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Shadowing Experience

craigmd

New Member
Jul 15, 2009
6
0
0
West Texas
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm 31, I'm working a full-time job, and I'll be going to school full time this fall. Hopefully, next fall, I'll be able to apply and interview for med school at Texas Tech.

How important is it that I get some shadowing experience between now and the time I apply? It's not that I don't WANT that experience, I just have a really busy schedule, and I don't know how I can work it in. Don't get me wrong, I WILL work it in if needed, but I'm just trying to figure out (1) just how much of a difference it will make and (2) if it IS crucial, then how many hours of shadowing experience should I shoot for?

Thanks for your time!
 

Micahfeld

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2009
82
0
0
Mississippi
  1. Medical Student
To me, the shadowing/clinical experience is as important to you as it is to the admissions committee. It is during your exposure to patients and seeing doctors do their jobs that you will really decide whether this career is something that you really want more than anything else.

I highly encourage you to find the time to volunteer/shadow as soon as possible. You won't regret it. It's likely that you will try to find additional time and/or opportunities for clinical exposure once you get a taste.
 

Micahfeld

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2009
82
0
0
Mississippi
  1. Medical Student
FYI, I'm 31, and I started this process last fall, so I can definitely relate. Becoming a physician has been a dream for several years. My wife is a nurse, and we have family friends that are physicians, so I was familiar with the work and life of a doctor.

My clinical experiences have really added to my desire. The patient interaction is more awesome than I ever thought it would be.
 
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moonshine2

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2008
19
0
0
  1. Pre-Medical
Not sure what field you are currently in, but if it's not healthcare related I would definitely suggest trying to get some shadowing in. The interviewers grilled me over why I was switching careers, and it was very helpful to have the shadowing experiences to talk about. To me, I got a lot more out of it than just "following a doctor around". Everyone I shadowed I asked the hard questions about workload, lifestyle, positives, negatives, regrets, etc. Knowing that I asked those questions and still wanted to pursue it really helped me out in my interview.

I will add that I did not have what most would consider "a lot" of shadowing hours. I shadowed a pediatrician for a full day, an ER physician for 4 hours, a peds oncologist for ~4 hrs and in the NICU ~4 hrs. I was also working full time, taking some prereqs and preparing for the MCAT. As Micahfeld said above, I wish that I would have had more time to do more shadowing, but that was all I could fit in before application time.
 

NTF

Full Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2008
1,856
90
256
  1. Attending Physician
Oddly enough, for someone who has a busy schedule, shadowing is actually one of the most time efficient ways to bolster your application. It only takes one day (though I usually liked to schedule several) to shadow a doc. You have flexibility on when you can do it since many doctors work 2nd or 3rd shift or on weekends.

I actually found regular weekly volunteer gigs harder to schedule in around classes and work. I found it took a lot more effort and commitment to maintain a regular volunteer gig than scheduling the occasional shadow visit.
 
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