Sunday, October 27, 2013

Should You Shadow At A Location Before Working There?

Some NP new graduates are asking whether or not to shadow at a location before accepting or talking terms with an employer. I say yes because it can give you an invaluable look at a practice and it's style before you commit.
I would not do it for more than a few days and be very specific about what constitutes shadowing. In my view, it means that you follow the different providers in the practice on their busiest days and see how they interact with patients and staff members. Don't pass up a chance to eat lunch with the nurses as they will usually give you the real lowdown.
If the provider wants to use your services, make sure that there is a legitimate offer on the table.
I also recommend that you use your preceptorship hours as a way to do the same thing. That's what I did and figured out really fast which offices I did not want to work. I definitely don't recommend working in an office setting where a spouse is the office manager. I won't expound on that subject but understand that I will work for Wal-mart before that EVER happens again.
What say you? Any experiences?


  1. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Wow. You must be a yogi with mind-reading capabilites. I quit my job recently because I took it immediately after graduation without ever shadowing or looking further into the logistics of what the position. Didn't even examine the dynamics involved in the office setting. When I took the position, it seemed like a great opportunity on paper. Also, the physician/employer had personally sought me out during the last semester of clinical preceptorship.

    Three weeks in, and I already began to feel suffocated (the spouse was the office manager)... I felt as if I were in the employer's house (not a clinic)-- and every little move I made was being monitored like a hawk.. (i.e. "Why did you print that paper? The inflection of your voice when you talk to your patients is not correct", etc.). I learned quickly that I needed to get out or else my own mental state was at stake (ironically, like my patients).

    Now I am unemployed, but happier than ever. I have learned so much about myself as a provider during a short amount of time. I am currently looking for employment and will make certain to shadow the next position.

    My only question: Let's say you go for a job interview. When and how would you word the opportunity to shadow a position to the employer? This may be easier for a private practice.. but what about for a county position? Where the organization is larger and the hiring committee is vast. Any tips on that?

  2. Shadowing is fine, but personally I wouldn't want some shadowing me for more than a day. I think you can get a pretty good feel for an environment after spending 8 hours there.

  3. I had a similar experience. The place looked good on paper, but 3 weeks in I knew this wasn't the place for me. The Physician I worked with was looking for someone to do all her lab work follow-up, not see patients, and the office dynamics were off. I stuck it out until I was offered another job in an urgent care. I knew I was inthe right place after a few hours of shadowing. Since then I have been a happy camper.

  4. That is actually a great idea, I have known many nurse practitioners who are unhappy with their current employers, and yes, they have not tried to shadow first before they accepted the work. There are a lot of great deals offered for nurse practitioners but when you're actually there, you'll realize that the cons are far more intimidating for nurses.

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