A picture of the Dartmouth Green in the Fall with beautiful fall foliage.
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A picture of me standing with the General Surgeon that I shadowed.

As a member of the Nathan Smith Society, which is the pre-health society at Dartmouth, I have been able to shadow a physician at the Dartmouth Health center. Through the shadowing lottery that takes place every term, I was able to shadow an anesthesiologist in my fall 2023 term! There is a database of several physicians and practitioners that are interested in supporting pre-health students by providing them clinical exposure. While it is technically a lottery system, most students are able to shadow a physician each term.

I've found that shadowing a physician as a student is a unique and invaluable experience that offers a glimpse into the daily life of a medical professional. As a student medical physician shadower, you have the opportunity to observe and learn from experienced doctors, gaining insight into the medical field and the intricacies of patient care.

One of the most rewarding aspects of shadowing is the opportunity to witness the impact that physicians can have on the lives of their patients. Apart from diagnosing illnesses and providing treatment and support, physicians play a crucial role in helping people lead healthier and happier lives. I've personally seen how the especially impactful physicians bring a comforting and dynamic approach to healthcare, being the compassionate and trustful people that you would want in your corner during dark and uncertain times. As a shadower, you can witness firsthand the compassion, dedication, and expertise that physicians bring to their work. Getting to observe a physician in action whether it's at a general check-up appointment, in the operating room, or at the bedside of a recovering patient, is very inspiring. 

In addition to observing medical procedures and patient interactions, shadowing also allows you to learn about the various specialties within the field of medicine. Whether you are interested in surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, or any other specialty, shadowing provides you with the opportunity to explore different areas of medicine and gain a better understanding of which path may be right for you. Through the Nathan Smith Society shadowing lottery, you can find yourself shadowing one type of physician one term and another the next term. I look forward to hopefully shadowing a Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Pediatric Surgeon and OB-GYN in the future. 

Another great aspect of shadowing is that it allows pre-health students to earn some of the clinical hours that medical schools look for in applications. Other great way of earning these clinical hours are during breaks or off-terms at Dartmouth. There are so many options like working as a medical scribe, patient-care assistant and others. It's also very possible to shadow physicians in hospitals closer to home like I did during my Freshman Summer. I had equally enriching experiences shadowing a General Surgeon at Kaiser Permanente and a Radiation Oncologist at Sibley Memorial Hospital. I was also able to learn from 2nd and 4th year medical students who were doing their specialty rotations. 

Overall, being a student medical physician shadower is a transformative experience that can shape your future career in medicine. It offers you the opportunity to gain clinical exposure and valuable insights. So, if you have the opportunity to shadow a physician through the Nathan Smith Society or elsewhere, definitely do it! 

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