How to make the most of shadowing a doctor

November 18, 2016

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

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Shadowing a doctor is the very best way of discovering exactly what a medical career entails and whether it is for you. Medical school admissions panels will look upon this experience extremely favourably, so it’s important to make the most of it while you’re there.

Here are some of the easiest ways to do just that.

Write Everything Down

While you’re shadowing a doctor, you will see a huge amount of different procedures, sit in on meetings, and come into contact with hundreds of patients. By the end of your internship, it may all feel like a blur! To ensure that you remember the most important moments, record them. Keeping a notebook in your scrubs is the perfect way to jot down anything vital, and you can sit down at the end of each day to summarise what you learnt. Not only will this mean you can relive the experience whenever you like, but it’ll come in handy when you prepare for your medical school interview.

Ask Lots of Questions

Nobody that you meet on placement will expect you to know lots about the medical profession – after all, that’s what you’re there to learn. For this reason, never be afraid to ask questions, either about what you see during your time there or about your mentors working hours, challenges and triumphs. Don’t pass up the chance to get honest answers about the career you could spend the rest of your life pursuing.

Expect the Unexpected

Invited to see surgery? Not sure about OBGYN? Look at every choice during your shadowing placement as a learning opportunity – a chance to discover an aspect of the medical profession you may have never looked into before. You never know what might happen!

Keep in Touch with Your Peers and Mentors

Your mentor will have given up his or her time to give you an incredible shadowing experience, so it’s important to keep them updated on your progress as a medical students. If you gain a place at your chosen college thanks to their support, be sure to let them know. They’ll really appreciate it!
Don’t forget to stay in touch with your fellow students, too – studying medicine can be long and hard, and it’s a great help to be able to share your challenges with others in a similar situation.

Interview and Personal Essay Tips

Speaking about your medical work experience in your med school personal essay and in your interview is a must! College admissions panels will read hundreds of applications, and detailing your practical experience and what you learnt will really set you apart from the pack. When you speak about your time shadowing a doctor, be sure to highlight your most eye-opening moments (both good and bad) and how they will ultimately make you an even better health professional.

With such an experience under your belt, we’re sure that you’ll put together an application colleges simply can’t turn down.