For the vast majority of pre-health program applications, a certain amount of shadowing experience will be required. The number of hours varies from program to program; be sure to understand how many hours are necessary and complete them over a series of months or even years. Try to gain experience shadowing several different professionals working in a variety of fields. This will give you a good sense of the different types of medicine, approaches to patient care, and how offices and organizations of different size operate. Through your commitment to gaining significant shadowing experience you are demonstrating your dedication to the profession and increasing your understanding of the realities of the job. Finding a health care professional to shadow will require initiative on your part. There are some observation or experiential education programs within hospitals that you can apply to, which will help to connect you with a practitioner in their system. Also consider:
- Asking your/your family health care professionals if you may shadow him or her, or ask if he or she could recommend someone.
- Speaking with other pre-health students, advisors, friends, and family members for recommendations.
- Volunteering in an office or clinic to become familiar with the health care professionals before asking if you may shadow.