Sep 13, 2014
18
0
Status
Pre-Podiatry
I'm currently a sophomore in high school (14). I recently broke my fibula and tore a ligament, so I've been seeing a podiatrist at Kaiser. I want to ask him for a shadowing opportunity at my next appointment, so I tried to get some administrative information on this matter. I called up volunteer services, but they told me that they didn't have a shadowing program. I don't think they understood that I had a specific doctor that I wanted to shadow. I also called up the Podiatry Department, and the receptionist picked up. She consulted with someone after I inquired about shadowing, and she simply told me to go through the volunteer department or something along those lines. I don't think she realized that I knew the podiatrist either. Being a big hospital, I know there's a lot more administrative stuff, such as HIPAA, to go through. After all these "no's" should I still ask my podiatrist? I heard that it helps ask to ask the podiatrist directly, especially because they can help me through a lot of the administrative stuff. However, I feel bad putting my podiatrist through so much administrative trouble. I mean, asking to shadow alone is a HUGE favor to ask for. I'm looking to shadow in the long term (1-2 hours weekly or biweekly). Am I asking for too much from my podiatrist? Thanks for all the help! It really means a lot!
 

skierbum

5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2009
127
16
someplace not so tropical
I would try this website to shadow...http://www.aacpm.org/contactpod/default.asp. But to be honest, while you are never too young to start thinking of these things, I would wait until you are graduated from high school to shadow. I would think that podiatrists would be slightly more receptive and also then it will be hours that can be listed on your application.
 
OP
J
Sep 13, 2014
18
0
Status
Pre-Podiatry
I would try this website to shadow...http://www.aacpm.org/contactpod/default.asp. But to be honest, while you are never too young to start thinking of these things, I would wait until you are graduated from high school to shadow. I would think that podiatrists would be slightly more receptive and also then it will be hours that can be listed on your application.
I know what you mean, but I just want this experience so that I can get to know this profession better. At this point, I can care less about whether or not it goes on my podiatry school application. I would hate to be on a pre-pod path in college, only to find that it isn't something I'm interested in. The reason why I want to shadow this specific doctor is because he was the one who inspired me to do this in the first place. I also feel a bit more comfortable with him than, say, some random stranger; he did do my ankle surgery after all. I want to refrain from randomly calling a podiatrist I don't know for opportunities, at least at this point. Right now, I just want some insight as to how this profession works, what patients you see, etc.

Honestly, the main reason why I'm having all these questions is because I'm afraid that I won't be as well recepted as a college student, or anyone older in this sense.
 

skierbum

5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2009
127
16
someplace not so tropical
Then I would talk to this Podiatrist directly then. Be aware that some doctors may not be comfortable with having a patient shadow them for privacy reasons.
 
Oct 10, 2012
372
33
Michigan
Status
Pre-Podiatry
Talk to the doctor personally! I remember when I was a senior in HS our school had a senior English course in which one of the projects was to job shadow your career path. I shadowed my podiatrist three times during the semester. For the future, you could also look into if your HS offers volunteer courses your senior year that takes up an elective course. If your school and a local hospital participate in this you could look into that. I knew several students that were required to shadow at least 6 hours per week to get the credit for the course. It didn't matter when you shadowed/volunteered for those 6 hours as long as you did them. Not many people I know did the hospital volunteering, but most that did that are no longer in the medical or science field 6yrs later. Look into if your school or local hospital participate in this type of program. In the summer between my senior HS year and freshman in college, I remember I talked with the local major hospital, signed a couple non-disclosure contracts, and came to the hospital about 5 or 6 times to shadow during surgeries just to get a feel of the medical field. I know that any doctor in which you watch over a surgery you need to get consent from the patient to be in the room.

AND if you do shadow now you need to realize that a podiatrist is not going to give you a letter of recommendation for a podiatry school that you won't even apply to for another 7yrs. It is great that you are looking into shadowing a podiatrist but you first gotta focus on your HS academics so you can get into a good college in the first place.
 
OP
J
Sep 13, 2014
18
0
Status
Pre-Podiatry
Talk to the doctor personally! I remember when I was a senior in HS our school had a senior English course in which one of the projects was to job shadow your career path. I shadowed my podiatrist three times during the semester. For the future, you could also look into if your HS offers volunteer courses your senior year that takes up an elective course. If your school and a local hospital participate in this you could look into that. I knew several students that were required to shadow at least 6 hours per week to get the credit for the course. It didn't matter when you shadowed/volunteered for those 6 hours as long as you did them. Not many people I know did the hospital volunteering, but most that did that are no longer in the medical or science field 6yrs later. Look into if your school or local hospital participate in this type of program. In the summer between my senior HS year and freshman in college, I remember I talked with the local major hospital, signed a couple non-disclosure contracts, and came to the hospital about 5 or 6 times to shadow during surgeries just to get a feel of the medical field. I know that any doctor in which you watch over a surgery you need to get consent from the patient to be in the room.

