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Should I tell the scribe interviewer about shadowing abroad

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by 711082, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. I just got an interview date next Tuesday to possibly become a medical scribe! It's exciting but I also have this wonderful opportunity to shadow an MD in Ecuador. We talked and he said he will try and get me as much hands on care as possible and he is a general surgeon. He will take me into the OR, biopsies, and many other departments and possibly even help him during procedures (nothing serious). It'll be for a month during school break in December. So I am debating whether should I tell the scribe interviewer that I will be going away in December for one month for an amazing shadowing opportunity much less stricter than here in the U.S. where you can only just watch. Or should I just keep my mouth shut and not mention it in hopes of them hiring me. And then if that happens, what are the chances you think they will keep me if I go away for one month. I hope they understand that we are students and are trying everything we can to have a varied experience.
     
  2. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero
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    Just so you know, the regulations in the US exist for a reason, and most US medical professionals will not be impressed by (read: may frown upon) people taking advantage of the 'much less stricter' standards abroad in order to get hands on experience that they are not qualified for. I would be more concerned about that than the scribe manager's opinion on the matter.

    To answer your question: your scribe manager is trying to fill their shifts. They are generally flexible and willing to work around schedules, interviews, etc., but no employer is going to be thrilled at the idea of hiring someone and then immediately giving them a month's worth of vacation before they've worked there even a year. Hell, some places frown upon using your officially-given 2wks in one huge block, or using all of it prior to your 6-month mark...so yeah, if the manager hears your plan and has other hiring prospects, you'll be at a disadvantage. They understand your perspective, sure, but you should also understand theirs, and that your desire for diverse experiences doesn't obligate them to cater to it when there are other students that are a better fit for the company's needs.

    Honestly I would advise against compromising an opportunity to gain long-term, valuable exposure to US medicine (more likely to be relevant to your future career) in exchange for a short period of exposure to foreign medicine that you may or may not be able to discuss fully in your applications without raising eyebrows (if you choose to take advantage of the more lax foreign regulations.) If you work as a scribe and you are proactive, odds are you will get to know US surgeons and get US shadowing opportunities to observe in the OR. You will certainly witness countless procedures in the ER (and learn how to document them. I would weigh the costs/benefits of the two carefully. Right now you seem to be leaning towards what sounds flashy to a premed, rather than what will actually help and inform you in the long term as you work towards your US medical career. Adcoms are more likely looking for the latter.
     
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    #2 mehc012, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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  3. ac62994

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    Scribe > Shadowing
     
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  4. Petrichor1

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    I can't agree with this post more. You need to know what medical settings in the US are. If you want to train in Ecuador that's a different matter but even people from there look at US trained MDs as super highly skilled. Take the scribe job and make some decent earning.
     
  5. Hospitalized

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    As a scribe (permitting this is ER), you will see quite a few procedures in one month (especially December). In addition, you will work with multiple physicians and observe multiple practice styles. This is all inside the country where you would like to apply to medical school, I presume.

    Or, you can go and see how things are done in another country by one physician. It will be hands on, but there will be differences from what you learn/observe there and what is taught here. It will be up to you to figure out what those differences are, and god help you if you happen to mention something that is forbidden in the U.S during an interview.

    Take your pick.
     
  6. Wow I mean I know its not recommended but now I sure will not mention it, moreover, I will doubt the offer to go to Ecuador for that opportunity. I don't want to hurt my reputation if that's what it takes. Thanks for the second opinion and I will take it with high praise.
     
  7. skysong7

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    I actually was in the exact same position a few months back. Had an interview for a scribe position lined up, just as I got offered a month long shadowing experience out of the country. Given the possibility of a strong LOR from that shadowing experience, I chose to pursue the opportunity. I told the scribe interviewer about my situation and she told me to just contact her when I returned to set up a new interview appointment. I got lucky because the program at the hospital was just being set up so they were on a hiring spree those few months. I did my shadowing, got my LOR, came back, interviewed, and was offered a position immediately. So it is possible to have both experiences, but of course, your program may be different.

    In response to those who are saying shadowing abroad is not useful or even frowned upon, I framed my shadowing experience as a comparison to the shadowing I did here in the US. Coming from a global health focused background, I talked a lot about how the experience allowed me to compare, understand, and clearly see both the pros and the cons of our healthcare system. I didn't use the experience to demonstrate "clinical exposure" per se...
     
  8. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero
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    That's a good attitude to take towards it...but you also have to get those US shadowing hours in order to do it properly. If you could only get one, I'd go with the US one, personally.
    What was worrying about OP's post is not so much the shadowing abroad, but the emphasis they seemed to put on doing the 'hands on' stuff that wasn't available in the US. That should not be their focus, and may cause them issues later if they bring it up.

    I agree that there is probably a way for OP to have their cake and to eat it too...maybe a 2wk trip to shadow that doctor, maybe their supervisor is OK with the hiatus, etc. But it will probably involve some level of compromise, and they should be making the decision with a more realistic perspective as to what the strengths and weaknesses of each experience truly are. Giving up a long-term, US clinical position for a short-term, abroad shadowing position is probably not wise. Shortening the abroad shadowing position AND getting the long-term US position could get them the best of both worlds. And so on.
     
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  9. skysong7

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    Right, I agree with what you're saying. I just wanted to share how it worked out for me, but recognize that I was in a much different time and place in my application process than the OP, and long term clinical exposure was less important to me than the immediate effects of an additional LOR. In OP's shoes, I'd probably keep the shadowing to a down low and prioritize the scribe position...
     

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