Repeatedly sending emails/phone calls to Doctors for shadowing

AlfonsTheGuru

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I want to shadow a physician. Their office or even the physician personally tell me they'll call me back tomorrow. They never do, unfortunately. My emails aren't even getting responses.

Should I call the office on a daily basis until I get a straight up no? Get aggressive? Or is there some other strategy I am unaware of?
 

md-2020

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Emails/ a CV have worked well for me in the past.
 
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AlfonsTheGuru

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Emails/ a CV have worked well for me in the past.
They usually request a resume, so I send a resume. Perhaps it is poor?
 

md-2020

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They usually request a resume, so I send a resume. Perhaps it is poor?
I don't think they care too much about how accomplished you are for shadowing.

The only thing I can think of is if your resume is too long (>2 pages) CVs are generally preferred b/c they're quick and concise.
 
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AlfonsTheGuru

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I don't think they care too much about how accomplished you are for shadowing.

The only thing I can think of is if your resume is too long (>2 pages) CVs are generally preferred b/c they're quick and concise.
My resume is actually very brief with a few accomplishments and what I'm doing educational wise at the moment. I'm calling offices and typing this at the same time. Some of the employees seem to not know what shadowing is and repeatedly ask me if I'm a patient. Persistence is key I guess.
 

JustintheDoctor

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My resume is actually very brief with a few accomplishments and what I'm doing educational wise at the moment. I'm calling offices and typing this at the same time. Some of the employees seem to not know what shadowing is and repeatedly ask me if I'm a patient. Persistence is key I guess.
Am I the only one that laughed at that? I would get a little aggravated in that type of situation
 
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AlfonsTheGuru

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Am I the only one that laughed at that? I would get a little aggravated in that type of situation
It's starting to get worst. I sent a nurse an e-mail saying I was expecting a response from Dr. Wheeler earlier this week. Apparently, she was became upset.

"Also this is a courtesy he is doing so please do not use the word expected, not a good start."


Should I ignore this ever happened or actually apologize?
 
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JustintheDoctor

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It's starting to get worst. I sent a nurse an e-mail saying I was expecting a response from Dr. Wheeler earlier this week. Apparently, she was became upset.

"Also this is a courtesy he is doing so please do not use the word expected, not a good start."


Should I ignore this ever happened or actually apologize?
Honestly, I guess I would apologize. "Sorry, I just wasn't hearing back and I'm really excited to get started" or something like that so you can make yourself look good.
 

karayaa

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Hmm it is a huge courtesy that he is doing for you.
It doesn't help him at all. He doesn't need to do it. It slows him down and interrupts his day, and unless he already knows you, it's a potential risk to the relationship with his patients if you do something dumb while you're there. He's putting his reputation on the line. It's out of the goodness of their heart that doctors let pre-meds shadow them at all.

I don't know how you're communicating, but it's easy to imagine a pre-med, who feels that he deserves to be able to shadow doctors, communicating a sense of arrogance or entitlement.
@JustintheDoctor, in stead of "get started", which implies that it's a done deal, and that the only thing delaying you is red tape, I would say something like "excited to have the opportunity".
 
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AlfonsTheGuru

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Hmm it is a huge courtesy that he is doing for you.
It doesn't help him at all. He doesn't need to do it. It slows him down and interrupts his day, and unless he already knows you, it's a potential risk to the relationship with his patients if you do something dumb while you're there. He's putting his reputation on the line. It's out of the goodness of their heart that doctors let pre-meds shadow them at all.

I don't know how you're communicating, but it's easy to imagine a pre-med, who feels that he deserves to be able to shadow doctors, communicating a sense of arrogance or entitlement.
@JustintheDoctor, in stead of "get started", which implies that it's a done deal, and that the only thing delaying you is red tape, I would say something like "excited to have the opportunity".
I didn't mean this with such a connotation. I actually replied with "excited to have the possible opportunity."
 

mw18

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Hmm it is a huge courtesy that he is doing for you.
It doesn't help him at all. He doesn't need to do it. It slows him down and interrupts his day, and unless he already knows you, it's a potential risk to the relationship with his patients if you do something dumb while you're there. He's putting his reputation on the line. It's out of the goodness of their heart that doctors let pre-meds shadow them at all.

