Shadowing is a period of observation on a professional to learn more specifically about the career. While you are in high school, there are going to be a lot of career choices that will be thrown at you. in the end, this is your ultimate decision, and a hard one to make at such a young age. You have to ask yourself, what is your dream job? What type of lifestyle would you want to live? Where do you want to live?
When you shadow, you get a realistic picture of the daily life of that type of doctor. Shadowing is one of the most important things you can do for your personal piece of mind. This will allow you to make an informed decision about your career.
Don’t limit yourself to just shadowing one doctor, one profession, and calling it a day. I recommend you shadow other professions such as physical therapy, nursing, emergency room doctors, dermatologists, etc. The benefits of shadowing include:

  • You can ask questions
  • Understand patient population
  • Hands-on Experience
  • Networking


You Can Ask Questions

You are spending time in a clinic, hospital or health professional setting, you need to learn to get the most of it in the short amount of time you are there. Don’t jump the gone and ask 100 questions in the first day. Take your time; listern, understand, and communicate with the doctor and patients. You may want to ask the following:

Why did you choose podiatry?
What was your major/minor?
What do you enjoy the most about this job? How are your hours life?
Is this a stressful career?
What advice do you have for me as a high school student?
What is your favorite surgery to perform?


Understand Patient Population

There are so many subspecialties in podiatry. This is the perfect time to see what that specific doctor gets to see in a daily basis. Does he see a lot of kids, diabetics, trauma, or athletes? In general, podiatry is already specialized, but yes you can also get really specific, it all depends on the way the doctor wants to market himself as. Does the podiatrist work in a limb salvage clinic? Does he treat a lot of diabetics, treats ulcers, and works with skin grafts? Understanding the patient’s prepares you for what you will be dealing with, what you will be treating, and how you will be expected to be treated. Remember this could be your life, your career, stay ahead of the curve.


Hands-on Experience

Shadowing is just that, acting like the shadow of the doctor. Standing as close to his hip, looking over his shoulder, and trying to pick his brain. Once the doctor and nurses gain trust in you, they may let you get x rays, set up rooms, ask patients questions, even help give injections!


Shadowing different doctors can help you long term help you find a job down the line. Podiatry in itself is a very small profession but with more students graduating and less doctors retiring, it has become saturated, especially in big cities. If you want to end up in your hometown as a practicing physician you have to start now to build a positive reputation about yourself. Show up on time, ask questions, stay engaged. The doctor you are shadowing now will become your business partner in the future. Who knows he may even sell you his practice before retiring! its a win-win situation.


How to start shadowing?

Eager to learn about podiatry but don’t know anybody? We recommend emailing or visiting the nearest foot and ankle clinic and ask to shadow. Yes its that easy. You can visit your family doctor/primary care doctor for a list of names in the area, or look online, just time “podiatrist” and see what comes up. Doctors are eager to get young students in and teach. If still having trouble visit the DPM Mentors Network to Find a Mentor within your area.