10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2008
I am starting to look into shadowing a physician to get a better feel for the profession, but am not sure whether to look for an MD or a DO to shadow. My nontrad profile and relatively low UG GPA seems to make DO a more likely option for me, but I think allopathic could still be in the cards.

So, my question is who should I shadow? Would allopathic shools look less favorably upon time spend shadowing a doctor if s/he is a DO? Would DO's schools not take me seriously unless I had spent time shadowing a DO? Not sure which way I should go, any advice would be much appreciated as always.

pharm B

Phar Noir
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2008
Out to Pasture
I've shadowed both an MD and a DO, and there wasn't much of a difference in the experiences. Since I'm not on an adcom, I can't say whether allo schools would look down on shadowing a DO.

But I would venture to say they see it as valuable clinical experience, regardless of who you shadow.


Strong with the Force
10+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2007
United States
Fellow [Any Field]
Do both, if you can...though I don't think it's a big deal either way. A small number of DO schools prefer/require you to shadow a DO, but and MD would be better than nothing. I don't think MD schools really care either way.
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10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2008
I've shadowed both in the ED and can not honestly say that I noticed any real difference. Granted, I have also shadowed PA's and there is a slight difference there. Regardless, I think spending time with any medical professional - be it an MD/DO/PA/NP - schools will see that as positive clinical exposure (just remember to mix it up a little). No, perhaps some DO schools may require specifically a DO shadow/reference, I haven't found on yet. The only thing I've read is that some DO school's require a physician reference. Good luck, and have fun!


Membership Revoked
10+ Year Member
Nov 14, 2008
And to add to the other thoughts about shadowing both DOs and MDs, I would suggest not only shooting for both DOs and MDs, but really checking out a few different specialties if you can. You can find MDs and DOs in all specialties and subspecialties. So, make sure you shadow some hospital-based physicians if you can, some office and private practice based ones to, academic clinicians also. Seeing the differences from hospital to hospital and office to office can give you a flavor for the profession as well.

There's a huge difference, for example, in the practices of academic and private practice anesthesiologists. One may teach residents all day long, handle all sorts of cases, hopping from case to case, another might spend ALL day with one patient, and only do hearts, at the most.

See as much as you can and make great impressions!

Good luck
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