What to wear to shadow a doctor? The Complete Guide to Shadowing

Shadowing a doctor can be a great experience. You get to see what it is like to work in the medical field, learn about different specialties, and network with professionals. But what should you wear? The simple answer, you should wear business casual when shadowing a doctor. This can be tough decision through, because many doctors wear scrubs, but some wear really nice cloths. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on what to wear when shadowing a doctor!

Does attire really matter when shadowing a doctor

Yes, shadowing a doctor is something that sets you up for a letter of recommendation, but more than that it is something that shows respect when you dress nicely.

I remember one particular student who wore jeans to shadow me, that was the first thing that both myself and my staff noticed about this student.

Dress in business casual, which we will go over what that entails below.

Should I wear scrubs to shadow a doctor?

Not on the first time that you meet them. If they wear scrubs, then you can politely ask if it would be okay if you wear them the next time, but definitely don’t wear them the first time you meet the physician for shadowing.

Should I wear business casual to shadow a doctor

Absolutely! You should be dressed in business casual clothing when shadowing a doctor. This means closed-toe shoes(dress shoes), slacks or khakis, and a button-down dress shirt or blouse. You want to dress to impress, but also be comfortable as you will be spending long hours on your feet.

Doing this will help you have a great shadowing experience and will make it so you impress the physician, which will help you when applying to medical schools and attain your goal of attending medical school!

What to wear to shadow a doctor

Clothes for Women when they Shadow


A woman should wear tops that are not revealing. You want to make sure that you are not wearing a low-cut shirt or anything that would show cleavage. If you are unsure, it is always better to err on the side of caution and dress more conservatively.

Some good options for tops include:

  • -Button down blouses
  • -Polo shirts
  • -Sweaters
  • -Cardigans

You want to dress professionally, and respectfully.


As for bottoms, you want to make sure that they are not too tight or revealing as well. You want to be comfortable, but also look presentable.

Some good options for bottoms include:

  • -Slacks
  • -Khakis
  • -Skirts (knee-length or longer)
  • -Dress pants

As long as you are comfortable and not revealing too much skin, you should be good to go!


You should wear closed toe shoes and avoid sandals, flip-flops, or any other type of open toe shoe. You want to make sure that you are comfortable, but also presentable.

Some good options for shoes include:

  • -Dress shoes
  • -Flats
  • -Heels (not too high)
  • -Boots (knee-length or below)

As long as you are comfortable and not revealing too much skin, you should be good to go!


Focus on small and delicate jewelry. You want to make sure that you are not wearing anything that is too flashy or distracting.

Some good options for jewelry include:

  • -Earrings
  • -Necklaces
  • -Bracelets

Again, you want to make sure that you are not wearing anything that is too flashy or distracting.


Be careful with perfumes because some people can be allergic to them. If you do wear perfume, make sure that it is not too strong.

Clothes for men when they Shadow

Men should focus on clothing that is not too revealing or tight. You want to make sure that you are comfortable, but also presentable.

Some good options for men’s clothing include:

  • -Slacks
  • -Khakis
  • -Dress pants
  • -Button down dress shirts
  • -Polo shirts

Be clean ,be groomed, and be presentable!


Good top options for men are:

  • -Button down dress shirts
  • -Polo shirts
  • -Sweaters

Dress in business casual clothes from the top down, and you will be good to go.


Good bottom options for men are:

  • -Slacks
  • -Khakis
  • -Dress pants

Wear something comfortable because you will be on your feet all day.


Just like for women, wear closed toe professional shoes and avoid tennis shoes and open toed things like flip flops and sandals.


Men should focus on small and delicate jewelry as well. You want to make sure that you are not wearing anything that is too flashy or distracting.

Keep it low key and don’t make your jewelry the focus of you that day.


Same rule as above, you want to avoid being too fragrant. Many people have allergies, so it is best to be safe than sorry.

When in doubt, always dress more conservatively. You can never go wrong by dressing respectfully and professionally.

How important is shadowing for medical school?

You have to shadow doctors in order to get into medical school. This is so important for your medical career and typically there are a required amount of shadowing hours that differs for each school.

This will help you get an idea of what medicine is like and will let you know what a day to day life of a practicing physician is like and that it is something you want to do before you go all in and become a medical student and get in debt for this!

Shadowing is an absolute must before medical school!

What do you do when you shadow a doctor?

Basically you begin shadowing by just sitting with the physician and going over their days schedule.

In all honesty, you will do exactly what it sounds like, you will be their shadow. Meaning you will just follow them throughout they day and see what a doctor’s typical day is like. You wont be in the room by yourself seeing patients, basically you will be with the physician the entire day.

You should just be there, be respectful, dress nicely, and pay attention throughout the day and ask questions as they come up. Which means, you should focus on being interested and engaged throughout the day because this will help you get a good letter of recommendation.

What questions to ask during shadowing?

Ask the physician about what they love and what they don’t like about their job.

  • -How did you choose your specialty?
  • -What is a typical day like for you?
  • -Do you have any advice for medical students or premeds?
  • -Do you have any favorite or least favorite parts of your job?
  • -What was your inspiration for becoming a doctor?

These are all great questions to get started with, but overall just be interested and engaged and ask whatever questions come to mind!

Why do I want to shadow a doctor?

Because you want to get into medical school!

It is important to get experience in the medical field and see what a day in the life of a physician is like. This will help you determine if this is what you want to do with your life and if medicine is truly the right path for you.

What to bring when you shadow a doctor

You don’t need to bring too much, just yourself and a notepad to take notes.

You might want to bring a water bottle and snacks because you will be on your feet all day long.

When shadowing, always remember to dress professionally and respectfully. You want to make a good impression and show the physician that you are interested in what they do!

How many doctors should I shadow?

Just shadow enough to get a good letter of recommendation and get a good idea of what being a physician is like.

Check and see what medical schools require for letters of recommendation, and make sure you at least get that many shadowing experiences done.

Typically this is 3-4 doctors so you can get a couple of good letters from them and form enough of a good opinion of what medicine is like to make sure you like it.

Does shadowing count as clinical experience?

No, this is different then real clinical experience.

Clinical experience is when you are actually working in the medical field and seeing patients. This is usually done through internships or volunteering in hospitals, EMT, CNA, etc.

While shadowing, you will not be interacting with patients, you will simply be observing the physician as they go about their day.

Don’t count shadowing hours as clinical experience, you want to get both of these as separate events and experiences.


Well, there you have it!

Everything you need to know about shadowing a doctor, what to wear, what to bring, how many doctors to shadow, and more!

I hope this guide was helpful and informative for you. Now go out there and get some great shadowing experiences under your belt!`)

Thanks for reading

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