Okay, so we have heard this before, “Shadowing is one of the most important activities that we Pre-med students need to do..” I mean we stress over doing x amount of volunteering at the hospital with a physician or healthcare provider. But why is it so essential? As straightforward as the answer may seem, there’s a lot of components into shadowing a physician as it gives a chance to understand different symptoms and treatments of a disease and to also confirm your interest in becoming a physician.
So, before I dive in, I promise I’ll try not to reiterate information that most of you have heard. To do that, I’ll segregate this blog post into two parts ,which are ways to find different physicians that you can shadow, and what we can partake on once we have found different physicians that we have shadowed. So let’s go through it.
PART ONE: HOW DO I FIND DIFFERENT PHYSICIANS THAT I CAN SHADOW?
There are various ways that you can find different shadows to volunteer with. But I think that most of it all stems from surpassing your comfort zone.
1.) Check out www.healthgrades.com
This was actually how I first began finding local physicians that I can volunteer with. The beauty of this website is that it separates into the types of physicians that you want to shadow based on their specialty and how far they are from you, etc. So the other aspect about this is that, once you have established the type of physician that you want to shadow, give their office a call and see who is available to take on new students.
2.) Network, Network, Network
Again, surpassing your comfort zone begins with networking with different people. Whether it being asking your professors,pre-health advisors/ friends or family if they know a physician who is available to take on students. Another thing too, is that you can ask your own physician to see if you’re able to shadow him or her.
PART 2: OKAY, NOW THAT I FOUND A PHYSICIAN THAT I CAN SHADOW, WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
Short answer to this question is to stay proactive, and below are some ways in how you can do so.
1.) Keeping a journal
Staff members and physicians highly recommend this when volunteering to not only document your observations and questions, but also to possibly reflect on you felt when you saw that patient, and what you have learned. So for example, say that Patient X came in, and you didn’t know that this specific disease existed, you can possibly go back to it and ask the physician that you shadow about this disease, or to read further about it. Which brings me to my next tip.
2.) Read up on Scientific Journals
Most of the different diseases that you have learned may have been pretty brief and if you want to know more about it, such as their prevalence, other treatments, etc. maybe going onto pubmed.com, or other medical journals to read more up on that disease would help.
All in all, whenever shadowing a physician or looking into shadowing a physician, I think the main key is to always stay proactive. 🙂 Let me know how everything goes!