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Dec 18 / WSU Pre-Health

Finding Your Shadow

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity of shadowing Dr. Richard Gordon, a Beaumont Health Systems cardiologist. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term “shadowing”, it just consists of following an individual in a certain profession, and getting a feel of what their daily work activities consist of. Personally, I think job shadowing is a great opportunity, regardless of what profession you hope to go into. One of the best things about shadowing is that it allows you to gain valuable relationships, and is a great credential to add to your resume! During my first visit with Dr. Gordon, I made sure to take tons of notes about my experience. Here’s a list of some of the things that I learned, and what I think may be helpful to others who are interested in shadowing.

I think the most difficult thing about job shadowing is finding someone¬†to¬†shadow. For me, finding a physician was a slight challenge. I first began by searching for physicians online. I called offices, and left messages, but sadly in my case I didn’t get a response. Just because this method didn’t quite work out for me, doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you. I would absolutely suggest that others at least give it a try. After searching online, I decided to reach out to physicians who have personal relationships with my family members. This method was extremely beneficial for me, and that’s how I came across Dr. Gordon. He was my grandmother’s long time cardiologist, and was more than happy to take me under his wing!

On my first day, I made sure to dress up for the occasion. I wore a knee length dress, opaque stockings, and comfortable black flats. I feel as though my outfit of choice was appropriate as well as allowed me to feel at ease around Dr. Gordon’s amazing staff. Also, I think my choice of comfortable shoes was invaluable! I ended up spending three and a half hours on my feet, and I think that my shoes made the experience a breeze! I would definitely suggest making sure to wear comfortable shoes, especially if you’re shadowing someone in a hospital or clinic area. I also think wearing business casual attire is key. All of the clinic’s office workers, who weren’t in scrubs, looked effortlessly professional. I feel as though placing a bit of emphasis in your appearance can help to create a great first impression, and may help you feel more confident around those with awe-inspiring credentials.

Lastly, another tip that I would suggest is to be sure to ask questions. If you’re unsure about anything, be sure to ask. In my experience, I followed Dr. Gordon as he visited individual patients at his practice. As we walked in and greeted each patient, I was unsure if I should introduce myself or if I should allow the physician to do so. I asked Dr. Gordon what I should do, and he told me to let him introduce me. After seeing patients, I made sure to ask questions about specific health issues, and asked for clarification about terms that I was unfamiliar with. I made sure to carry a notebook, and took notes and compiled questions for my own personal reference. I would definitely recommend bringing a notebook, it can really help you keep track of all of the information that may be thrown at you. Also, if you have questions about setting up a shadowing schedule, ask them! Don’t be afraid to ask the physician if you can shadow them on a regular basis. The more real world experience you gain, the better prepared you’ll be for your future career in healthcare!

– Lucki

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