It is a great honor to be allowed to shadow a physician in his/her practice. There is a great amount of time and effort involved in mentoring pre-medical students. Many physicians take time away from other things they enjoy to provide these opportunities. The least any pre-medical student could do is write a personal thank you letter showing your appreciation. The following is a sample thank you letter that you may use to write your own personalized thank you letter/note.
The Importance of Thank You Letters
A thank you letter can help with a few important aspects of the shadowing process:
- Gratitude. A thank you letter helps to show that you appreciate the time and effort taken to allow you into the office.
- Memory. A thank you letter will also help the physician maintain an accurate depiction of your time in the office.
- The social convention. Basically, thank you letters are expected and can be considered acceptable in nearly any situation.
- Additional Opportunities. A thank you letter could open doors for additional shadowing opportunities, especially if you truly enjoyed the experience.
What to Include in a Thank You Letter
Keep your thank you letter brief, but thorough. Generally speaking, a standard 3″ x 5″ thank you card is considered acceptable. A long essay about your time in the office on standard letterhead will probably take too much time to read.
Ensure to hand write the letter. This may be difficult for those with poor penmanship, but the extra effort shows how much you care. With technology becoming so integrated into every aspect of society, hand-written letters tend to bring about a sense of pride in tradition.
Don’t include patient information. You can talk about your experiences, but don’t talk about the patients with which you had the opportunity to interact. Be vague about any patient encounters, if you choose to mention them (no names, genders, illness, or injury).
When to Give a Thank You Letter
Make sure you prepare your thank you letter within 48 hours of your shadowing experience. A week may be too long, and the same day won’t give you enough time to truly reflect on your experiences.
How to Give a Thank You Letter
It is acceptable to deliver a thank you letter through the postal system. However, if you want to ensure of the letter’s prompt delivery, it’s also acceptable to drop off the letter. If you decide to drop off the letter, be sure to simply leave the note with the receptionist and ask that it be delivered to the physician.