Everything you need to know about the benefits of doctor shadowing

October 25, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Before you embark on your journey towards a medical profession, there are several preparatory activities that you can engage in and shadowing doctors is one of them.  

If you are wondering why so much is being made of doctor shadowing and how it is likely to help you, here are just a few of the benefits:

Gap Medics pre-midwifery student with newborn baby in hospital in Tanzania The main idea behind shadowing a doctor in your pre-med phase is to understand the modalities of the job and also to figure out whether you are cut-out for it. How else can you convince the officials who conduct the admission interview that you understand what is involved in this job and what patient care is all about? They want to see a pre-med student who has ingrained himself/herself into the clinical setting and has had a certain amount of interaction with patients. 

Though shadowing a doctor is not a pre-requisite for gaining admission in medical school, it is an intangible requirement. Getting admission into medical school is a very competitive scenario and clinical exposure can give you the upper hand in gaining that much sought after admission. 

If you have had some medical shadowing exposure, when the interviewer asks you “Why choose medicine”, you won’t phase out or go blank. On the contrary, you will be able to speak confidently with the interviewers about your experiences there. These experiences can also be added to your personal statement. In short, shadowing a doctor is what will cement your desire to become a doctor. 

There have been several instances in which very bright, pre-med students have conducted extensive research and have very good GAMSAT grades. On the outside, this might look like they have a very strong application. But if these students do not have clinical exposure, they will lose out to another student who has made the effort to spend time shadowing a doctor before applying to the medical school. 


When Clinical Exposure Is All-Important 

A seemingly qualified applicant stands to lose if he/she has not bothered to complete a certain amount of time with shadowing a physician. At the end of the day, what medical college interviewers look for are students who have a certain amount of insight and understanding about what the medical field is and how it works. Finally, what it boils down to is – clinical exposure and if you can get this exposure in a health care setting in a developing country, so much the better. Healthcare facilities in third world countries are a far cry from what you would see in Australia or in any other developed country. The experience you get as you shadow medical professionals under these settings is priceless from all perspectives – the medical school interview as well as your own personal development.