Whether you’re pre-med or just considering the academic journey to become a doctor, shadowing a physician isn’t usually one of the first requirements you consider. But shadowing helps a prospective medical student in many ways.
Benefits of Shadowing a Physician
First, it gives you direct insight into the real world of practising medicine. That can help confirm your desire to become a doctor or let you know that another career path may be better. Second, shadowing experience shows your level of commitment to medicine and is a valuable asset for your overall medical school application process.
5 Tips to Maximize Your Physician Shadowing Experience
Once you find a physician to work with, there are ways to get the most of your time with him or her.
- Do Your Homework -The opportunity to shadow a doctor is valuable. To make the most of it, research the area of medicine you’ll be learning about. Read up on diseases and practices so you can ask more informed questions.
- Plan for an Extended Time with One Physician – Shadowing for a few days is valuable, but it may not expose you to all the aspects of the role. Spend an extended time with a physician to learn more about things like follow-ups and to get experience with a wider variety of issues.
- Write Down What You Learn – Keeping a diary of your experiences helps to reinforce what you learn. It also helps you determine your direction in medicine, which can help improve your medical school applications.
- Ask Wide-Ranging Questions – In addition to learning about medical practice, find out what it’s like to be a physician – the stresses, lifestyle, and rewards.
- Get a Reference Letter – A letter of recommendation from a practising physician is a powerful addition to your applications to medical schools.
The more effort you put into your physician shadowing experience, the less chance there is of having your medical school application being rejected. Learning to become a physician is hard work, but applying to medical school shouldn’t have to be. To learn more, contact UMCAS today.