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A Day in a Doctor's Shoes

Physician shadowing program offers undergrads valuable experience

March 14, 2011 | by Erin Spain
Produced by Erin White
CHICAGO --- Watch sophomore Hunter Gits spend an afternoon in Northwestern Medicine’s coronary care unit shadowing Dan J. Fintel, M.D., a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Fintel and Gits are involved in a physician-shadowing program that allows undergraduate students to interact with patients, nurses and other doctors. Feinberg physicians volunteer blocks of their time to let students follow them while on rounds and in clinic and surgery.

The more than 190 Northwestern undergraduates who have taken part in the physician-shadowing program through Northwestern University’s Academic Advising Center and Feinberg have gained valuable access to the medical field. 

Richard Lee, M.D., M.B.A., associate professor of surgery at Feinberg; Michael Yensel, fellowship coordinator at Feinberg; and Susan Fox, director of the Northwestern University Academic Advising Center, started the program three years ago. It is open to undergraduates of all majors.

Lee said the program could give Northwestern undergraduates an edge when applying to medical school.

“Most medical school admission committees feel so passionately about students gaining exposure to the field that a significant physician shadowing experience is usually an unwritten requirement for acceptance,” Lee said.

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