Walla Walla Valley Medical Society Sponsors Physician-Shadowing Pilot Program

Pre-medicine students from Walla Walla University (WWU), Whitman College and Walla Walla Community College can now participate in a new physician-shadowing pilot program in the Walla Walla Valley. Sponsored by the Walla Walla Valley Medical Society, the Clinical Shadowing Program unites local hospitals and clinics with the three colleges in Walla Walla, providing pre-med students with the opportunity to shadow physicians in areas that interest them.

A growing trend in medical school admissions is the emphasis on physician-shadowing. Pre-med students with shadowing experience are more likely to be accepted into medical school and will also have a clearer idea on what medical specialization they wish to focus their study.

Washington State’s medical school, University of Washington, has recently noted that a strong applicant should have 40 hours shadowing a physician prior to applying. The Walla Walla Valley Medical Society has dedicated itself to aiding students in meeting that recommendation by sponsoring this pilot program.

The requirements for this program include that the student must be listed as a pre-med student, visit their pre-med adviser about enrollment in the program, complete a confidentiality form and successfully complete at least one core science sequence.

Using the website hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Medical Society, pre-med students choose what hospital, area of practice and physician they are interested in shadowing. From there, the student makes a personal connection with the physician to set up a shadowing schedule. The hospital or clinic then works with the student to complete the proper paperwork.

David Lindsey, WWU biology professor and pre-med adviser, states, “The purpose of this program is to observe the physician and see for oneself what the physician actually does on a day-to-day basis. Four hours a month is a meaningful experience when it comes to shadowing. It provides the student with good exposure to life as a physician in that particular field.”

The Walla Walla Clinical Shadowing Program is a unique program that will serve as a model for the area served by the University of Washington School of Medicine. The American Medical Association has expressed an interest in this physician-shadowing program, and, if it proves successful, this program will serve as a model for others to implement nationwide.

Featured in: December 2014