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    Renee ArakawaRenee Arakawa

    As a non-traditional med-school applicant in preparation, I am advised to do some physician shadowing. For some reason, being older and out fo school for awhile, I feel somewhat awkard about approaching physicians asking for this, and do not personally know many physicians. Does anyone have any advice on how to go about developing a shadowing realtionship (and also working it into the workday)? Thanks!


    I know how awkward it would feel approaching a physician since I too am somewhat shy. But why not try asking your physician. I have heard of
    someone “cold-calling” and it worked out. Think the worst they can say is No. Also, try talking with church/family friends and see if they know any physicians that you could possibly shadow. Best Of Luck

    CaLiGirL :)CaLiGirL:)


    i am currently shadowing an ER doc, but before i got this opportunity i was in the same shoes as you were. i agree with what kim says, you should definitely look around for people YOU know that may know a physician and ask for the favor. i never knew it but a friend of mine (classmate) is an EMT and had plenty of “doctor-friends”. i asked him to ask for me and i was lucky enough where one doctor agreed to it. she’s awesome, and let me tell you that shadowing is very valuable. it really shows you what its like behind hospital doors, and thats something all premeds should be aware of before taking on the long and arduous process of becoming a physician. it really gives you the inside look on things.

    if worse comes to worse, and if you were determined enough, try “cold-calling” like kim suggested. you can just ask your doctor or your kids’ doctor. i know how awkward the feeling is and you may feel a bit shy, but remember, all of these physicians were once premed themselves so if anything, they SHOULD understand you completely. usually people shadow once a week for a couple of hours so it should be of no concern. hope this helps and the BEST of luck to you! 😀



    I’m fortunate, because during my last three years of high school, I was forced to set up my own appointments to shadow doctors. It’s as easy as 1-2-3, really. Doctors are humans with a busy schedule. That’s all. Figure out what interests you. Call and set up an appt. for an interview with the office manager – not the doctor. They get to know you, explain why you’re interested in the job shadowing position. I even went as far as making a resume. You’ll land a job for a few months. 🙂


    I shadowed my own OB/GYN. I asked him what he had done for clinical experience and he mentioned shadowing, and then asked if I would like to shadow him. It worked out great!

    Another option is to call one of the medical schools you are interested in and see if they have a shadowing program. I’ve heard that some of them do.

    Good luck!


    P.S. Is this the Renee in Houston?



    Not sure if Renee A. is from Houston, but I’m pretty sure you were asking about me. I’m still alive and well in Houston and on my path…although lately have been doing mind gymnastics over the whole thing. Does one ever know that this is the right step :confused:

    Renee A.,

    I have shadowed my OB/GYN as well. I actually did it a couple of years ago when I was trying to decide if I truly wanted to pursue medicine as what would truly be a 2nd career. I’ve been in my current one for 13 years.

    I was quite nervous about asking because I actually thought I was this was something quite out of the ordinary…that’s how new I was to the whole thing. In my case, I was very interested in OB so it worked out well to shadow her. Even if the only Dr. you have contact with isn’t in a field you are interested in, you can start with that one and ask if they know other Dr’s in your field of interest that are ammenable to shadowing.

    SpaceCadet’s advice on the medical schools is good as well. If they don’t have an official program, they’re probably a great place to start from ground zero…if you don’t feel you have good enough contact directly w/ a Dr.

    Renee (another one)


    I did as many others have said and shadowed my own doc. He was really great and has been very supportive of my education. As far as work day, I have that problem, too, not because I work, but because I’m home with my girls and my husband works. I just go in now and then on vacation days and such when it works out with both our schedule and my docs. He has also offered to call when he has ladie’s in labor so that I can attend the births. This hasn’t worked out schedule wise yet – but I’m looking forward to it!! Just so that you don’t get discouraged if you get a no…I have also inquired with my daughter’s pediatrician who gave me a flat out, “no.” So, if you do get a no once, don’t let that stop you from asking others. Some docs are more interested in helping premeds than others. I have found family practitioners to be quite open to the idea of premed shadowing. Good luck!


    I was in a similar boat- here’s what I did (when trying to shadow DO’s)- just got the names and addresses of about 10 in my area of interest (FP)in my area on a directory of DO’s on the web. I made up a cover letter explaining my interest in medicine and a brief background- basically why I wanted to shadow- along with my resume. I then sent them out, with plans to make a follow up call a week later. That way, they have an idea of who you are and your interest so its not so much of a cold call.

    I was easily able to set up a shadowing appointment with several docs. Several of them called me first!

    Hope this helps.

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