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Mallory-Wilson Center
for Healthcare Education at Miami University

Alumni Video: Job Shadowing (through Preceptorships)

Featuring Deborah Wilson (Miami 1984), MD

Family Medicine Physician


Text Transcript

(In this video Dr. Wilson talks about how beneficial real medical experience, particularly in the form of job shadowing and prior to medical school, is for students.)

"One of the opportunities that Miami offers now that I would have killed for when I was here is the job shadowing. You spend a week shadowing a physician. And the bulk of these physicians are Miami alumni, or perhaps a colleague of a Miami alumni who has talked them into doing it. My old partner has actually done it.

"And you spend a week with that physician. And, unless there's some reason you can't (because sometimes hospitals get "hinky" about that stuff), you pretty much follow that physician from dawn to dusk. If they're running the hospital or they're in the wards or wherever, you get to follow them. You may or may not get to go into the operating room (there's funky rules about stuff like that), but you still get a really good insight into what it's like to be a physician.

"Some of our students have even been able to stay with a physician and really get a taste of life outside of the office. I know I had a student who stayed with me (she was originally from Michigan) and I know that was an eye-opener, because I've got a teenager at home and a husband who is a cop and three dogs and just basically a household of chaos that you're trying to juggle. And they sort of see how you juggle all this and make it happen, and I think that adds to the experience. So, I would say to students who can't find a doc in their hometown, don't be afraid to see if any of our preceptors can host you, because many of them are willing to do that.

"Every Miami student that's come has obviously been prepared. They're clearly interested in medicine. The big thing has been their surprise at family medicine. By day two, they're all going, 'Oh, my goodness! I had no idea that you had to know so much, that it was so crazy, so different. All the thingsā€¦' And one comment comes up a lot, 'Wow, there's a lot of psychology in this.' Hmm hmm.

"The job-shadowing program, though, is fantastic. You know, a lot of times if you really connect with that preceptor, that's an opportunity for a letter. There are several students that I've kept in contact with. and they'll say, 'Hey, I'm looking at this school or that school. Or what do you think about this or what do you think about that? Or, oh, my gosh, I'm failing this class. What can I do?'

"So, you can become a real mentor. You can meet mentors. And that's something I think I would have done. My life would have been different. I wouldn't have changed anything at this point, but it would have been different had I had the opportunity, had I had that chance for the mentoring at the same level that the students can get now. It's just an awesome program, and I would really encourage people to check it out."

[March 2011]


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