I don't know how you're communicating, but it's easy to imagine a pre-med, who feels that he deserves to be able to shadow doctors, communicating a sense of arrogance or entitlement.
@JustintheDoctor, in stead of "get started", which implies that it's a done deal, and that the only thing delaying you is red tape, I would say something like "excited to have the opportunity".
Everything you said is absolutely true. I had a very similar thought process. That being said, these physicians got where they are by standing on the shoulders of other physicians (shadowing, LORs, etc) before them. So I hope I am mindful of that when I practice someday.

To OP, I think sounding entitled is likely the worst way to go about this. Nobody owes you anything. Stay incredibly humble about it all. I would likely be very apologetic for sounding as if you were owed something. "I am genuinely sorry for what I can now see was a very entitled and self-involved choice of words. I understand how busy a physician's routine is and can be, and I would be thrilled with a response whenever Dr. Soandso has an opportunity. I apologize for letting my enthusiasm come across as anything more than just that."

But I really respect that you're grinding and doing the tough work to get experience. Not everyone has connections, and I'm glad to see people who are stepping out of their comfort zone instead of just skipping the experience.
 
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Would it make things easier if you could pay $100 and be good to go anytime, with any physician, in a real life hospital?
 

karayaa

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Have you or family members interacted with any doctors, as patients, or as friends?
Are you in school? Are there any MDs/DOs at your student health center? Is there a med school nearby? Do you have a pre-health advisor who could offer suggestions? Do you have any pre-med friends in your area?

Cold calling is tough. I prefer to walk in in person, but I got a lot of science. Persistence and polite enthusiasm pays off. I would make an initial contact, then wait a week before talking to them again. Sometimes doctors have clinic days vs surgery days, or work at multiple sites during the week, which can slow communication.

Have you tried local private hospitals, low-income community health centers, public health offices, homeless shelters, etc, besides private practice offices?
In general I'd say that primary care docs are the busiest so they're least likely to respond.
 
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AlfonsTheGuru

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Have you tried asking doctors at a teaching hospital?
The only teaching hospital I am aware of and could even find in my area is incredibly packed. Hopefully, there will be a spot for me soon.
Have you or family members interacted with any doctors, as patients, or as friends?
Are you in school? Are there any MDs/DOs at your student health center? Is there a med school nearby? Do you have a pre-health advisor who could offer suggestions? Do you have any pre-med friends in your area?

Cold calling is tough. I prefer to walk in in person, but I got a lot of science. Persistence and polite enthusiasm pays off. I would make an initial contact, then wait a week before talking to them again. Sometimes doctors have clinic days vs surgery days, or work at multiple sites during the week, which can slow communication.

Have you tried local private hospitals, low-income community health centers, public health offices, homeless shelters, etc, besides private practice offices?
In general I'd say that primary care docs are the busiest so they're least likely to respond.
I'm not in undergrad at the moment, and I know no pre-meds. The hospitals I have called don't offer shadowing. I have an appointment with my primary care physician next week. I'll ask him if I can shadow. He is actually very polite, so I hope for the best. I thank you for your suggestions though :)
 

NotYou20

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I don't think they care too much about how accomplished you are for shadowing.

The only thing I can think of is if your resume is too long (>2 pages) CVs are generally preferred b/c they're quick and concise.
I think you have those two confused.

OP, how many offices have you asked? What I did was call 10-20 offices at a time and I almost always had to leave a voicemail. One or two would call or email me back and I went from there.
 

karayaa

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The only teaching hospital I am aware of and could even find in my area is incredibly packed. Hopefully, there will be a spot for me soon.

I'm not in undergrad at the moment, and I know no pre-meds. The hospitals I have called don't offer shadowing. I have an appointment with my primary care physician next week. I'll ask him if I can shadow. He is actually very polite, so I hope for the best. I thank you for your suggestions though :)
That's great! I hope it works out.
If you can find a health-related volunteer position, either at a hospital or elsewhere, that can be a good place to meet doctors directly, or meet people who know doctors and can connect you and vouch for you :)

edit-maybe you can convince your PCP to refer you to a sub-specialist, so you can meet another doctor.
 

