Why shadow doctors? Is it really necessary?

July 18, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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The primary aim of physician shadowing is to observe an experienced medical professional in a work environment and learn about the techniques used on the job. It also gives you exposure to the administration side of medicine and some doctors may even let you take on small responsibilities on the job. While physician shadowing is not mandatory at any level, it is highly recommended for anyone considering a career in medicine.

Thailand House Students wearing scrubs Personal Gain from Shadowing a Physician

If you are deciding to get into the medical field, shadowing can help you gain unprecedented exposure to the world of medicine. Here, you learn how experts react to various medical situations. It is like you are being transported into the future and you are a part of a life which will be similar to yours once you become a doctor. It is an excellent way for you to learn how to interact with patients and also to handle all the small day-to-day situations in a work environment.

In addition to the work exposure, it also helps you get acquainted with people from the medical world and it is a great time for you to ask qualified professionals all kinds of questions related to the field which you may have doubts about.

For students who are still planning to apply to medical school, shadowing is an excellent way to determine whether or not medicine is really the right career to pursue.  After being associated with this field for a month, you may not enjoy it and decide that you don’t want to get into the field at all. It is much better making this decision now instead of 5 years later when you would have wasted a lot of time and money doing studying you do not intend to pursue.

The Competitive Edge For Medical School Admission

Medical experience may not be a mandatory criterion for admission into any medical school, but knowing that you’ve had that first hand clinical experience will always give you a significant advantage over other applicants who do not have this component in their portfolio. So why does it matter?

First of all, it shows the admission committee that you are serious about this profession.

Secondly, it shows that you have already worked in this field and you know how tough it can be but you are still determined to get into it. It also shows them that you already have a practical understanding about the medical profession this can in a way better equip you to handle the pressure.

Work experience also automatically prepares you for medical school interviews where they may ask you questions about the medical field..

Shadowing a doctor need not be restricted only to your area. You could always do this on a medical internship to another country. Medical placements to developing countries offer excellent opportunities for you to get a lot of exposure and responsibility caring for patients firsthand alongside experienced professionals. Wherever you decide to gain your shadowing experience, try to get the most out of it. Don’t think about it as a resume booster and instead learn as much as you can from the exposure because an experience like this can be a tremendous eye opener that will help enhance your development both professionally as well as personally.