Today, Dr. Renee Marinelli provides five tips on how to be a good shadow. Shadowing is a very important activity for pre-medical students to complete and is a great way to show interest in medicine while also getting some experience.[1:27] Be on time.
Although this may be simple, it’s just a good point to remember. These physicians will be taking time away from their patients and other clinical duties to spend some time with you, so make sure you honor that commitment.[2:08] Be respectful.
This entails being respectful to the physician, their staff, and their patients. You may be tempted to say something about a patient’s lifestyle or story that could come off as negative. Refrain from it. Physicians aim to be objective; they try to not let their own judgements dictate what they do.[3:36] Be prepared.
Physicians are usually happy to answer questions and talk about patient cases, but they also need you to have some background information. They know that you’re a pre-med and won’t have a mastery of anything, but just try to prepare for the day ahead. If you are told what procedure will be happening the next day, read about it that night.[5:05] Be inquisitive.
With preparation in mind first, you can then ask more informative questions. Ask questions that will allow the physicians to engage and have a dynamic conversation with you. Use common sense and ask when appropriate.[6:48] Be thankful.
It’s a big deal for a physician to have a shadow. Even if you spend just five hours with a physician, a simple thank you note or email sent a few days later goes a long way.