AND if you do shadow now you need to realize that a podiatrist is not going to give you a letter of recommendation for a podiatry school that you won't even apply to for another 7yrs. It is great that you are looking into shadowing a podiatrist but you first gotta focus on your HS academics so you can get into a good college in the first place.
The podiatrist I know works at Kaiser, and a lot of people are telling me it's really strict. What were the adminstrative processes you had to go through when you went to your local hospitals to shadow? With it being such a big company, I'm extremely worried about the administrative obstacles. And in your opinion, is it going to be hard for me to get a shadowing opportunity, since I'm still a sophomore?

I'm fully aware that he's not going to write me an LOR, but I really want an experience of observing what they do when they're in a clinic, seeing a patient, etc. Honestly, I'd be amazingly grateful if I could shadow. Anything I get outside of that is considered a bonus to me. A lot of people keep telling me "you shouldn't try this early,""I don't think they offer shadowing at Kaiser," or "maybe you should wait until you're older," and all this is making me even more nervous.
 
Sep 16, 2013
46
8
North Chicago
Status
Podiatry Student
I admire your determination. I knew someone in my undergrad that was able to shadow a doctor through Kaiser, I didn't confirm or know the process. However, I am pretty confident he did shadow there. First, I would look on Kaiser's website for a volunteer program. If they do have one, it would be a general volunteer service that could involve patients or doctors. If not, contact the location specifically. They might have a separate program that is specific for that hospital. If not, I would contact the doctor directly and just ask. He might even have a clinic outside Kaiser that you can easily volunteer at. The only problem that I see so far is that you're 14. They might see you as too young, but you can show them your determination and your reasons. I knew of a volunteer program at a hospital near my hometown that offered volunteering for 16-18 and 18+. The problem was that the 16-18 had to follow the 18+ around and were not able to touch or do anything except to see and talk.

These were from my experience and best of luck!

-PrePodDoc
 
OP
J
Sep 13, 2014
18
0
Status
Pre-Podiatry
I admire your determination. I knew someone in my undergrad that was able to shadow a doctor through Kaiser, I didn't confirm or know the process. However, I am pretty confident he did shadow there. First, I would look on Kaiser's website for a volunteer program. If they do have one, it would be a general volunteer service that could involve patients or doctors. If not, contact the location specifically. They might have a separate program that is specific for that hospital. If not, I would contact the doctor directly and just ask. He might even have a clinic outside Kaiser that you can easily volunteer at. The only problem that I see so far is that you're 14. They might see you as too young, but you can show them your determination and your reasons. I knew of a volunteer program at a hospital near my hometown that offered volunteering for 16-18 and 18+. The problem was that the 16-18 had to follow the 18+ around and were not able to touch or do anything except to see and talk.

These were from my experience and best of luck!

-PrePodDoc
They do have a volunteer program, but they don't accept applications until May. Regardless, I don't think I would have applied, because volunteering doesn't seem to provide me with the experience I'm looking for. I also volunteer at another hospital.

Being a hospital with a decent reputation, I'm afraid that their administrative policy, especially with HIPAA and patient privacy concerns, will be really strict. I think being 14, it's going to be a little harder getting through all those hoops, which is my greatest concern.

Thank you so much for your help and for acknowledging how important this is to me!
 

FootAndAnkle

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2013
221
123
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You may find shadowing a local private-office podiatrist to be easier than a hospital-affiliated one at your age. Not only would the shadowing be a good exposure to the field, but perhaps they may know other hospital-based podiatrists or be better connected at the hospital you're interested in to help facilitate having that experience eventually (you obviously have a bit of time before shadowing becomes an imperative activity). Since you're younger, I do think you need to be proactive both in convincing them up front that you understand the importance of privacy concerns and HIPAA compliance and in demonstrating that you're respectful and able to be trusted around patients (those really are significant concerns for someone your age). I think it's best to go in early, dressed professionally, and ask if you can talk to the podiatrist about setting up a shadowing experience at some time in the near future (this alleviates the pressure of them having to make a decision immediately, which would reflexively be 'no' for most, but they may offer for you to shadow same-day). Also, don't be offended if they decline and make sure you thank them for their time and consideration if that's the case. Just my 2¢.
 
