Aug 14, 2015
TL;DR: would it be a waste of time to continue shadowing the Nurse Practitioner also, would it look weird on my application.

A nurse I know at the hospital I volunteer at said he would introduce me to someone I could shadow. So I set a time to shadow her and I go to shadow and I see she is not a doctor but a Nurse Practitioner. I thought she was a doctor, I didn't want to be rude, so I did my time with. So far I've only done 4 hours (1 shift) with her, would it be a waste of time to continue shadowing her for a bit? Would it look weird on my application?

Terry Toma

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2015
Medical Student
If you aren't sacrificing other opportunities to take the time to shadow, I wouldn't be too adverse to spending some time with the nurse. It might lead to some networking opportunities to shadow physicians. If pressed to explain, you could say something like "I shadowed a nurse practitioner for a brief period because I was interested in exploring a wide variety of healthcare career options. This experience confirmed my desire to work in a healthcare setting, but also made me realize that the work of a physician is better suited to my personal talents and interests than the work of an NP for X, Y, and Z reasons."

That said, I wouldn't pass up any other opportunities to take the time to do this, and I wouldn't rack up more than a few shifts shadowing with non-physicians.
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SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
5+ Year Member
Mar 1, 2013
Your experience also illustrates the growing problem of practitioner-confusion, where even the nurse setting up the opportunity didn't realize the NP wasn't an MD...