If you had the opportunity to shadow a physician, that is great! Shadowing is one of the best extracurriculars for any premed student.
Not only are you exposed to the career you will potentially spend the rest of your life working in, but you also get to see some really cool things.
When I shadowed as a premed, I got to see how doctors talk to patients, clinical exams, and even surgeries!
After given an experience like this, it’s important you write a thank you note to the doctor you shadowed. Not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because the medical world is a small place and good impressions are important for networking.
Make sure you continue reading to the end of this post for a sample thank you letter after job shadowing a doctor/preceptor!
Further Reading: Helpful Tips For Finding A Doctor To Shadow
How To Write A Thank You Letter For Shadowing A Doctor
When writing a thank you letter to a physician that let you shadow him or her, you want to be brief but really demonstrate how you were sincerely interested in the shadowing experience and what you gained from it.
Physicians like to help students out. They were all once in your shoes and understand the overwhelming process of getting into medical school.
Furthermore, this is their livelihood and passion. Doctors will always appreciate someone who goes out of the way to tell them they think what they do is super awesome.
We all know how busy doctors are. The most valuable thing to them, like most of us, is their time. So it’s important to make sure you specifically thank them for the time they spent letting you shadow them.
Further Reading: How To Ask To Shadow A Doctor With An Email
How Long After Shadowing A Doctor Do You Send The Thank You Note
The sooner the better! Don’t procrastinate because you might run the risk of never sending it. I would write and mail the letter within 3 days of your last day of shadowing.
You want all of the experiences you gained from shadowing fresh in your mind when you write the thank you note. It’s never too soon to send a thank you letter but it’s possible to be too late!
Always Handwrite Your Preceptorship Thank You Letter
Please don’t type out your thank you note and please please please don’t send a simple thank you e-mail after shadowing a doctor! Call me old-fashioned, but handwritten notes are way more effective than typed-out notes or emails.
When you handwrite something, you make the recipient of the note feel special. This note wasn’t a simple afterthought but rather something you sat down and spent the time writing out. Way more genuine.
Keep it professional and write the note in black or blue ink. No neon color funny business.
Who Exactly Should You Send Your Letter Of Thanks For Job Shadowing?
Obviously you should send a thank you note to the physician you shadowed, but not just him or her.
Make sure you send notes to other physicians in their practice who showed you things. Also, not just doctors. Send thank-you notes to the nurses and front desk personnel who probably helped you out in making this shadowing opportunity a success!
Oh and make sure you write everyone a personalized note. Bring up specific examples of how each individual made your experience shadowing special.
Sample Thank You Letter After Shadowing A Doctor
I’ll make your job simple for you and provide a sample letter of what I would write to a physician I just shadowed.
Dear Dr. ______,
1st Paragraph: Thank the doctor for his or her time.
Thank you for the opportunity to shadow you. I appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedule to teach me about (Specific specialty).
2nd Paragraph: What was something you enjoyed watching or doing during your shadowing opportunity?
I was truly excited to be able to observe (list memorable procedures you saw). These experiences were really inspiring and I’m more excited to continue pursuing a career in medicine.
3rd Paragraph: What did you learn and how will it help you in your future?
I was able to learn a lot about (list some things you learned) from shadowing you. Not only is this useful information for my classes but it will also help with my applications.
4th Paragraph: Restate your thank you.
Once again, thank you for this experience!
Sincerely (Best Regards, Kindest Regards, etc),
Should You Send A Gift With Your Thank You Letter?
If you only shadowed for a few days, this is not necessary. However, if you shadowed a physician for 50+ hours, which many pre-meds do, then a small gift goes a long way!
Send a gift card to their favorite lunch spot, a bag of their favorite coffee, or an edible arrangement. A little gift like this is not something the physician probably needs but I promise they will really appreciate it!