Five Ways Premed Students Can Maximize Physician Shadowing

July 12, 2016


If you’re taking premed courses and serious about a career in medicine, it’s highly recommended that you spend some time shadowing a physician. Not only does it communicate your commitment to medical school admissions professionals, but this bit of real-world experience also will help you hone in on the particular career path that’s right for you. 

St. Augustine, FL-based WOLFPACC offers these five tips for making the most of your physician shadowing experience:

  1. Know how to seek out a physician: A great starting point is any personal contact you may have in the medical field. If you don’t have a relative, friend or other acquaintance who can help, don’t be afraid to do a little research and cold call the office of a physician you admire. Volunteering with organizations that help provide or facilitate medical care to needy populations also can be a great way to make connections.
  2. Consider shadowing in academic settings: Shadowing physicians in primary care or surgical settings is highly valuable. But academic settings also can prove effective. Because these settings already are designed for teaching, they’re often more open to both medical and premed students.
  3. Practice professional etiquette: Being a student is no excuse for dressing or behaving too casually when in a professional setting. Wear business attire, pay attention and hold questions until after the patient encounter so as to avoid awkward moments.
  4. Take opportunities to broaden your exposure: Often, medical students are afforded the opportunity to sit in on unusual cases or particularly complicated surgeries. We recommend you jump at these chances. But don’t dismiss the importance of witnessing what you may consider the more mundane side of medicine as well, such as urgent care.
  5. Prove your commitment: Many medical schools don’t require physician shadowing, but even they recommend at least 40 hours of shadowing. This assures you’ll get a deeper, more varied experience, which will certainly come in handy when writing your personal statement and interviewing with prospective schools.

Another top way to boost your chances of success in medical school is to enroll at WOLFPACC. We offer a unique approach to the study and practice of medicine and help prepare you for the USMLE and COMLEX exams, increasing your odds for passing them on your first try. Call 904-209-3140 to find out more.