Mar 5, 2010
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Hi, I have a couple of questions ranging from simple to silly ones.
I have never shadowed a physician before so I'm not entirely sure how shadowing works. If anyone can answer these couple of questions it would be very helpful.

1. What do you do when you shadow a physician? Just follow and observe?
2. What kind of physician do you shadow, the ones working at a hospital or the ones with his own clinic? Or both? Is there an advantage over the other?
3. How do you approach a physician if you want to shadow him/her?
4. Would it be a good idea to shadow multiple physicians with different specialties or would it be better to stick to one?

A friend told me to find a DO physician to shadow using AOA and I'm able to find quite a lot of DOs with all kinds of specialties but I have no idea on how to approach them about shadowing him/her. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Btw, what does it mean (does it matter?) to be AOA Board Certified?

Thanks
 
Jan 28, 2010
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Hi, I have a couple of questions ranging from simple to silly ones.
I have never shadowed a physician before so I'm not entirely sure how shadowing works. If anyone can answer these couple of questions it would be very helpful.

1. What do you do when you shadow a physician? Just follow and observe?
2. What kind of physician do you shadow, the ones working at a hospital or the ones with his own clinic? Or both? Is there an advantage over the other?
3. How do you approach a physician if you want to shadow him/her?
4. Would it be a good idea to shadow multiple physicians with different specialties or would it be better to stick to one?

A friend told me to find a DO physician to shadow using AOA and I'm able to find quite a lot of DOs with all kinds of specialties but I have no idea on how to approach them about shadowing him/her. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Btw, what does it mean (does it matter?) to be AOA Board Certified?

Thanks
1. From my shadowing experience you just follow the doctor and read labs and previous dictations while they're writing their progress notes or recording their dictations. While with the patient you just stand back and look pretty, but my doctor had me do a bit of translating for him since he wasn't too fluent in spanish.
2. You shadow whoever you can get, but of course it'd be best to find a doctor in the specialty that you are interested in or at least intrigued by. Some DO med schools want a DO letter while others don't care whether it's MD or DO. Right now I'm shadowing an interventional cardiologist who's a MD so I'll probably try to find a DO in a different field soon. Two doctors in the same specialty pretty much do the same thing whether they are DO or MD. I would say the advantage of shadowing both would be to see the different philosophies, but from what I hear and read nowadays is that there is really no difference.
3. With the first physician I shadowed I kind of got hooked up since I was volunteering in their research dept and the research coordinator knew I was premed so she wanted me to get some shadowing in. For the other one, it took alot of hard work, not that it's difficult getting doctors to shadow, but that I'm the shadowing program coordinator for my premed society and I pretty much had to create the program without much help. From our 1st semester of shadowing, 11 doctors out of ~60 asked said yes. We used a formal letter and it was more effective delivering in person. I say make a resume and drop off at the clinics.
4. People could have different ideas on this one. My opinion is to get some middle ground in between the two. Shadowing ~2 or 3 doctors for maybe ~20 hrs each is better than shadowing lots of doctors without much time spent shadowing. However, I do agree that it's great to make a bond with a doctor and create a "friendship" since that'll equal some great shadowing xp and a nice letter of rec.

Hope this helps...I think I went a little overboard with my answers hehe
 

BenUstudent

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1. From my shadowing experience you just follow the doctor and read labs and previous dictations while they're writing their progress notes or recording their dictations. While with the patient you just stand back and look pretty, but my doctor had me do a bit of translating for him since he wasn't too fluent in spanish.
2. You shadow whoever you can get, but of course it'd be best to find a doctor in the specialty that you are interested in or at least intrigued by. Some DO med schools want a DO letter while others don't care whether it's MD or DO. Right now I'm shadowing an interventional cardiologist who's a MD so I'll probably try to find a DO in a different field soon. Two doctors in the same specialty pretty much do the same thing whether they are DO or MD. I would say the advantage of shadowing both would be to see the different philosophies, but from what I hear and read nowadays is that there is really no difference.
3. With the first physician I shadowed I kind of got hooked up since I was volunteering in their research dept and the research coordinator knew I was premed so she wanted me to get some shadowing in. For the other one, it took alot of hard work, not that it's difficult getting doctors to shadow, but that I'm the shadowing program coordinator for my premed society and I pretty much had to create the program without much help. From our 1st semester of shadowing, 11 doctors out of ~60 asked said yes. We used a formal letter and it was more effective delivering in person. I say make a resume and drop off at the clinics.
4. People could have different ideas on this one. My opinion is to get some middle ground in between the two. Shadowing ~2 or 3 doctors for maybe ~20 hrs each is better than shadowing lots of doctors without much time spent shadowing. However, I do agree that it's great to make a bond with a doctor and create a "friendship" since that'll equal some great shadowing xp and a nice letter of rec.

