Physician shadowing

A review of the literature and proposal for guidelines

Elizabeth A. Kitsis, Michelle Goldsammler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE: Premedical students commonly shadow physicians to gain an understanding of what careers in medicine entail. The authors reviewed the literature to explore (1) whether shadowing achieves this goal consistently and effectively, (2) the ethical issues involved, and (3) other reasons that individuals shadow physicians. METHOD: The authors searched the MEDLINE database via Ovid for English-language articles published from 1948 to March 2011. Eligible articles described physician shadowing programs and/or assessed the value of physician shadowing independently or in comparison with other educational methods. RESULTS: Of 770 articles identified, 13 articles about physician shadowing programs met inclusion criteria. Two of the 13 programs involved shadowing only, whereas 11 included other educational initiatives. Participants varied; shadowers included students (high school, college, medical school), recent medical school graduates, or international medical graduates. Few studies addressed shadowing by premedical students. Most studies involved programs outside the United States. Shadowing program objectives and characteristics differed. Data reported from focus groups, interviews, and surveys suggest that shadowing experiences generally increased participants' interest in medicine (or a specialty) or improved participants' confidence in transitioning to a new position. Some articles raised ethical and practical concerns related to shadowing. CONCLUSIONS: The few shadowing programs described in the literature were heterogeneous and often involved other activities. Further research is warranted; objective outcomes measures would be useful. The authors propose developing guidelines and introducing a code of conduct for premedical students, to enhance the consistency of shadowing experiences and address ethical and practical considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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physician
Guidelines
Physicians
Premedical Students
student
medicine
study program
school graduate
school
Medical Schools
English language
experience
confidence
inclusion
graduate
career
literature
Medicine
interview
Focus Groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Education

Cite this

Physician shadowing : A review of the literature and proposal for guidelines. / Kitsis, Elizabeth A.; Goldsammler, Michelle.

In: Academic Medicine, Vol. 88, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 102-110.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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