Last edited:
Oct 10, 2012
372
33
Michigan
Status
Pre-Podiatry
Personally, I don't see how it could be that hard to shadow a podiatrist or any doctor even during HS. Simply because it isn't like you are doing hands on stuff, but the issue is that I bet their two reasons would be your age (maybe not being able to have a reliable vehicle to get there and back from your house) and HIPAA (they'll have you sign something but that may not be enough).

Really it can't hurt to check at least. What is two hours a week really going to do to your HS academics? Probably nothing. I would also think like FootAndAnkle siad, a private practice podiatrist would be more willing to let a 14yr old shadow him than someone in a hospital. That really may be your biggest issue right there in shadowing a hospital podiatrist.
 
Sep 16, 2013
46
8
North Chicago
Status
Podiatry Student
Don't forget, by shadowing a different podiatrist, you will be expose to a new specialty (hopefully) and be able to talk to a professional that you do not know since we are in a world that is moving towards an interprofessional setting where you will be talking to all health professionals across the spectrum.

As for the documents that you are required to sign, I don't know the age minimum and that usually will require a guardian to sign.

If you are for certain that you want to shadow that podiatrist, volunteer at the hospital for a couple of months to show them that you are mature and a professional. When you ask to shadow that podiatrist later on, you have the backing of the nurses, doctors, administrative, and anyone that works there to support and vouch for you.

Maybe you can ask for a letter of recommendation from one of your teacher or principal illustrating your manners. I actually think that would help you get in.

Best,

PrePodDoc
 
OP
J
Sep 13, 2014
18
0
Status
Pre-Podiatry
You may find shadowing a local private-office podiatrist to be easier than a hospital-affiliated one at your age. Not only would the shadowing be a good exposure to the field, but perhaps they may know other hospital-based podiatrists or be better connected at the hospital you're interested in to help facilitate having that experience eventually (you obviously have a bit of time before shadowing becomes an imperative activity). Since you're younger, I do think you need to be proactive both in convincing them up front that you understand the importance of privacy concerns and HIPAA compliance and in demonstrating that you're respectful and able to be trusted around patients (those really are significant concerns for someone your age). I think it's best to go in early, dressed professionally, and ask if you can talk to the podiatrist about setting up a shadowing experience at some time in the near future (this alleviates the pressure of them having to make a decision immediately, which would reflexively be 'no' for most, but they may offer for you to shadow same-day). Also, don't be offended if they decline and make sure you thank them for their time and consideration if that's the case. Just my 2¢.
Actually, I was going to ask my podiatrist at my next follow-up, scheduled for the 29th. (I'm four weeks post-op.) I imagine that I'll be doing most of the talking with my podiatrist, and he's the one I'm hoping to shadow. I've been seeing him biweekly for the past month or so for my follow-up visits. In this sense, would I still ultimately be "proving" that I am someone who understands patient privacy concerns, etc.? Skierbum also mentioned that some doctors aren't comfortable with patients shadowing due to privacy concerns. Is that still in regards to HIPAA, or is that a whole new matter?

With so much administrative bureaucracy going on at hospitals, is it unreasonable to want to shadow for a shorter amount of hours over a longer period of time? I know most people shadow for, perhaps, 4-6 hours every so often over the course of about two weeks, as opposed to 1-2 hours weekly/biweekly.

Thank you all so much for your responses. I am extremely grateful, and I definitely am learning a lot from all this amazing advice.
 

FootAndAnkle

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2013
221
123
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Actually, I was going to ask my podiatrist at my next follow-up, scheduled for the 29th. (I'm four weeks post-op.) I imagine that I'll be doing most of the talking with my podiatrist, and he's the one I'm hoping to shadow. I've been seeing him biweekly for the past month or so for my follow-up visits. In this sense, would I still ultimately be "proving" that I am someone who understands patient privacy concerns, etc.? Skierbum also mentioned that some doctors aren't comfortable with patients shadowing due to privacy concerns. Is that still in regards to HIPAA, or is that a whole new matter?

With so much administrative bureaucracy going on at hospitals, is it unreasonable to want to shadow for a shorter amount of hours over a longer period of time? I know most people shadow for, perhaps, 4-6 hours every so often over the course of about two weeks, as opposed to 1-2 hours weekly/biweekly.

Thank you all so much for your responses. I am extremely grateful, and I definitely am learning a lot from all this amazing advice.
I don’t think your visits with this doctor would particularly indicate an understanding of privacy concerns, but they may have been an opportunity to build a degree of rapport with this provider and show him that you’re mature and well-mannered enough to trust around patients. If that hasn't been sufficient, offering to get a letter for him like PrePodDoc suggested would probably finish tipping the balances in your favor.

