Shadowing duration?

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xylem29

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Hey peeps - need some tips.

I already posted a similar question on the adcom advice thread, waiting to hear back - but here goes: one of my criticisms by schools this cycle, is that I have no shadowing or clinical experience...a geriatric centre is not enough.

So I was thinking of doing some shadowing right now, and then send my schools an update - do you think this is a good idea or is it sorta too late?

With regards to shadowing, how long do people usually shadow for?? One day? A week? Once a week for a month???
 

fightingon

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it depends on the schedule of the doc ur shadowing, but i would say the more quality experiences come after many weeks of shadowing...probably even semesters of it. that said, a lot of people will just shadow like 5 times total or something and then they're done. i just feel like its better to committ to a longer amount of time, and all of my experiences were 3-9 months in length. hope that helps!
 

em783

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Along the lines of asking these shadowing questions, do you all think it's appropriate to ask one of your specialists if you can shadow them? I have a doctor's appointment with her today and would LOVE to shadow her, and she's a really nice person, but am just wondering if that's kosher to ask after/during an appointment...
 

xylem29

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it depends on the schedule of the doc ur shadowing, but i would say the more quality experiences come after many weeks of shadowing...probably even semesters of it. that said, a lot of people will just shadow like 5 times total or something and then they're done. i just feel like its better to committ to a longer amount of time, and all of my experiences were 3-9 months in length. hope that helps!

did u go in once a week for this duration?
 

armybound

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Along the lines of asking these shadowing questions, do you all think it's appropriate to ask one of your specialists if you can shadow them? I have a doctor's appointment with her today and would LOVE to shadow her, and she's a really nice person, but am just wondering if that's kosher to ask after/during an appointment...
I would see no problem with it
 

xylem29

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Oh btw - are there specialties that are better for shadowing?

Like, I'm assuming that radiology is not a great one for shadowing right?

I'm thinking of shadowing a cardiologist or anesthesiologist
 

fightingon

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ok well i directed the shadowing program for undergrads at my college, and it was set up so that the students volunteered or shadowed for 4 hrs per week...for the whole semester. i think this gave them a great experience and they actually learned a lot from it. i would suggest something along these lines. if you can't committ to 4 hrs/week try 2hrs/week but make sure you do it for some time. if you can get yourself into the OR, that time goes by so fast, and you'll never forget the things you see. personally i shadowed an anesthesiologist, whose job i thought was uninteresting and way too overcompensated for, but he was in the OR during the surgeries so i got to witness all of them. on top of that he grilled me on all kinds of medical stuff that i had no idea about. now i will never forget that CO=HR x SV!!!
 

xylem29

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So it's okay that I shadowing during this cycle, and then update them with it?

I mean, they won't see it as a negative like: oh, you should've done all this before he applied...
 

armybound

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So it's okay that I shadowing during this cycle, and then update them with it?

I mean, they won't see it as a negative like: oh, you should've done all this before he applied...
"better late than never" comes to mind

and if you don't get accepted this year you'll have a jump start on shadowing for next year
 

xylem29

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do you just email/call any physician and ask?
 

armybound

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do you just email/call any physician and ask?
if that's the only means you have, then yes.

I'm pretty fortunate that my mom works in a hospital, so she can set them up for me. You can also see if any of your friends have parents who are doctors or if they've shadowed and can set you up.

but if it comes down to it, get out the ol' email list from the hospital or make some phone calls.
 

fightingon

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some hospitals also have pre-set shadowing programs which you must go through to get a shadowing position. they might require some time/effort to get into and since you're in a little hurry i would probably use my connections in this case...friends of friends' parents perhaps? or maybe your own family doctor might know some people. think of an area first...surgery is awesome for shadowing. also check with premeds at your school and see if there are any hospitals/clinics that people routinely work at? depends where you are, but sometimes people have the best experiences at neighborhood free clinics and county hospitals...just a thought!
 

xylem29

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cool thanks for the tips peeps
 

premeddick

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Did anyone get letters of rec from the physicians they shadowed? Are we supposed to? Is there any benefit? Thanks.
 

fightingon

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youre not 'supposed to' necessarily, but people do usually only if they end up really making a connection with the doctor. those letters don't count as science letters, but just as one of the extra letters, and are definitely not required by any means (though for DO schools a letter from a DO is required).
 
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