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Job Shadowing Questions

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Santa333, May 13, 2007.

  1. Santa333

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    Hello SDN,

    I am going to be job shadowing a radiologist in about a week and was curious about how long people traditionally shadow doctors for. I've read posts here and people claim they have been shadowing for 10 months to a year. I was only planning on doing it for 1-2 weeks, for about 40+ hrs each week. This is what my pre-med advisor claimed I should do but according to what other people are doing i'm not sure if this is the best idea. The idea is to eventually get a letter of recommendation from him but I don't want to ask pre-maturely. I will most likely be shadowing him next summer also for about the same amount of time. Any feedback will be appreciated, thanks.
     
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  3. frubeak

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    If you are not applying this summer, I would not recommend shadowing for this long of a period. This is because, you'll get burned out at 40+ hours a week. Shadowing is great for exposure, but can get boring after many hours with the same doc, because you're not allowed to do anything. If you need a letter of rec soon, go a head and shadow for the two week period, and try to let the doc know you want a letter as soon as you feel comfortable doing so (not necessarily the end, in case you don't get the answer you want). If you're applying next year, shadow him once a week for a half day to get to know him, and then continue this next summer, and you'll have a great letter. In my case, I shadowed a doctor for one month (20hrs total) and got a letter from him. It was long enough to let him get to know me, and for me to feel comfortable with him and understand his specialty enough to ask for a letter.
     
  4. GreenShirt

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    40 hrs a week of standing in the corner watching a radiologist stare at a screen will get old fast. Doing a half-day every few days should be sufficient. Yes, you might get a more in-depth letter if you shadowed a Dr. every week for a year, but a couple of meetings over a summer should be plenty to write an LOR.
     
  5. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel

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    Most medical schools want LORs from your professors, not from doctors you've shadowed. You don't DO anything while shadowing, so it would be difficult for them to comment on much, other than that you show up on time eveyday, or seem interested in medicine. The point of shadowing is to learn about the profession and to make sure it's a good fit for you. It also gives you something to talk about in your PS.

    To the OP - I agree with the above posters, 40 hours a week following a radiologist is going to be boring without some sort of medical background (like a really good knowledge of anatomy). Even if the doctor is a good teacher, you're probably not going to learn much if you don't understand at least the basics. I'd also recommend doing it maybe a couple of hours a day, a few times a week. I'd also recommend seeing if you can shadow doctors in other specialties to get an idea of what other fields are like.
     
  6. brianmartin

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    I would NOT shadow everyday...that's weird.

    Once a week, or even once every few weeks is fine, maybe over a few months. Hopefully he likes teaching too.
     
  7. Bacchus

    Administrator Moderator Physician

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    I come from a rural area where most of the surrounding physicians are either family practitioners or internists. The nearest hospitals are just mere blips on the radar and do not have the resources of many upper level hospitals. This has left me in a predicament for shadowing. The easiest thing for me to do was to shadow my own family practitioner. You could do this, even if you don't intend on family medicine just so that you can get exposure. It also builds up a repetoire with the patients because if you live in an area like mine, the population is aged and they are seeing the doctor on a frequent basis. I've learned a lot of coping mechanisms and how to deal with the elderly in a respectful manner. As said above, make sure the doctor you are shadowing wants you to be there. You'll be able to tell the first day that you are there if its going to be an enjoyable experience or a miserable time. Seeing as the doctor is letting you be around 40+ hours I think you'll have a great time. I've shadowed last summer and now this summer for one or two days a week for 4-6 hours a day. Its a good amount, avoids burnout, and leaves time for friends, work, etc. Good luck!
     

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