How to prepare for your shadowing experience
Show up to your shadowing experience wearing professional attire. Guys should wear tame ties, and girls business skirts or slacks. All shoes should be closed-toe, flat and comfortable. Bring a clean notebook and pen to take notes. Be prepared to quietly observe.
How to interact with patients
Witness the doctor/patient relationship as a silent observer. You will be introduced as a premed student. Some patients may welcome you, while others may ask that you leave. Don’t take it personally, and move on to observe another area if a patient requests that you leave.
While you’re with a patient, remain quiet and respectful. Speak only if directly spoken, and take notes after the encounter is over.
What to do when your shadowing experience ends
When your shadowing experience ends, doctors (and their office managers — the unsung heroes at the medical practice) very much appreciate a hand written thank you note. Briefly and earnestly thank your doctor and their staff for the experience, and bring cookies!
If you have cultivated a strong relationship with the doctor, you should ask the doctor in person to write you a letter of recommendation for medical school before the shadowing experience ends.
Shadowing a doctor is the very best way to learn if medicine is the right career for you, so get out there and find doctors to shadow!
How shadowing affects your chances of getting into med school
Better shadowing experiences = better chances of getting accepted to medical school, but shadowing is only one small part of the equation medical schools use to make their decision.
Take my free self-assessment to find out your chances of acceptance. After you take the assessment, you will learn what you need to do now to become the most competitive candidate that you can be.