Virtual Shadowing: How to Discover If Medicine is Right For You

As high school students, we’re meant to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives at the age of 17 or 18. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t prepared at that point. We simply don’t know which career path is right for us, not having had a chance to explore any in detail. That’s what shadowing is meant to fix. For those with even a small interest in medicine, these programs can help you begin to make decisions about whether the medical field is right for you.

Shadowing involves a student following a physician while they perform their daily duties to see what being in medicine is truly like — the student becomes the physician’s “shadow.” And while in-person shadowing opportunities are great, they aren’t available to everyone. Below, you’ll find three great virtual options to help you explore medicine this summer from the comfort of your home.

HEAL: Clinical Shadowing 101

If you learn best in a live format and want to go through some case studies with physicians for free, HEAL’s Clinical Shadowing 101 program is the right one for you.

Every Wednesday at 8 pm ET, throughout July, you can join physicians live and participate in an interactive format where you get to complete case studies for various patients and illnesses. The program began on July 6, but fear not, playbacks are available for free until the end of July. After that, you need to pay a fee to view them.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, there are also quizzes you must complete which, along with your confirmed attendance, will lead to you receiving a certificate.

Click here to register for the program and learn more.

MedSchoolCoach’s Beyond Shadowing: A Virtual Clinical Education

What if you prefer asynchronous sessions instead? This program is the perfect one for you. It follows a very similar format as HEAL’s program with a few differences. One is, of course, the asynchronous programming. Another is that each session focuses on one specialty within medicine. During that session, a physician within that field discusses their day-to-day lives, subspecialties within their field, and finally goes over a few cases.

This program also includes quizzes that you must complete (and do well on) to receive a certificate. One bonus is that there is no rush to complete this course — it will always be free (as far as I know).

Click here to register for the program and learn more.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School’s Virtual Work Experience

If you live in England or are planning on studying there one day, this program is perfect for you. The BSMS Virtual Work Experience walks you through how England’s National Health Service (NHS) works as well as six different medical specialties: geriatrics (healthcare relating to elderly patients), mental health, surgery and inpatient medicine, emergency medicine, and palliative medicine. You’ll learn about the common diseases and issues each specialty deals with in an asynchronous manner and will have some quizzes to complete too.

Click here to register for the program and learn more.

That’s all for this blog post. Now, go out there and discover your passion (or lack thereof) for medicine!

About the Author

Parmin Sedigh is a 16-year-old stem cell and science communications enthusiast as well as a student researcher, based in Kingston, ON. She’s currently a Scientific Communications Intern at the New York Stem Cell Foundation and the Director of Writing at Superposition. You can usually find her on her computer following her curiosity. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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