Hope this helps...I think I went a little overboard with my answers hehe
first great post WatchForDaEF55,
now I was wondering if you want to get an L.O.R. from a Physician that I would be are shadowing, would I consider more hours like 40~50hrs? Also should I shadow a physician this summer and ask for a L.O.R. even though I am applying in the 2012 cycle? so pretty much would I directly receive the letter or would he/she have to submit it through AMCAS and AACOMAS?
 
Last edited:
Dec 3, 2009
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Really try to find a Dr that you are comfortable with and get along really well with. This makes all the awkwardness of asking questions and for LORs much easier. The better you know them the better your LOR is going to be, most likely. I got connected with a DO through my Dad who happened to be doing some work with an MD who had a DO on his staff. I got a hold of his email and sent him a really simple email that i wanted to inquire more about Osteopathic medicine. He sent me back an email with his phone number and the hours he was available. I talked to him for about 30 minutes asking DO school questions and then at the end of the convo i asked if he would mind me shadowing him. He went to the same undergrad as me so we had quite a bit in common which was great for starting up conversation. We are both avid hunters and trade hunting stories all the time. I have shadowed him for about a year, once or twice every month to keep the relationship up.

If start shadowing and don't get along well with the Dr. I would try to find another one.

AOA board certified just means that they are a practicing osteopathic physician.

I mostly just followed him around and sat in the room and didn't do much. When there was something interesting to feel on the patient he would show me and i would help him get ready for injections, otherwise just absorb everything.

My doc also had multiple residents and fellows during the time I was shadowing, it was a great experience to see how these relationships worked as well.

Good Luck
 

SLC

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Mar 24, 2010
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Hi, I have a couple of questions ranging from simple to silly ones.
I have never shadowed a physician before so I'm not entirely sure how shadowing works. If anyone can answer these couple of questions it would be very helpful.

1. What do you do when you shadow a physician? Just follow and observe?
Depends on the physician, and your level of medical experience. I'm an Intermediate EMT, meaning I am certified to deliver IV's, IM, SQ, & ID injections, read EKG's, collect a history etc. When I've shadowed, most doctors prefer to treat me like a newly rotating med-student. I go in, get the history, then the physician enters and I deliver the history to him/her. Then if there are any procedures I'm legally allowed to participate in, we get consent and I help out. If you're relatively new to the Pre-med process, I highly reccomend getting your EMT or MA certifications and trying to make the most out of shadowing that way. You'll like it better, and the physician will like having you shadow better.

2. What kind of physician do you shadow, the ones working at a hospital or the ones with his own clinic? Or both? Is there an advantage over the other?
I've shadowed both, but mostly ones in clinics rather than hospitals. Hospitalists are generally much more rushed, and seem to have less time for students. But you need to see both worlds! There are definate advantages to trying to shadow both.

3. How do you approach a physician if you want to shadow him/her?
There are a million ways to do it, I chose to volunteer in Community Health Centers, where there are a lot of volunteer doctors. I met them there, cultivated a relationship, then many of them invited me to shadow them at their clinics and hospitals. Usually hospital and clinic groups have some sort of student outreach program to connect students to shadowing and other opportunities. You could try there.

4. Would it be a good idea to shadow multiple physicians with different specialties or would it be better to stick to one?
Shadow as many different specialties as you can, the idea is to use the experience to show that you know something about the world of medicine, and what it means to be a doctor. You can learn very quickly about which specialties you are interested in, which ones you aren't, and what doctors of different specialties deal with on a day to day basis. It's not merely just a box on your app to check off, but a learning experience. ADCOM's expect you to know a thing or two about what it means to be a doctor, this is one of the best ways for you to gain some insight.

A friend told me to find a DO physician to shadow using AOA and I'm able to find quite a lot of DOs with all kinds of specialties but I have no idea on how to approach them about shadowing him/her. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Just contact them, tell them about yourself, where you are in your education etc, and explain that you're interested in Osteopathic Medicine. I'd think they'd have some interest in meeting you at that point. Don't be shy!

SLC
 
Jul 31, 2009
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If you are lucky you will find a Dr that will let you do basic stuff. The one I shadowed let me do vitals, drug test, UA, patient history, fill out scripts Of course he signed them. He would explain things to us and give us lessons of the day. I think it had to do with the fact that he was a clinical Prof from NOVA, so he was use to teaching and he loved it.
 

ArkansasRanger

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Feb 9, 2009
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Well, about seven to eight years ago when I was originally premed I did my shadowing under the auspices of being there as a paramedic student. Seriously, I went in to do my paramedic student stuff, hit it up with the doctors, and I shadowed them most of my shifts. It annoyed the nurses, but oh well. That's when I was originally premed before I decided to try on other occupations first.