What is an Appropriate Gift for a Physician you Shadow?

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What is an Appropriate Gift for a Physician you Shadow?

Session 60

What is appropriate for a gift when you shadow? As a premed student, you are going to need to shadow physicians to make sure you understand what it’s like to be a physician. But is it really necessary for you to give the physician a gift?

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For more help on your medical school application, check out The Premed Years Podcast.

Shadowing is a Valuable Part of Your Application

Aside from getting patient experience, you go and see the administration experience. You also go see the academic settings, meetings, and rounds, You interact with residents and medical students.

'Shadowing is a valuable part of the process.'Click To Tweet

Shadowing is a very important part of your application process. Firstly, it proves to you that you want to go to medical school. Secondly, it proves to medical schools that you know what you’re getting into.

What Is An Appropriate Gift for Physicians You Shadow?

You don’t actually need to give a “gift” to the physicians you shadow. By this, it means not having to buy flowers or plaque, etc.

'A properly written thank you note is the only thing necessary after you're done shadowing a physician.'Click To Tweet

The best way to thank your physician is to send him/her a handwritten thank you note. Hand out a thank you letter to any other staff who has been involved in the process of you shadowing that physician.

Tokens Are Great, But Not Necessary

A gift card at the physician’s favorite restaurant is a sweet gesture. But there’s this huge financial dynamic between you and the physician you’re shadowing. You’re a premed student, and theoretically, you don’t have a job. And it’s your job at this point to make sure you have enough money for your application, for a proper suit, or for your travel to your interviews.

The physicians aren’t hurting for money. The $50 gift card is a great gesture but they don’t need it. It’s not necessary.

'For those financial reasons, any sort of token for appreciation is above and beyond what is necessary.'Click To Tweet

Are Emails Okay?

Emails are a little less appropriate in this situation. It’s better to send a handwritten note to someone you’ve shadowed and built a rapport with.

Just send thank you notes pretty soon after you’re done shadowing and not much else. Don’t go crazy. Don’t try to be unique with your gift. Don’t expect anything in return for something else.

'If you're giving a gift with the expectation that you're going to get something in return is really not a gift, it more of a bribe.'Click To Tweet


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