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Association of Shadowing Program for Undergraduate Premedical Students with Improvements in Understanding Medical Education and Training.

  • Author(s): Thang, Christine;
  • Barnette, Natalie M;
  • Patel, Kunal S;
  • Duong, Courtney;
  • Dejam, Dillon;
  • Yang, Isaac;
  • Lee, James H
  • et al.

OBJECTIVE:Physician shadowing has become ubiquitous to the premedical experience. However, students without connections to a medical professional are oftentimes forced to reach out to physicians independently from a program. Subsequently, these inquiries may go unanswered as they oftentimes appear unsolicited. The primary goals in the design and development of our program were to increase access to a clinical observership experience at our academic institution utilizing resident physicians as primary supervisors. METHODS:In January 2017, the Educational Shadowing Program (ESP) was established at our institution wherein undergraduate students could shadow within the Pediatric Continuity Clinic (PCC) staffed by pediatric resident physicians. ESP undergraduates shadowed the residents as they performed their history taking and physical exams and as they presented their patients to the attending physicians. Between patient encounters, the students assisted the residents in their administrative work which was completed as needed. ESP students were surveyed at their first orientation meeting and during the final case conference. RESULTS:The pre-participation survey showed that none of the student participants strongly agreed to having a good understanding of what the job of a resident physician entails. By the end of their 30 weeks, the proportion of participants with a strongly perceived understanding increased significantly. The proportion of student respondents that strongly agreed with their understanding of the physician-patient interaction also improved significantly over the study period, from 33% to 78%. Seventy-two percent of the residents surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they enjoyed having the undergraduates in the clinic, affirming the positive effects of the program on the resident physicians. Forty-five percent of residents agreed or strongly agreed that the undergraduates improved their workflow in the clinic. CONCLUSION:This study demonstrates that establishing an undergraduate shadowing program in a busy academic pediatric clinic that involves resident physicians can be an overall positive experience for all participants. Fostering premedical student interest in pediatric care and primary care can possibly lead to more physician commitment to these fields, potentially helping to alleviate impending physicians in these specialties.

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