Deanis

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I'm in first year and just did a suture workshop run by a trauma surgeon at a hospital affiliated with my school. I didn't think of it during the workshop, but I'd like to shadow her, so I google-stalked her and found her contact info. The question is - is it appropriate for me to email her out of the blue to ask if I could shadow her?
 

mordounhas

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I think it would be fine. Just say you were at the suturing workshop and were impressed. I don't think anything bad could really come of it.
 

justdoit31

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At least at my medical school you can email just about anyone and shadow- they rarely say no. Most of our lecturers even give their emails/office numbers during lecture and ask us to contact them if we are interested in shadowing. Some of my classmates (1st year) are in the OR once a week.
 

penguin24

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If you want to be polite and give them an escape just in case they prefer not to have med students shadow, you can write something like, "I realize you are extremely busy and may not have time to take on a med student to shadow, but if you wouldn't mind, I would love to shadow you to see the type of work a trauma surgeon does"

That way they can say no w/o sounding unfriendly.
 

Scrub MD

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Email and ask. Most likely they will let you. If they don't email you back, which most don't. Walk down to the surgery offices and ask about shadowing or contact info or leaving a message for someone about it.
 

OpalOnyx

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Email and ask. Most likely they will let you. If they don't email you back, which most don't. Walk down to the surgery offices and ask about shadowing or contact info or leaving a message for someone about it.
I sent out a few shadowing emails.... For every 5 that didn't email me back or said they were too busy, 1 person did have time to take on a student. So it may work in your favor OP to email not only that surgeon but others at your hospital to cast a wider net. Backups.
 

justdoit31

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I sent out a few shadowing emails.... For every 5 that didn't email me back or said they were too busy, 1 person did have time to take on a student. So it may work in your favor OP to email not only that surgeon but others at your hospital to cast a wider net. Backups.
You are also a pre-med... once you get into medical school the physicians are much more likely to let you shadow. Here all we have to do is email and we can shadow. I have yet to hear of any physician turning a student down- we get offers all the time in lecturers. I am doing a project for a clinical class and the mentor invited me to come shadow even though I never asked and it wasn't related to the project. As a 1st year we can literally walk into the ER at our hospital in our scrubs/white coat and shadow without even calling (even on Friday or Saturday night)

I had to ask a ton of people in undergrad to shadow and had to go through a ton of hospital paperwork at the hospital I wanted to shadow at in Atlanta- now that I am in medical school I have been accepted to do research at that hospital and I get access to the whole records system for it and unlimited time in the clinics.
 

psipsina

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You are also a pre-med... once you get into medical school the physicians are much more likely to let you shadow. Here all we have to do is email and we can shadow. I have yet to hear of any physician turning a student down- we get offers all the time in lecturers. I am doing a project for a clinical class and the mentor invited me to come shadow even though I never asked and it wasn't related to the project. As a 1st year we can literally walk into the ER at our hospital in our scrubs/white coat and shadow without even calling (even on Friday or Saturday night)

I had to ask a ton of people in undergrad to shadow and had to go through a ton of hospital paperwork at the hospital I wanted to shadow at in Atlanta- now that I am in medical school I have been accepted to do research at that hospital and I get access to the whole records system for it and unlimited time in the clinics.
Agreed. Its way easier to get shadowing opportunities the further up you go. Once you've matriculated you're in the club and everyone is excited to get you to chose their specialty. Before you are a total unknown. Plus its no fun to pimp someone who really shouldn't know the answers ;)
 
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If you want to be polite and give them an escape just in case they prefer not to have med students shadow, you can write something like, "I realize you are extremely busy and may not have time to take on a med student to shadow, but if you wouldn't mind, I would love to shadow you to see the type of work a trauma surgeon does"

That way they can say no w/o sounding unfriendly.
Can't go wrong with this approach - it's never wrong for a med student to ask any physician to shadow. You'll rarely, if ever, get a negative response. Even then, persistence sometimes gets you what you want.
 

Deanis

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Thanks everyone. I wasn't worried so much about rejection, just wasn't sure what the professional courtesy was. In the end, i approached it much as was suggested with an open-endedness tone in my email. She gave me her schedule and I can basically just let her know when works for me.

As for OpalOnyx, congrats on getting in! That's awesome. And I do appreciate the sound advice ;)
 

OpalOnyx

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thanks!! i'm excited about starting, it has been a long road!

and thanks to psipsi and justdoit for the advice. i'm def planning to shadow on and off during the preclin years
 

mjl1717

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If you want to be polite and give them an escape just in case they prefer not to have med students shadow, you can write something like, "I realize you are extremely busy and may not have time to take on a med student to shadow, but if you wouldn't mind, I would love to shadow you to see the type of work a trauma surgeon does"

That way they can say no w/o sounding unfriendly.

Absolutely, you give them aan opening to say no.... Instead of being knucklehead unconscientious med student who only thinks of "me, myself and I...." But overall it should be ok..
:thumbup: