Typical day shadowing a doctor

January 18, 2021

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

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The truth is, there is no typical day shadowing a doctor. One of the benefits of doctor shadowing is you get to see a real working hospital and understand that every day is going to look different. 

Our hospital doctor shadowing program in the Dominican Republic provides exactly that. No two days will look the same for our students, any more than they do for health professionals – so come with an open mind. 

That being said, this article will explain what a “typical” day shadowing a doctor looks like on our program. 

Your program begins on a Sunday, and we’ll be there to meet you off your flight and bring you to the house. You’ll have the rest of Sunday to settle in and start getting to know your fellow students, and in the evening you’ll receive your welcome briefing from our Regional Director.

Your final day is the Saturday two weeks later, which is always a real mix of emotions! It’s amazing how close our student groups become in just a short time, living together and sharing so many experiences; but there’s also the excitement of getting home to friends and family with a new perspective… and the inevitable plans for a reunion!

Below we set out what a day on placement looks like, and options for your free time. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have made changes to create a COVID-resilient program. Depending on when your session is, this plan may vary, but this will give you a general idea of how we make sure you get the most out of your experience. 

Your morning

Your day starts with breakfast at the house, where our in-house chef serves up cooked options, such as pancakes or bacon and eggs, alongside a self-service selection of cereals, fresh fruit, toast, tea, coffee and juice.

We make sure you arrive at the hospital at 8 am for your day. On the first Monday, you’ll be accompanied by one of our Student Coordinators to familiarize you with the hospital, show you the changing rooms, and personally introduce you to your mentor. Once you know the routine, you’ll get straight into your medical standard scrubs each morning and find your mentor at the designated meeting place.

A typical day shadowing a doctor means you will probably be on your feet in the hospital for 4-5 hours (so don’t forget your water bottle). There’s more information on what to expect in the hospital on our Shadowing a Doctor page, but it’s important to remember this is a real life experience in a working hospital and the schedule is dictated by the patient cases that present each day.

Your mentor is your go-to person whenever you’re in the hospital, so if you have questions or are ever unsure about something, just ask. You can also always call or text your Student Coordinator for help – we’re never far away.

Afternoon & evening 

For lunch, you’ll head back to the house for another delicious, locally sourced meal prepared for you, along with some down time.

Most afternoons are your free time, and the swimming pool, tropical garden and games area at the house offer a perfect contrast to the busy hospital. If you want to read or study, the living and dining rooms are usually quiet during the afternoons.

The beach is a short ride away for you to dip your toes into the Caribbean Sea. Once a week everyone usually gets together for a sunset cruise on a sailing catamaran, definitely a highlight of Caribbean life!

Dinner is prepared fresh at the house five nights a week, and usually served around 7pm (though we’re happy to fit around your free time plans – just talk to the Chef). Sunday is traditional Caribbean food night, and at least once a week we do a poolside barbecue.

Most evenings there are things going on at the house, including the weekly Global Health Tutorial, a chance to try your hand at salsa, merengue or bachata, and lots of games (that have been known to get a little competitive…). On Friday and Saturday night, most students go out for dinner at one of the many relaxed outdoor restaurants nearby, which will be organized by our staff. 

The weekend

Saturday and Sunday are your free time at our beautiful guesthouse, where we will host games and other activities. 

A popular option we offer is a one-day trip is taking a boat to Saona Island, with its palm-lined sandy beaches and laid-back Caribbean vibe. This trip will include lunch, drinks on the boat, a stop-off at an idyllic swimming lagoon on the way back, and pick up and drop off from the Global Pre-Meds house.

We have separate sessions for our high school students under 18 years, and our college or gap year students, ages 18 and over. You still get the same learning experience, but our under 18s have a higher level of supervision. 

While there’s really no such thing as a typical day shadowing a doctor, you can count on learning something new every day if you join us for our Global Pre-Meds hospital doctor shadowing program. You can learn more here.