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Keys To Impress Shadowed Doc

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by 68PGunner, May 20, 2014.

  1. 68PGunner

    68PGunner 5+ Year Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    Hey, I need tips from people. All opinions are welcome.

    I just contacted our brigade surgeon through the help of my boss. My brigade surgeon actually hooked me up with the program director in charge of the family practice residency at one of the Army Big 4 Med Centers. He's seemingly pretty high up there in term of influence and connections. It's a real possibility that I could be shadowing this guy for 8-9 weeks. A raving LOR from him would go a long way in my medical school application.

    What do I need to do to impress?
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  3. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville Rocket Scientist 7+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Show up on time or early, dont get in the way, act, look and be professional.
  4. 68PGunner

    68PGunner 5+ Year Member

    Sep 16, 2012

    I'm looking for specifics in order to distinguish myself from typical pre-meds. I'm old enough to be a professional in a typical work setting.
  5. Chip N Sawbones

    Chip N Sawbones Ship's Carpenter 7+ Year Member

    Jan 19, 2011
    62 degrees North
    What EngDude said. You aren't going to impress a doctor with your vast medical knowledge, so don't try. Don't ask the doctor questions when he's with a patient. You shouldn't need to shadow a doctor for that long to get a LOR or to check the necessary box on your med school applications. 20-30 hours should be plenty. There's probably better things that you can do with your time than shadowing for 8-9 weeks.
  6. 68PGunner

    68PGunner 5+ Year Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    Actually, my boss is allowing me to take 8-9 weeks from my typical work to be at the hospital to get my shadowing. I don't think that this is going to be a typical shadowing check in the box kind of deal. Both the brigade doc and my boss know this guy. I think this shadowed doc is going to take care of me pretty well if I leave him with a positive image of me.

    I think there might be some off work dialogue with this guy at some point in order for him to get to know me better. That's why I'm asking for specifics based on personal experience.
  7. arainyday

    arainyday 7+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2010
    Just be professional, watch, and learn. The best shadowing experiences I've had had little to do with me, and much more to do with the doctor I was shadowing (happy to explain things, great bedside manner, etc). Just treat it like any situation were you want to make a good impression, and I'm sure it will be fine, especially if you're shadowing for 8-9 weeks. I think most doctors agreed to shadow knowing that they might be asked for a letter, and I've never had trouble getting one.
  8. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville Rocket Scientist 7+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    This is one of those situations where it pays to play it cool. Dont try to hard or you'll mess it up. Just pay attention and dont seem bored, even if you are. Try to be pleasant. I'd hate to be around a "try hard" for 8-9 weeks straight, you know?
  9. Goro

    Goro Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2010
    Somewhere west of St. Louis
    And pay attention. If you ask questions, ask good ones.

    68PGunner likes this.
  10. petyr_baelish

    petyr_baelish 5+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    I shadowed a doc for 70 hours in 10 days so it was a lot of face time and early mornings. It resulted in a great letter since I used it to get a research position at a top 20 med school and they told me how good it was. So what I did to impress him was basically a list of don'ts:

    Do not compete with the residents (like answering questions before they get a chance to speak).
    Do not touch the patients.
    Do not be a jerk to anyone in the hospital.
    Do not turn down anything educational (like an invitation to a conference/presentation in the hospital).

    What I did do:

    acted like a normal person, engaged in small talk, asked the secretary how their day was going and where they learned such great French (when I observed them speaking French), brought chocolates to everyone at the end of the stint and wrote thank you cards to anyone I got to shadow. I was pawned off sometimes to different doctors so I could see different specialties, so everyone got a handwritten note about what I enjoyed learning from each Dr.
    WhippleWhileWeWork and 68PGunner like this.
  11. Strudel19

    Strudel19 5+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2011
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    I would agree with everything people are saying about staying out of the way.
  12. Primum_non_nocere


    Apr 15, 2014
    Read some material related to his specialty, medicine in general, public policy, something medical-related in the news etc. Go online through your library and read some medical journal article in his specialty. Ask him what he thinks of xyz. Be prepared to have an opinion and a, more importantly, a reason why you think that way. I think the main thing to demonstrate is intellectual curiosity. You aren't going to have special medical knowledge, nor will the doc expect you to have it. The physician I shadowed would ask me things occasionally, and I knew about 5% of what he was talking about when it was specific. This does not preclude you from asking relevant questions. Questions demonstrate interest. Don't just sit and nod your head when they are talking to you. And contrary to previous advice, don't be afraid to ask questions you perceive as "not good" questions. You would be surprised, some of the questions you think are dumb, often have very interesting and counter-intuitive answers. Put yourself in a child-like state, ask why's and how's.

    99% of people that shadow will show up on time, be well-dressed, etc. Most people shadowing are ambitious people who have their **** together, at a basic functioning level. You have to do something that will make you stand out. Most of the previous advice given will not make you stand out, it's simply the bare minimum to not be remembered poorly. The question was "how to impress a shadowed doc" not, "how to a blend into the sea of other pre-meds that shadow docs." If you are looking to stand-out, you have to consciously decide you will do so, and take action. My shadowing experience consisted of me sitting in the doc's office for about 30 minutes before we would go on patient consults and watch operations. During this time, we talked about medical legislation, medical topics in the news, medical ethics, amongst other things. I'm fortunate that my doc wanted to talk and engage with me. I ended up getting a raving LOR and a phone call from him to the Dean of Admissions. Part of all of this, though, was a function of how well our personalities clicked.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
    QuentinT88 and 68PGunner like this.
  13. WhippleWhileWeWork

    WhippleWhileWeWork 2+ Year Member

    Mar 20, 2014
    I think trying to stand out is a fool's errand. People will either like you or they won't. Be professional, be courteous, be kind.
  14. da Vincis World

    da Vincis World 7+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Couldn't agree more!

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