May 13, 2012
I'm sorry if this has beeen asked before, but I couldnt't find any answers with my search: my current third year schedule is all prescheduled until september, so i wont be able to do a rotation in a field that I may be interestsd in until then. Obviously that makes getting a letter of recommendation for that specialty a problem. Can I shadow a physician in that specialty in my own time to get a letter, or is that frowned upon? Any other ways to get tthe letter I need?

thanks all in advance!

Doctor Bob

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2009
Attending Physician
Can I shadow a physician in that specialty in my own time to get a letter, or is that frowned upon?
It is not frowned upon. In fact that's pretty much the best way to do it.
During 3rd year, when you have light rotations, or downtime on inpatient rotations, go shadow someone in the area you're interested in. It shows initiative and interest in the field.
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Nov 10, 2013
Resident [Any Field]
I'd say yes, shadowing for a recommendation is always a great idea. You also don't really have to worry about getting a LOR until a month or so before they're due so it may work out depending if you're going MD or DO in the match as to when you're LORs will actually be needed for ERAS. Another thing you can look at is getting one from the department chair of your school in the department that you want to go into. I had chatted with this person frequently throughout first and second year and then just set up a meeting in third year and then she offered which made that easy and nice.

The other thing I thought about with letters was getting a letter from someone in a related field that made sense to what I was trying to accomplish. I was going ob/gyn so a letter from someone in urology that does pelvic reconstruction did a letter for me and then one in colorectal surgery did one. I think too sometimes it's nice to get a letter from someone that's not directly in the same field as where you're going to show that you really are well rounded and put in effort on different rotations also. In the world of medical education I've seen students a few times really mess up on rotations that they're not interested in when really doing well on all rotations says more to a residency than just the one you're interested in.

I have some more LOR advice on my blog: