist or assistant.

                      Don't ask questions that you could look up (what is the difference between MD and DO?) or that are personal as these aren't really relevant to what you need to know or what you should know before deciding about a career in medicine.

                      You could ask, "what is one of the biggest challenges for gynecologists today?" or "what health policy would you most like to see changed?"
                      "How has the practice of medicine/gynecology changed since you started out?"
                      "How do you approach a patient who has unrealistic expectations or irrational fears?"
                      More than other docs, it seems that gynecologists love to tell stories so you can ask questions that might provoke a story:
                      "Have you ever had a happy surprise in the OR or delivery room?" or "have you ever been in on the delivery of multiples? What is that like?"
                      There are sad stories too, but it is best not to ask about those.
                       
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                      Meep_xo

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                      Jun 27, 2017
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                        A few observations:

                        A dress with a cardigan is appropriate clothing for a woman working in a physician's office. Slacks and a blouse would be appropriate, too. T-shirts are too informal. In dressing for shadowing, ask yourself, "how would I feel if a staff member in the office where I was receiving care were dressed like this?" You should be dressing as you would if you worked as a receptionist or assistant.

                        Don't ask questions that you could look up (what is the difference between MD and DO?) or that are personal as these aren't really relevant to what you need to know or what you should know before deciding about a career in medicine.

                        You could ask, "what is one of the biggest challenges for gynecologists today?" or "what health policy would you most like to see changed?"
                        "How has the practice of medicine/gynecology changed since you started out?"
                        "How do you approach a patient who has unrealistic expectations or irrational fears?"
                        More than other docs, it seems that gynecologists love to tell stories so you can ask questions that might provoke a story:
                        "Have you ever had a happy surprise in the OR or delivery room?" or "have you ever been in on the delivery of multiples? What is that like?"
                        There are sad stories too, but it is best not to ask about those.


                        Thank you for the tip about dress wear. I will definitely dress up a little bit next week when I go into the office.


                        I actually did ask her some questions about her job such as the biggest challenge for gynecologist today and more. I just didn't list all the questions I asked on this thread . I threw in some personal ones just to get to know her since it was getting awkward because she would answer my questions about her job in less than a few seconds and then continue the silence that was in the room. The silence was also making me nervous so at that point I was just asking whatever came into my mind.

                        Thank you for the tips!
                         
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                        Meep_xo

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                          Update you guys what happen during today's shadow. I dressed appropriately wearing a button dressed shirt, slacks, and a pair of flats. First hour, the nurses told me to sit in their station because my gynecologist was busy. After that, she came out, I said hi and she said hi back to me and then went back to work in her office telling me to sit tight. Sat there for another hour in silence as I watch her come in and out of her office to talk to the nurses. It was sometimes casual and sometimes about work. Eventually, a nurse had to remind her that I was still there and she finally let me see 2 patients with her before I told her I was heading out because her shift was about to end soon. I'm probably not going to go back after this. I have nothing against my gynecologist or anything, but the atmosphere the nurses and the other doctors give off makes me uncomfortable because majority of the time no one really acknowledge my presence or no one talks to me.
                           
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                          DBC03

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                            Update you guys what happen during today's shadow. I dressed appropriately wearing a button dressed shirt, slacks, and a pair of flats. First hour, the nurses told me to sit in their station because my gynecologist was busy. After that, she came out, I said hi and she said hi back to me and then went back to work in her office telling me to sit tight. Sat there for another hour in silence as I watch her come in and out of her office to talk to the nurses. It was sometimes casual and sometimes about work. Eventually, a nurse had to remind her that I was still there and she finally let me see 2 patients with her before I told her I was heading out because her shift was about to end soon. I'm probably not going to go back after this. I have nothing against my gynecologist or anything, but the atmosphere kind of made me feel awkward since nobody in that office really talked to me

                            Sounds like a tough shift! You might want to give it one more try. I have had that happen a few times, even with the physician I shadowed for a few weeks. I managed to bring my ipad with me and I spent any downtime updating my personal statement. Medical offices are busy and people who do not know you may take a few weeks to warm up to you. Unfortunately you're going to be at the bottom of the priority list through no fault of your own. It is also somewhat stressful to doctors to have someone following them around, but they want to give you the experience and agree to shadowing for that reason.

                            Do you have other physicians you can reach out to for a shadowing opportunity? Again, it can be stressful to doctors to have someone following them, so offer to shadow for a set amount of time (say, one full day a week or one morning each week, or a few mornings during one week, etc.). I went through a lot of doctors before I found any that agreed to have me there. Try to use this experience to learn to read people - are they not talking because they are busy? Is the doctor disinterested or is she slightly stressed at having you there? Is there a way you can put her or her team at ease? I found that complimenting people, saying thank you often, and telling them that I was happy to sit in my corner until they were ready for me went a long way. Learning to read behavior will be very helpful as a physician and practicing it now will make you better down the line.
                             

                            candbgirl

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                              Did you call the office on Friday to remind them/double check that it was still okay to come? Maybe the doc thought you'd only be there 1-2 weeks. They might also have been busier than usual with tomorrow being a holiday. Sounds like the doc is uncomfortable having you around for whatever reason and that happens. I understand the nurses and staff not talking to you. They aren't there to socialize and they don't know what they can talk about in front of you etc.. Write a nice thank you note and be finished with that site. Today was visit three , right? That's plenty for that doc.


