Here’s the reality when it comes to shadowing a doctor: Many doctors don’t want you to shadow them in their office because you’re a legal obligation (malpractice, HIPAA, etc.) and you don’t do anything that helps them treat patients or complete records and billing.
A private practice doctor feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders, so don’t be too surprised or hurt if you have trouble getting a doctor to say “yes” to your shadowing offer.
Volunteering at hospitals and clinics is a great alternative to shadowing a doctor
The good news is that you can fulfill volunteering requirements for medical school at hospitals and clinics that are happy to have you around. Large hospitals and clinics have volunteering programs that give you real patient care responsibilities that don’t put the hospital at risk.
Most major hospitals and clinics conduct a volunteering program that you can easily sign up for tomorrow. Start by searching the internet for local hospitals. Each hospital should have a page dedicated to their volunteering program that will give you basic information and a contact number to call.
Hospital and clinic volunteering gives you flexibility
Hospital shadowing programs offer flexibility to observe and compare different areas of a fully-featured medical practice. During your tenure as a volunteer, your encounters with different areas of medicine should help you figure out which area of medicine ignites your passion for healthcare.
That’s what volunteering and shadowing is all about: Getting hands-on, real-world experience with medicine that will strengthen your resolve to become a doctor. Great volunteering experiences help to motivate your through classes and the application process, and ultimately your experiences will make your personal statement really stand out.
How do your volunteering experiences affect your chances of acceptance? Take a free self-assessment to find out.
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