Toolkit to Clinical Shadowing
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STAGE 1Is there a need for clinical shadowing in your community?
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HowRecommendationsIn Depth Explanation
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A.Identify Student ExperienceStudent SurveyWe disseminated a survey (via googledoc forms) to students through pre-medical, or pre-health, society listservs to gauge whether students had shadowing experience within the community.View SurveyWe recommend googledoc forms because the responses to your survey are directly recorded on the "View Responses" tab associated with every form.None
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B.Identify Physician Interest Physician SurveyWe sent a similar survey to local providers (via googledoc forms) to understand what the current roadblocks are to pre-medical shadowing, pros/cons of previous shadowing experiences, and whether physicians were even interested. Think direction, what types of medicine do you want to incorporate? For example, rural hospitals or family style medicine are interesting avenues. Once you know your direction, send the survey to hospitals, clinics or private practice offices in your area.View SurveyThere are a number of ways one could contact physicians (email, phone call, letter in the mail, drop by the office). We chose to email out the survey because of the time constraints providers are under at work, and because the survey responses were automatically recorded. Herein lies a major roadblock, how do you get the emails of every provider at a hospital or clinic? See In Depth Explanation to find out. A critical element to the survey is the question “Are you interested in further shadowing opportunities?” where providers can select Yes, No, or Maybe. See Follow Up in Stage 2.To gain access to a list of all providers associated with a certain hospital (with email addresses) we contacted the medical director, chief of staff, or CEO and explained the project. We recommend either an in person meeting, or a 1-page explanation of the program. Feel free to use the Walla Walla Clinical Shadowing Program as a reference. The organization may give you direct access to provider emails, in such a case, we recommend that the medical director, human resources, or CEO send out an email telling physicians to fill out the survey. Some organizations may prefer to send the email out internally, without giving you access to email addresses. This is a fine option but becomes an issue with any follow-up emails you need to send to physicians that want to join the program. Don't be afraid to send reminder emails to doctors that have not filled out the survey. See Email
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C.Quantify the results1-page Data SheetAnalyze, quantify, and condense the survey data. For example, what total percentage of students had shadowing experience? How many hours? Do physicians has a more positive or more negative perception of shadowing?View ResultsNoneNone
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D.Understand how shadowing is currently handled by hopsitals/clinicsEmail Human ResourcesWhile a universal shadowing protocol is ideal, most hospitals and clinics are not interested in deviating from their current practice. Email the department in charge of shadowing (generally Human Resources or the Medical Staff Office) to get pre-medical shadowing documentation.We recommend making all forms easily accessible by outlining the process of becoming a "shadow" on your website. Healthcare organizations have different requirements, which is helpful for students to know before beginning the shadowing process. None
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STAGE 2How would you organize and implement a shadowing program?
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HowRecommendationsIn Depth Explanation
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A.Follow UpEmailFollow up with the providers who responded with Yes or Maybe to the question "Are you interested in further shadowing opportunities?" What information is relevant to developing this program? We asked all physicians to (1) confirm their interest in shadowing (Yes or No), (2) how they would like to be contacted by a pre-medical student, and (3) the number of hours they would have available for shadowing. View Email If you send out thirty emails expect about a third to respond initially. Continue to follow up with physicians on a weekly or bi-weekly basis until you get a response. Remember, you are only contacting the physicians that said Yes/Maybe to the survey, so they already have an interest in the program. We sent follow up emails up to 4 times before getting a response.The key to success: personal emails. Personal emails may be time intensive but yield the best response rate. An interesting subject line, Dear Dr…., and the need for shadowing in their area of medicine (specify primary care, radiology, etc) can go a long way.
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B.Create a Shadowing DatabaseGoogle DocsAs doctors start to respond with their contact information and availability, it's important to store that information in a secure and easily editable database. Instead of developing a website around HTML code, we opted for user friendly google docs that are password protected. The database is organized by speciality and location. Physician contact information cannot be available to the general public. However you store your information, it should not be readily accessible without a password. None
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C.Give your program a nameSelf ExplantoryNoneNone
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D.Develop WebsiteWix.comCreating a website through Wix.com requires little-to-no coding experience. You can use a duplicate template of the Walla Walla Clinical Shadowing Program website or start from scratch and create your own. Explore site at wwshadowing.orgInterested in dupicating our site? Please contact our shadowing coordinator at wareor@whitman.edu for more information. It's free!None
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STAGE 3Finalize
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HowRecommendationsIn Depth Explanation
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A.Letter of Good StandingWritten Letter or EmailA letter or statement from the pre-medical advisor stating that the pre-med is indeed a student, a student genuinely interested in medicine, and in good standing with the college or university.An advisor can send the letter to the provider of interest or the hospital staff responsible for organizing pre-medical shadowing. A letter of good standing allows providers to feel comfortable with pre-medical students who they have never met or do not know. Due to the nature of the website (contact information available through restricted access) some level of feedback is important for both the function and integrity of the program.
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B.Kick Off EventDinner To introduce the program to providers and students, we hosted a dinner/discussion about the importance of pre-medical shadowing and explored features of the website. Dinner was sponsored by the local county medical society. This is not a requirement of adopting a shadowing program. None
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C.Promote WebsiteEmailSend the site address to students and providers via email and link keywords to the site ("shadowing" "pre-med") so the site is available through an organic search.NoneNone
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STAGE 4Follow-Up
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How
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A.Access EfficacyStudent SurveyTo understand how the website is utilized by students, we constructed a short multiple choice survey to address fundamental questions.View SurveySend to pre-medical or health professions list-serv, not just to students who have visited the site or have access to the provier-database password. In addition, students could elaborate on their experience; for example, did they find shadowing helpful? Feedback on where the website excels or where lacks is crucial information prior to expanding the program to other counties.
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B.Access Interest/ExperiencePhysician SurveyNoneView SurveyNoneNone
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