Should I Move My Family to Get Shadowing Experience?

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

OPM 271: Should I Move My Family to Get Shadowing Experience?

Session 271

This former pastor has great experience interacting with people in crisis. Does he need to move his family to shadow doctors and get clinical experience?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:08] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“Introducing myself: I’m a 34-year-old dad with 4 kids (12, 10, 8, 3) at home and a super supportive FT-working wife. We’re low income, but we have an incredible support-community and a milieu of good attitudes and great work ethic. (Yay!)

I put together a DIY premed course track at my local community college to achieve the competencies I need to enter and thrive in med school. However, this means shadowing is technically not possible for me. Quote:

“Regarding shadowing, in accordance with the guidelines put forward by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the MD Undergraduate Program discourages individuals not enrolled as students of health professions regulated by the Health Professions Act or Emergency Health Services Act from participating in physician shadowing.”

What should I do? Will it suffice to “hang out” with doctors (there are several in my close circle of friends) and volunteer in my local hospital as a regular layperson? As a former pastor, I have good experience interacting with people in crisis. Or is shadowing so important that I should make the sacrifices needed to get it done? Ie, move my family to another city and reconnect with another school or more specifically, an official pre-med program.

Leaving my supportive community and my wife’s income will invariably impact the almost utopian conditions that are certainly helping me achieve high marks. But we knew it was impossible to stay put when we started this journey. We just didn’t anticipate it would be this early.

A penny for your thoughts?”

[03:23] No Shadowing in Canada

Canada is different because they don’t expect you to shadow. In fact, shadowing is illegal in some Canadian provinces. So you don’t need to shadow, which is a good thing.

Now the challenge comes when you’re applying to schools in the United States because they want students to have shadowing experience. 

If you have close friends who are physicians, then that depends on where those physicians work. If they work in a big Medical Center, that’s going to be hard for them to “sneak” you in and get that experience. If they work out in the community at a private practice or something like that, then it may be easier.

And so, if it is the rule that it’s illegal, then maybe you shouldn’t do it. But if it’s not illegal and it’s just frowned upon, then probably go get that experience if you can. so should you moved to the United States, then you have that experience under your belt.

[05:07] Should You Move?

In Canada, it’s expected that shadowing is going to be less offered. That being said, it’s not that important that you should move your family because it’s not worth it. You currently have a great situation there with a great support community. You have a supportive wife whose income is supporting the family. So it’s best to stay there.

If you need or want to travel for a weekend to shadow an ER physician, you can just travel for the weekend and not have to move for that. You don’t want to cause chaos that you would have to pick up and move the whole family just so you can shadow.

'Shadowing isn't something that you should move for.'Click To Tweet

Again, the Canadian system is a bit different from the U.S. system. And shadowing is one of those things because of the different rules and regulations in the different provinces. So depending on where you are in British Columbia, maybe you’ll be able to do it if you can travel to so it just depends.

[07:51] The MCAT Minute

This episode is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT.

If you were originally planning to take the MCAT in March or April, which is the ideal time. But then life happens and your study schedule gets all thrown out of whack. Moving your test back to June is not going to hurt you. Just make sure you continue to work on your primary application and get that turned in as soon as possible. 

Pushing your MCAT back to do better on the MCAT will help you through the application cycle, as long as you still get your primary application in on time because of rolling admissions.

And if you need more help with your MCAT prep, go check out The MCAT Podcast that I do with Blueprint MCAT as well as their free study planner, their free half-length diagnostic exam, and their free full-length one that you can get by signing up for a free account with them.


Meded Media

Nontrad Premed Forum

The MCAT Podcast

Blueprint MCAT