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                              Meep_xo

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                                Did you call the office on Friday to remind them/double check that it was still okay to come? Maybe the doc thought you'd only be there 1-2 weeks. They might also have been busier than usual with tomorrow being a holiday. Sounds like the doc is uncomfortable having you around for whatever reason and that happens. I understand the nurses and staff not talking to you. They aren't there to socialize and they don't know what they can talk about in front of you etc.. Write a nice thank you note and be finished with that site. Today was visit three , right? That's plenty for that doc.


                                Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app

                                I come in every Monday and last week she asked me if i was okay either coming in last Thursday or this Monday. I told her Monday would be a little better for me since I volunteer at the hospital on Thursdays. I mean it's whatever, I got to see her work my first day and a little today and got to ask her stuff about the job and about her last week. Thanks for the tip. I will leave them a nice note
                                 
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                                Meep_xo

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                                  Sounds like a tough shift! You might want to give it one more try. I have had that happen a few times, even with the physician I shadowed for a few weeks. I managed to bring my ipad with me and I spent any downtime updating my personal statement. Medical offices are busy and people who do not know you may take a few weeks to warm up to you. Unfortunately you're going to be at the bottom of the priority list through no fault of your own. It is also somewhat stressful to doctors to have someone following them around, but they want to give you the experience and agree to shadowing for that reason.

                                  Do you have other physicians you can reach out to for a shadowing opportunity? Again, it can be stressful to doctors to have someone following them, so offer to shadow for a set amount of time (say, one full day a week or one morning each week, or a few mornings during one week, etc.). I went through a lot of doctors before I found any that agreed to have me there. Try to use this experience to learn to read people - are they not talking because they are busy? Is the doctor disinterested or is she slightly stressed at having you there? Is there a way you can put her or her team at ease? I found that complimenting people, saying thank you often, and telling them that I was happy to sit in my corner until they were ready for me went a long way. Learning to read behavior will be very helpful as a physician and practicing it now will make you better down the line.


                                  Thank you for the insight. I will try again next week and maybe I'll bring something next week to keep me occupy. My aunt said she can ask her friends if they are okay with me shadowing them next summer so I think I'm set for shadow opportunities. My gynecologist and I set Mondays as our shadow day and it's only from 9-11 AM. I will definitely try to be a little bit more observant of my doctor next week. Maybe it was a busy shift and I just wasn't aware of it.


                                  ***Update***
                                  she asked if I'm okay coming in Wednesday since she won't be next Monday so I will update my day on Wednesday
                                   
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                                  DBC03

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                                    Thank you for the insight. I will try again next week and maybe I'll bring something next week to keep me occupy. My aunt said she can ask her friends if they are okay with me shadowing them next summer so I think I'm set for shadow opportunities. My gynecologist and I set Mondays as our shadow day and it's only from 9-11 AM. I will definitely try to be a little bit more observant of my doctor next week. Maybe it was a busy shift and I just wasn't aware of it.


                                    ***Update***
                                    she asked if I'm okay coming in Wednesday since she won't be next Monday so I will update my day on Wednesday

                                    Sounds good! I also thought about this on my drive home and I think you're approaching it well. Keep looking for more opportunities and learn all you can from this one. I'll be interested in hearing what you observe about the doctor - you could be reading everything correctly at this point and it just might not be working out.
                                     
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                                    jm192

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                                      I shadowed a dentist who had a 4 hour procedure and a patient that didn't want some dumb high school kid in the room.

                                      I shadowed a retail pharmacist, and didn't understand why I needed so much school to count out pills.

                                      I shadowed an OB/GYN who lied to the L&D people and said I was a resident, and I WAS allowed to scrub in. All depends on the preceptor.
                                       
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                                      Dec 22, 2016
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                                        I shadowed a cardiothoracic surgeon once for a day. After an entire day of sitting in the corner of the OR, he sat me down in his office and said something like "Well I'm sure you have lots of questions for a guy like me, after all there's not too many other doctors worth shadowing in this dump."

                                        I remember asking if he had any advice to give me about going through medical school/residency and he said "Don't get married during school, or during residency. Matter of fact, just don't get married. If you're a halfway decent doctor it'll never work out anyway, I've been through three marriages already and let me tell ya...."

                                        Proceeded to give me a 20 minute lecture on why marriage is worthless.

                                        Then I asked him why he was such a miserable guy. No, just kidding, but I was definitely thinking that.

                                        That part about him being the only doctor worth shadowing is the reason why he's been through 3 marriages. typical surgeon ego. I should know
                                         
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                                        kopftonmd

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                                          I shadowed a general surgeon at a big, brand-name hospital (who I got put in touch with through the hospital's chief medical officer and was important in the surgery residency). He was a really, really great guy - really committed to teaching, even me, a lowly premed. He had sent me ahead with a med student to take a look at a post-op clinic patient who had a gazillion incisions from a hernia. We got back and he asked me to give whatever history/observations I had (stressful! but cool). Then I asked him why there were so many incisions and he took the time to go up to the board in his office and draw it out, explain why, and give a little tutorial on the decision to use certain kinds of stitches. It was great.

                                          He was also really great to talk to honestly - about medicine in general, about surgery, medical education, lifestyle, etc. Really a great mentor.

                                          And now that I think of it, in addition to him, I shadowed an ER doc/resident and a family med doc (who worked at a community practice with residents), and all of them were great.
                                           
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