Apr 26, 2023

What is a Pre-Health Shadowing?


Pre-health shadowing is a program that enables pre-med students to experience theoretical and classroom concepts in real-life practical settings. 

Also called pre-med shadowing, it allows you to join the medical setting to observe a licensed U.S. physician. Here you experience patient-doctor interactions, different specialties and medical environments, and provide primary care.

Pre-health shadowing gives you a better understanding of the daily life of physicians. This helps you make informed decisions about your medical education and career. It also gives you the opportunity to explore which specialty you’ll focus on in the future. This allows you to establish your field of study early on.

medical student doing pre-health shadowing via video call

The Importance of Pre-Health Shadowing

Shadowing provides a lot of benefits to aspiring medical students. 

First, pre-med shadowing allows you to better understand and assess if medicine is a suitable career path for you. It gives you a feel for what doctors actually do, exposes you to a range of specialties, and develops your professional skills. This will also prepare you to discuss your desires to become a physician through the real-world experiences you gained. 

Similarly, pre-health shadowing helps you stand out on your medical school application. Beyond your strong grades and competitive MCAT scores, joining a shadowing program demonstrates your commitment to the medical field — beyond what’s learned in the classroom. 

Pre-health shadowing can also build connections with medical professionals. These can potentially result in letters of evaluation or recommendation from practicing physicians, which can help solidify your application portfolio. 

How COVID-19 Has Changed Pre-Med Shadowing

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly transformed the medical field. There’s an increase in demand for healthcare professionals, the way medical school operates has changed, and how students collaborate remotely has evolved.

Nowadays, the majority of medical schools have adjusted their requirements. They are accepting pre-health shadowing for prospective students who are looking to gain clinical experience.  

There are numerous virtual pre-med shadowing programs available. Generally, these allow you to:

  • Attend interactive classes by trained health professionals. 
  • Connect with other pre-health students and professionals from around the world.
  • Learn the process of diagnosing, note-taking, testing, and treating patients.
  • Meet healthcare professionals from different specialties to understand their education and career paths.
  • Study videos of actual patients while medical professionals teach you step-by-step. 
  • Watch real patient-physician interactions.
  • Watch and review recorded sessions on your own time.

You can complete virtual pre-health shadowing from your home. But it’s important that you proactively check the guidelines of your intended medical school when it comes to online clinical experiences.

Pre-health shadowing is an essential stepping stone in your whole medical journey. It teaches you a lot of lessons through real-world experiences. And it can open numerous opportunities that can help your future success in the medical field.

Do you need guidance with your clinical clerkship? C.H.H.A is here to help. Contact us today to learn more and let’s start making your dream of being a doctor a reality!

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