Should I focus on one particular field to shadow or should I try to find shadowing opportunities in multiple fields? What benefit would this provide?
First ask yourself what do YOU want to do. then ask why.
If you want to do both, write pros and cons of each and then decide. This is something that only you can tell if it's best or it is not best for you.
Don't worry about doing what you think or other think you should be doing. Follow your heart, decide and apply yourself with passion. You will succeed either way as long as it is right for you!
My name is Mario and I'm a Physician Assistant. I was once there. If you know exactly the field of study you want to pursue, the best advise I'd give is for you to research schools that you think you'd like to attend. Additionally, look at their pre-requisites because some schools say exactly how many hours and preferred setting of shadowing. Additionally, you should absolutely shadow the profession that you wish to pursue or something with similar scope of practice. For example, if you think you want to be a mid-level provider, you should shadow both a PA and an NP, so you understand their fundamental differences and the path it takes to become such professional. I hope this is helpful. don't hesitate to inquire about further clarifications if needed.
So when you start shadowing always log all of your hours and try to be in settings where there are individuals working in different capacities. For example, prior to going to medical school, I was not sure if I wanted to be a doctor or a Physidicna assistant. I ended up shadowing in two places that had individuals working with both occupations and I was able to understand each role a little better ultimately leading me to medical school. I also varied my shadowing between pediatrics and family medicine practices. Now when I am closer to finishing school and I have a better idea of the fact that I did not like being in a family medicine setting and I prefer pediatrics. Your experience will always help you going forward!
Best of luck!
Shadow in fields you're interested in. Shadowing early is a great opportunity to find different areas you may be interested in and ones that may require specific course of study that you need to select early. Shadow and speak to a variety of professionals to see what they like about their job and if it would be a good fit for you. Not every job is for everyone no matter how great it is. You need to learn enough about the career you're looking into to determine if your expectations and personality would be a good fit. Taking some basic jobs in healthcare is a great way to gain perspective, experience and get paid at the same time.
I don't know how popular this answer will be because it's asking a lot of your time and dedication. But it's valuable, because you're making a decision regarding how to spend a large part of your life in your future. Try to find shadowing opportunities in multiple fields.
I've often spoken of Personality Assessment Tests, like RIASEC. The idea is to save you a LOT of time by seeing which group of successful and happy professionals your personality matches. I think folks are tired of hearing me say this: You're likely to be good at that you like and likely to like what you're good at. Finding a test -- possibly at the employment agency or unemployment bureau or at career counseling centers at local universities -- is a super fast and easy and fun way to do that.
Once you see the list of folks you're similar to, you'll have a list of folks to look for and for shadowing opportunities. You might be surprised. And hey -- it's your whole life, right? So be happy!
I suggest shadowing in multiple fields. I started my career in laboratory assisting and through this I was able to explore the areas of medicine that interested me the most. Medical school systems are set up to allow medical students to rotate through many areas of specialty. After obtaining their MD they participate in areas of interest such as general surgery or internal medicine. As they continue their journey the residents may pursue further specialization in the area of their interest. In other words, you don't know what you don't know, so explore until you find a perfect fit.
Jeri recommends the following next steps:
there are certainly pros and cons to both options, but I would suggest exploring more than one specialty. And even possibly exploring ones that you don’t think you are interested in. This opens up the possibility of discovering a job that you may not have known you liked, and helps you determine what specialty you prefer if you are undecided.
However, if you begin shadowing a physician and end up enjoying it and learning a lot, it may be better to stick around with them. Go with your gut.
So from my knowledge, for the purpose of residency, its always good to be focused. You plan to go into medical school and you need a residency to be licensed to practice in US. So for residency applications if your shadowing experiences are in one field it shows your dedication towards that field, so thats why I would suggest to focus on one field. If you have not decided on specialty, then go for some specialty that covers wide population and disease ranges, like Internal Medicine or Family Medicine or Pediatrics.
try some fields and see how do you feel, this will give you a better understanding of the way we spend our days and see if this is something you would like.