April 4, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Unless you have always wanted to pursue a career a medicine for as long as you can remember, this is likely to be a career choice that can be quite daunting. You think you’d like to be a doctor but then again, you’re not quite sure if it is the right choice. What if after the first few years as a doctor or even the first few years in medical school you realise that being a physician is not all you dreamed it would be? That can be a scary thought. Becoming a doctor involves a tough application process followed by a minimum of 6 years of rigorous study plus a couple more years depending on your choice of specialty. Going through all of that only to decide that you’ve chosen the wrong career path can be devastating.
The best way to find out before hand, if being a doctor is right for you is to spend some time shadowing a doctor so you can see firsthand what it is really like to be a doctor – the hours you are likely to keep, the work environment, the kind of patients and illnesses you will be dealing with and the procedures you will be performing.
Unfortunately, while physician shadowing is highly recommended and approved of, it can be very difficult to find any shadowing opportunities back home. Many hospitals or even doctors are not too keen on having an observer with them on their rounds and then of course, there are several legal and safety issues that complicate matters even more. Instead of jumping through hoops to get some much needed clinical experience, a better idea is to do a medical placement abroad.
Gap Medics organizes physician shadowing opportunities in Tanzania where you get a chance to spend time in participating hospitals, shadowing doctors as they go about their daily routine. During this time you get to see medicine being practiced in an environment that is completely different from what you would see in your home country or any other developed country. You will see doctors and other medical professionals dispense medical care and treatment under some of the most challenging conditions. Most hospitals are under-staffed and under-equipped. The experience will challenge your idea of what being a doctor is all about and give you a real look at the reality of healthcare difference between developed countries and third world countries.
It’s not all bad though. The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from dispensing care under these conditions is unparalleled.
When you register for a placement in Tanzania with Gap Medics, all of your travel, accommodation and other arrangements are taken of so you do not have to worry about trivial things like security arrangements or food and can instead focus on your shadowing experience.
Of course, once in Tanzania you should definitely use the opportunity to explore this spectacular country and all that it has to offer. For a fantastic way to round off your trip, there’s adventure, culture, big game safaris, scuba diving and overnight treks at the Serengeti National Park.