Arranging shadowing opportunities:
Shadowing of physicians, or certain other healthcare
professionals, is considered an essential element of preparing for medical
school. The expectation is not that you will learn any substantial amount about
medicine through shadowing, but rather that you will have developed an
appreciation for what a physician’s daily routine is like before you commit to
pursuit of medicine as a career. For this reason it isn’t essential that you
specifically shadow a physician, but rather that you are exposed to the expectations
and responsibilities of a working medical environment. Obviously, if you wish
to pursue orthopedic surgery as a career, it would be advisable to shadow an
orthopedic surgeon, if possible; but it is better to shadow providers in
several different areas of medicine to provide you with a well-rounded picture
of medical practices. Most medical school programs suggest having approximately
50 hours of shadowing prior to submission of your application.
Finding shadowing opportunities can often pose a problem for
students, since finding them can be difficult--given the restrictions and
liability placed upon healthcare providers by Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. These regulations restrict healthcare
providers in matters of patient confidentiality. Despite such obstacles, there
are several ways in which a student can find shadowing opportunities. You are
welcome to contact any physician, department, or office directly, although do
not be surprised or insulted if they decline. Again, HIPAA regulations and busy schedules may reduce their willingness
to participate. Do not be afraid of using family contacts or other social networks
as resources, however.
- Ask your family physician or other healthcare
provider if he/she would mind having you shadow them for a set period of time.
- Volunteer your services at the local hospital or
public healthcare clinic. Most such organizations have volunteer programs
managed through their Human Resources department.
and Harbin Clinic have been willing to allow Berry students to shadow providers there.
Unless you have arranged something with a specific physician, these
opportunities are managed through their Human Resources departments.
- Volunteer for medical mission trips abroad that
are frequently organized through local churches. Local health fairs often need volunteers as
well. These will broaden your network and may provide additional opportunities
for future shadowing.
Hospital has partnered
with Blue Ridge Healthcare and actually maintains an application process
on-line for those wishing to shadow. Go to http://www.blueridgeahec.org/professionals-to-communities/clinical-training/floyd-medical-center/student-resources
- The Blue Ridge Area
Center at 2007 N. Broad St. has an extensive list of local
contacts and associations with healthcare providers. They would likely be able
to help find volunteer opportunities for students.
- The Berry College
Center has agreed to
help arrange physician shadowing through its network of alumni. Check with Ms.
Beckie Jarrell in that office.
is critical that students participating in shadowing remember that they
represent the spirit of their academic institution. You will be expected to
behave at all times in a professional, thoughtful, and respectful manner toward
all personnel serving at these provider organizations, regardless of their
status within the organization. Only by adhering to the highest levels of
appropriate conduct can those that follow you enjoy the same opportunities.