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The only teaching hospital I am aware of and could even find in my area is incredibly packed. Hopefully, there will be a spot for me soon.
Keep trying, and good luck to you.
You'll likely have better luck finding a doctor there, as some private practices have HIPAA policies that restrict doctors from having shadows. x
 
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I think you have those two confused.

OP, how many offices have you asked? What I did was call 10-20 offices at a time and I almost always had to leave a voicemail. One or two would call or email me back and I went from there.
You are absolutely right. I need to increase my efforts and call a lot of offices.

That's great! I hope it works out.
If you can find a health-related volunteer position, either at a hospital or elsewhere, that can be a good place to meet doctors directly, or meet people who know doctors and can connect you and vouch for you :)

edit-maybe you can convince your PCP to refer you to a sub-specialist, so you can meet another doctor.
I'm actually going to volunteer at a children's hospital :) Maybe I'll like pediatrics.
 

allantois

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Keep trying, and good luck to you.
You'll likely have better luck finding a doctor there, as some private practices have HIPAA policies that restrict doctors from having shadows. x
Physicians in private practice can take shadows at their will regardless of HIPAA. It is the hospitals that are taking that kind of autonomy from physicians.


For OP (if you are in Miami), take a look at the lists of affiliated faculty at UM/FIU/NSU. Those people are the ones who voluntarily take students (albeit medical ones), so their offices should have more familiarity of what you are looking for.

Oh, and another thing, I found shadowing specialists was much easier than trying to get thorough to a busy primary care doc.

Also, try this registry:
http://cf.osteopathic.org/iLearn/home.cfm
 
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Strudel19

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I tried two methods. 1) mail out 20 letters introducing myself with a resume attached. One family practice doctor who was an alumnus of my university and fraternity had me come in. We saw some patients, I got to interview him, and then he had a medical student doing his rotationsthere that happened to go to my top choice IS school so I got to pick his brain. 2) I cold-called nearly every office in the phone book and they all said they'd get back with me - no one did. In my experience, an inside connection is extremely helpful.

Edit: The registry from the poster above is where I send my letters.
 

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I tried two methods. 1) mail out 20 letters introducing myself with a resume attached. One family practice doctor who was an alumnus of my university and fraternity had me come in. We saw some patients, I got to interview him, and then he had a medical student doing his rotationsthere that happened to go to my top choice IS school so I got to pick his brain. 2) I cold-called nearly every office in the phone book and they all said they'd get back with me - no one did. In my experience, an inside connection is extremely helpful.

Edit: The registry from the poster above is where I send my letters.
Shadowing is such a trivial process. Perhaps I'm just jaded due to bad experiences but it's a lot of work to contact a physician, set everything up, and then awkwardly be in their way while they work. I also had a miserable time trying to get one of the docs (who happily agreed to write me a letter in person) actually write and submit said letter.
 

Strudel19

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Shadowing is such a trivial process. Perhaps I'm just jaded due to bad experiences but it's a lot of work to contact a physician, set everything up, and then awkwardly be in their way while they work. I also had a miserable time trying to get one of the docs (who happily agreed to write me a letter in person) actually write and submit said letter.
I could not agree with this more.
 
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I don't care enough to read this whole thread, but I hated shadowing so much. 95% of the doctors I asked were old men who had no idea shadowing was necessary. They kept acting like I was some huge overachiever for doing what is basically obligatory. Sure, they're nice, but you can't really ask them for advice on pre-med issues because they're completely removed from the issue (absolute 0 understanding of the modern competition level). I think I got told 3 times that with scores like mine the interview was just a formality anyway so I didn't need to concern myself. I have to find a DO to shadow now and I doubt any of them will comprehend that my shadowing experience and LoR is 100% obligatory to even apply to half of the schools.

Plus, most were poor physicians by ADCOM standards. It just made me feel like this entire process is a joke. I feel like if I walked into some pseudo-MMI wherein I was forced to interact with a patient, and I did so in the way the physicians did, i'd be "red flagged". I'm sure they're perfectly competent at their jobs, its just that this whole "you must have amazing collaboration and communication and interpersonal skills" schtick was a complete joke. And i'm referring to PCPs. Surgeons were 100x worse. I think the general surgeons I shadowed spent maybe 15 minutes per day speaking with patients and the full level of "collaboration" involved was telling the nurses what to hand him while he fixed hernias.
 
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