The Pre-med guide for finding a physician to shadow
Finding a doctor to shadow can seem like an impossible task at times. Many pre-meds don’t know how to find a doctor who would be willing to be shadowed. Shadowing is super important for having a strong and competitive application. Medical schools want to see that you understand what it is like to be a doctor, how the medical environment is, and you are still willing to proceed into medicine despite seeing and hearing first hand the hardships a physician will face. The difference between getting accepted into medical school or not could depend on whether you have shadowing experience. So how do you find a doctor who will let you shadow them? What are the best methods for finding a doctor to shadow? We will go over all the best methods to help ensure you find that physician to shadow!
Methods for finding a doctor to shadow:
- Ask your personal physician. Or get a referral from them.
- Network with family and friends to see if they can contact a physician they may know
- Volunteer at a hospital or clinic and build connections with physicians there
- Work as a scribe
Ask your personal physician. Or get a referral from them:
This one seems like a no brainer. You already have access to a doctor that knows you pretty well, your general practitioner. Why not start there? Tell them that you are a premed and you want to learn what it is like to work as a physician. Since you are one of their patients and they already know you, they might be more likely to agree. If they don’t then ask them if they know any other doctors that wouldn’t mind you shadowing them.
Network with family and friends to see if they can contact a physician they may know:
You might be surprised to learn that your family or friends know several physicians that may let you shadow them. Ask your friends and parents if they know any doctors that might let you shadow them. Doctors are still regular people who make friends with non-doctors, so it shouldn’t come as no surprise that your family or friends might know one or two! If you ever go to a formal party with your family, you could casually mention that you are a premed and looking for a doctor to shadow. If the other person happens to know a physician they will try and help you out.
Volunteer at a hospital or clinic and build connections with physicians there:
If you want a place where you know there will be doctors then there is no better place than a hospital or clinic. This is a pretty tried and true method for finding a doctor to shadow. Volunteer at a hospital or clinic and try and network with the physicians and nurses there to see if they know anyone who will let you shadow them. Remember, its important to let people know your intention of finding a doctor to shadow so they can help you! Try and build a relationship with the people who work there so they are more likely to help you.
Work as a scribe:
This is another great method for finding a physician to shadow. Working as a scribe has merits of its own. But this is another highly effective method as it allows you to work closely with a doctor and build a relationship with them. To become a scribe you must go through training first. But on the plus side you get paid! Getting paid, getting medical experience, and potentially finding a doctor to shadow isn’t too bad!
Click here to learn more about being a scribe.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to finding a doctor to shadow is the word, “networking”. Building connections is the best method for finding someone who will let you shadow them. Ask anyone who might know a doctor that will you shadow them and ask for contact information. I was able to find a doctor to shadow because my dad met a doctor while playing soccer and told him that his son was a premed! It can all happen in the most unexpected circumstances! You will have an even easier time if you are networking in a hospital or a clinical environment. Immerse yourself into the medical environment and start asking around and building connections and I assure you that you will find a physician to shadow in no time!
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