Based on WHAT WE CAN TELL from limited available data, most medical schools will accept virtual shadowing and clinical hours.
Huzzah! That’s good news for pre-meds who have been deemed non-essential during COVID-19 but still need to accumulate hours.
However, not all virtual shadowing platforms are created equal, so you’ll need to carefully choose which ones you pursue.
Why does this matter? Well, it wouldn’t matter if you were merely reporting your hours, but you’ll need to do more than that. You’ll need to describe the experience in your application, write compelling stories about it, and show medical schools how much value you derived from the virtual shadowing.
So, what makes a virtual shadowing experience worthwhile, and which platforms are the best?
Which Virtual Medical Shadowing Opportunities are the Best?
Some virtual shadowing opportunities consist of doctors talking over PowerPoint presentations. They’re passive and not very immersive, meaning that you don’t truly see the performance of duties or get the full picture of a doctor’s job.
Other virtual shadowing experiences involve pre-meds learning clinical skills from recorded patient interactions. These are more active and can actually build diagnostic skills through insights into real cases and a firsthand view of the job’s demands and duties.
The most sophisticated virtual shadowing experiences involve the doctors walking pre-meds through the cases themselves. This is the best of both worlds, in the sense that you get to build skills while also directly discussing the cases with the physicians themselves.
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Virtual Shadowing Opportunities
We’ve ranked our top-5 virtual shadowing opportunities based on the following criteria:
- Is it active or passive learning?
- What is the consistency and accessibility of the sessions?
- How much credit can you get? And how restrictive is the process?
- What is the content presented?
- How closely does it reflect actual in-person shadowing?
But don’t just take our word for it. You should familiarize yourself with all of these virtual shadowing platforms to decide which one is best for your needs!
- Free Tuition - HEAL’s weekly Wednesday sessions are free. Sign up HERE.
- Real Patient Cases - HEAL uses the most realistic patient experiences available from ReelDx.
- Interactive Questions - You are put in the shoes of a resident doing rounds with a physician, asked about the patient's presenting symptoms, possible diagnoses, and treatment.
- Homework Assignments - Using additional ReelDX cases, students learn to take SOAP notes and apply critical reasoning.
- Certified Hours - Students who come to all shadowing sessions, attend all clinical education sessions, and do all homework assignments will be issued a Certificate of Completion that certifies the clinical hours that students completed to be put on their applications to medical school, PA school, nursing school or other health professions program.
- Interactive Seminar Courses (Additional Fee) - Using the same case-based model popular at US medical schools, pre-health students form teams to present cases to their peers and get guidance from medical students. Find more information HERE.
(works in tandem with PRE-HEALTH VIRTUAL SHADOWING YOUTUBE CHANNEL)
- Host - Dr. Raymond Fowler, an emergency medicine physician who works at Parkland Hospital and the UT Southwestern Medical Center faculty.
- Weekly Zoom Sessions - Each Tuesday night at 7:00 pm CST. You can be added to the mailing list and receive access to weekly session links by filling out the sign up form HERE.
- Topics Covered - Each session consists of a presentation conducted by a guest speaker with two Q&A panels: one in the middle of the session and one at the end. Presentations will go over a day in the life, case studies, different medical topics, etc. You can present questions and interact in the chat.
- Two Credit Hours Per Week - Every week you can get credit for two hours of experience if you complete a short assessment. A 70% and above will earn you a certificate every week.
- Host - A variety of health professionals in different domains and specialties.
- Zoom Sessions and Recordings - See all upcoming sessions HERE. See archive of past sessions HERE.
- Topics Covered - Typically, there is a presentation for the first half, then a Q&A where students get to ask questions via the chat during the second half. Presentations will include why the professionals decided to go into health, basic knowledge in the field, their education, activities, career path, admissions process, advice, and a glance into their day on the job.
- Certificates Available - At the end of the session, there will be a small assessment. If passed, students can receive a certificate verifying their participation. Find out more information HERE.
- Professional Connections - You can reach out to past speakers and develop good relations for potential future networking. See all PAST SPEAKERS.
Virtual Shadowing Opportunity #4 - ESHADOWING
- Weekly Online Sessions - Every Monday at 8 pm ET, with replays on the YouTube Channel PREMED.TV.
- Corresponding Quizzes - Available each week at ESHADOWING.COM/QUIZ until the following Monday afternoon.
- Topics Covered - Each week, eShadowing will bring you a new physician who will talk about their profession, offer a case presentation, and give their time for Q&A. Register HERE.
- Certificates Available - These must be requested only when needed, not after each session. You have to watch at least 45 minutes of the eShadowing session (either live or replay or combination of both) and pass the quiz with a score of 4/5. ESHADOWING.COM/VERIFY will allow you to request an automatic check of your hours and quiz score by session.
Virtual Shadowing Opportunity #5 - WEBSHADOWERS
- Free Tuition - No sign-up required.
- Host - Pre-med students Airyn Hutt and Isis Ramos, with rotating physicians as guest speakers.
- YouTube LIVESTREAMS - Dates/times vary depending on physicians’ availability and preferences. See list of upcoming streams HERE.
- Google Form for Verification - A Google Form will be used during each livestream for you to fill out for verification. Google Forms will only be accepting responses until 30 minutes after the livestreams end. You’re in charge of logging your own hours. WebShadowers will only verify them.
- Topics Covered - Very specialty-focused, with hosts lecturing on a variety of medical professions like surgery, radiology, dermatology, etc.
- Credit Available Only for Live Attendance - In order for your credit hours to count, you must attend the livestream during its scheduled time.
So, there you have it! Five virtual platforms that can help you accumulate and verify shadowing and clinical hours during the pandemic.
We thought hard about our ranking of these platforms, but any one of these can help you on your pre-med journey. Best of luck with your virtual shadowing endeavors!
Have any questions about virtual shadowing for medical school? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll respond to you personally!