I have mentioned several times that to be competitive a BS/MD student must shadow at least one doctor. Why is that important?
BS/MD programs want to make sure that the students they admit understand what it really means to be a doctor. The long hours, the interrupted meals, the care for the patient are all part of a doctor’s life. Many of the students who begin college thinking they want to be a doctor change their minds because they don’t really understand what it means to be a doctor.
Doctor shadowing, or simply following a doctor around, gives students a better understanding of what the life of a physician is like. With that understanding, they are more likely to be ready to commit to medical school early.
How much doctor shadowing is necessary? There is no clear answer to that question but the more experience you have, the better. I generally recommend that my students try to follow a doctor around for at least a week. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a continuous week. I have had some students shadow a doctor for 2 hours a week for 30 weeks. That is fine.
I also recommend that students try to shadow more than one doctor if possible to give them some different experiences. The more experience and understanding you can show the medical school, the stronger your application will be in that respect.
Next time I will answer the most common question about doctor shadowing: How do I find a doctor to shadow?
Want more information about BS/MD programs? Check out the Guide to BS/MD Programs.