I can’t speak for others, but I would say most of the privacy concerns I was thinking of would be HIPAA concerns in your case, since the high level of privacy afforded to patients under HIPAA reaches places you might not expect. For example, if you were speaking about a patient publicly without providing any of the personal identifying information you’d typically remember to not disclose, you could still be violating their HIPAA or institution-based privacy rights if the medical or case procedure happens to be unique enough to identify who that person is. In an instance I know of, this led to a student getting kicked out of their rotation since the comments they made were sufficiently identifying.

How often you shadow is not an issue at all – the main issue is fulfilling the hospital requirements for you to shadow. The doctor will more than likely be okay with you shadowing, and it's definitely better to get his approval before seeking any institutional approvals, both because it would be moot if he declines and since it helps to have someone on your side. Once you have his approval, it’s just a matter of fulfilling any credentialing requirements at the institution, which usually includes institutional courses, trainings, certifications, etc. Vaccination history and a two-step TB test will likely be required, as well. Since you may be excluded from fulfilling the institutional requirements due to your age, this is where the most likely hang-up would be (unless your podiatrist can pull some strings, being excluded at this point would pretty much be a point where that shadowing opportunity would no longer be a possibility).

So… definitely try to take the opportunity to arrange shadowing with this doc, but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out (hopefully it does, and go into it anticipating that it will work out fine). If this ends up not being possible, an office-based podiatrist can approve you on the spot for shadowing at the office, and they are often co-owners of the surgery centers they operate out of and can likely get you approved for shadowing there, if not for their hospital-based surgeries, as well. You could possibly procure a letter of recommendation for shadowing a private-office podiatrist from your current doc if it’s just hospital constraints that end up holding you back. Best of luck and hope it works out.
 
OP
J
Sep 13, 2014
18
0
Status
Pre-Podiatry
Since you may be excluded from fulfilling the institutional requirements due to your age, this is where the most likely hang-up would be (unless your podiatrist can pull some strings, being excluded at this point would pretty much be a point where that shadowing opportunity would no longer be a possibility).
I'm a tiny bit confused as to what you mean by this. Can you elaborate a little for me? Wouldn't I be denied if my age were an issue earlier on in the process? And since I'm going to have a minimal amount of patient interaction, wouldn't it be "unnecessary" to take classes? After all, my podiatrist is going to be with me pretty much all the time, and being at an outpatient clinic, I doubt there's going to be a lot of emergency situations where I will need to take care of thing. Or is this all usually hospital policy? I took classes for another hospital I'm volunteering at, and they pretty much just went over washing hands and emergency precautions.
 

FootAndAnkle

5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2013
221
123
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I'm a tiny bit confused as to what you mean by this. Can you elaborate a little for me? Wouldn't I be denied if my age were an issue earlier on in the process? And since I'm going to have a minimal amount of patient interaction, wouldn't it be "unnecessary" to take classes? After all, my podiatrist is going to be with me pretty much all the time, and being at an outpatient clinic, I doubt there's going to be a lot of emergency situations where I will need to take care of thing. Or is this all usually hospital policy? I took classes for another hospital I'm volunteering at, and they pretty much just went over washing hands and emergency precautions.
If it's an issue, you will be denied early in the process, but perhaps not after approval by the podiatrist himself (i.e., podiatrist approval straight to institutional denial).

Sample (of what we don't want to happen):

Podiatrist: "Hi (insert non-budging administrator name here), I told this girl it would be okay with me for her to shadow, how do we set this up?"

Administrator: "Sorry (insert podiatrist name here), institutional policy doesn't allow anybody under the age of 16 years hospital clearance."

Podiatrist: "Okay, let her know for me, will you?"

Administrator: "Sure."

Of course many things they may require of you could be unnecessary, but this is the nature of corporate hospitals (they delight in making you jump through hoops - it's like their hobby). As to what specifically they would require, it's completely institution-specific and can vary widely, so you won't really know until you try to set things up. It was quite extensive for me to get hospital clearance when I shadowed, but perhaps Kaiser is less stringent. Especially considering your age, you will do much better not questioning why they ask you to fulfill their requirements and instead just go with the flow and get anything they want done completed (when it's a hospital, they're as much the "host" as the doctor, so you need to be a "polite guest" with regard to both, if you'll excuse the analogy).

Sorry that I don't have time to keep up with this thread any longer, but best of luck to you and if you have any other questions maybe someone else will jump in again or you could ask the vascular surgeon that responded on your other thread (he'd probably be the best qualified to continue advising you on the matter).