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Some Quick Questions (Shadowing & Urm Status)


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1) I was wondering how necessary it is to shadow a doctor. It seems like people on studentdoctor place a heavy emphasis on this and most applicants have some sort of shadowing experience. I don't know how easy it would be to shadow a doctor here in Toronto (I'm open to suggestions).

 

In terms of clinical experience I have 350 hours of hospital volunteering (in various departments) and a couple overseas medical trips (80 hours total). I can list the rest of my EC's if you want.

 

2) Can Candians qualify as URM? I am African-Canadian (Black) and I'm not sure whether I would qualify or not. I'm getting mixed answers from studentdoctor.

 

Thanks!

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If you are able to travel across border for a few weeks, you could shadow in the US (Buffalo, NY for example). And I'm not certain if Canadians quality for URM but you may have an advantage in historically black medical schools like Howard or Meharry.

How many hours do you think are necessary if I'm able to find a placement?

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How many hours do you think are necessary if I'm able to find a placement?

That's totally up to your availability. I would say a minimum of 50 hours is needed for shadowing. You could arrange for a two-week full time shadowing and potentially get 100 hours. The actual schedule will be dependent on the physicians though.

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Shadowing is certainly not necessary for a successful application.

 

In fact, I just wonder how do applicants get hundreds of hours of shadowing?

As a med student, I typically only shadow for a half day, and that's it because I'm simply slowing down the physician... But then, people who shadow for full days of clinics? I seriously wonder what the heck...

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In the US it is different. Not having shadowing is sometimes seen negatively, as it is their culture to have it. Some schools specifically "reccomend" to have some. I shadowed a full day every month for a year. This was because I had to drive to the US. I never was "in the way", or was "slowing down" the physician. He was great at introing me to his patients, some of course would not give consent for me to join but was the minority, and I would always have some good conversations with them at the end of the appt while the doc printed things out or made calls etc. The patients always loved sharing their stories, from long and complicated care plans to unique pathologies etc.

 

He definitely was a great mentor,and would explain things to me as he felt necessary. There were definitely times in between patients where he needed to get some paperwork done, so I would sit quietly and read one of his case study books or CME packets.

 

I think its a personal thing too. Some people don't get much out of it, while others do. I personally enjoyed it and it helped me decide for sure if thats what I wanted to do. Others simply use it for their CV and checklist.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Can anyone comment on my URM status as a Canadian? Can't seem to find a straight answer anywhere.

TBH, im not exactly sure, but on the application i think it will ask if you would like to qualify as URM. Read the instructions and see if you fit that category, and then choose it if you see fit. Search the AAMC site, i dont think it would be relevant that you are canadian or american - rather what your background is and roots.

 

Be honest with yourself and see if it applied to you, and if your involvements have shown how you have supported your community. If you are from a well-off family, then maybe it might not be the best idea to utilize it? There's lots of intricacies here, it will ultimately be up to you to decide. As well, doing so, doesn't mean you automatically get any benefits - the school will still have to see how it fits into the rest of your application.

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Depends on the school but I would say it is not necessary. In fact at one of my interviews the interviewer straight up told me that he understands it is difficult for Canadians to obtain shadowing positions and he would not hold that against me.

Definitely true^ , but if you do have it - it can be a valuable asset separating yourself from the rest of the Canadians who don't.

 

Some places though will not even consider you without clinical experience(inclusive of shadowing).

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