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Experience Type: Physician Shadowing/Clinical Observation

Experience Name: Physician Shadowing Observer

Hours: 146

Most Meaningful: Yes


As a student observer, I shadowed physicians in the areas of dermatology, family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, and surgery. With each shadowing experience, I was exposed to working with patients of all ages and backgrounds suffering from acute to chronic issues. Despite differences in specialties, I observed one commonality among each of the specialties: investigating physical symptoms while also assessing patient environments. I realized physicians assess physical health in conjunction with social determinants of health, collaborate with patients, and develop a plan of care best suited to the patient. In observing doctors, my view of physicians shifted from reactive to proactive.

Why it was meaningful:

Shadowing has been an incredibly gratifying experience for me. Following each physician, whether it be in the NICU or the clinic, has bridged the gap between the textbook and the patient. As a result, I gained a glimpse into the responsibilities of a physician. I took full advantage and leveraged the opportunity to learn, offered assistance when I could, and asked questions. As a student observer, some of my most memorable experiences were when I shadowed a neonatalogist. Through shadowing, I witnessed the various aspects of medicine. I learned that medicine is not only just treating the illness, but also fostering an environment where a patient can thrive. During my experience, I have seen parents struggle to pay medical bills and spend time with their child, while others spend every moment at the hospital catering to the child’s every need. Regardless of the parents’ financial situations, the neonatologist provided the best care possible for the neonate. The neonatologist educated me about her life as a physician and we also discussed life outside the healthcare setting. Under her mentorship, I have learned how to manage a career with other aspects of life to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The neonatologist taught me the self-compassion needed to continue my education and my pursuit of medicine.

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