When they ask for shadowing hours, should I only put down the hours that I have shadowed only MDs and DOs? Or is putting hours for other health professions that I shadowed also appropriate? Such would include an audiologist and nutritionist.
Also, what is the ideal number of hours for shadowing to put on an application?
Thank you for your question. The activities section on AMCAS is quite flexible, so you can list shadowing experiences separately, or group by the physician you shadowed, the department, or group all your shadowing together. You’ll have a small text box to elaborate on anything you grouped together, so you can mention there who you shadowed, their title, their department, and for how many hours. For each activity, you’ll give a total number of hours, so if you shadowed Dr. X for 2 days, 8 hours each, and a nutritionist for 3 days, 4 hours each, then you want to group all of that together, you would report 28 hours. If you feel you want to make your various shadowing experiences stick out more though, it might be strategic to list Dr. X separate from the nutritionist. You only can list 15 activities, so grouping and separating activities is a decision you’ll have to make. For reference, most applicants report 15 activities.
As for how many hours are ideal… most schools don’t have a minimum number of hours they want their applicants to shadow for. However, you can often find some averages on their websites for how many hours their matriculates shadowed. Here my own two cents though, since shadowing is not a patient interaction experience, and is rather an opportunity for you to see what it’s like to be a certain type of health professional, you should shadow for as many hours as it takes to feel like you have something to say about why you do or do not want to consider the specialty you shadowed. Typically, 1 day (8hours) per physician is enough to figure this out. It’s not bad to shadow more days though, since a Tuesday (perhaps in clinic) will look different than a Wednesday (perhaps a day of procedures). 50 hours is probably good, 100 hours is great, and 200 might be the point when you’re wasting some time. These are not strict numbers at all though, and we’d be happy to discuss your specific situation further during advising.
Hope this was helpful!
Lindsay (PMH Co-pres)