Updated: Aug 23
The day has come that you'll no longer be shadowing a certain dentist. Whether it was an office you visited just once or one you have been shadowing for years, you might wonder if there is something specific you should do.
Say Thank You
The most important thing to do is say "thank you". While it might seem that you're the one putting in the effort to shadow, it can interrupt the flow of the dentist to allow you to shadow. The dentist has also allowed you to learn more about their profession and taught you a lot throughout your time in their office. It is the least you could do. If nothing else, you might be asking for a letter of recommendation or possibly a job from them in the future. Best to make a good final impression!
Who do I Write a "Thank You" to?
The short answer, anyone and everyone. We would recommend writing one to every dentist you interacted with while shadowing. Even if you were in an office with multiple doctors and only interacted with one of the doctors a few times! In addition, if there was a hygienist, assistant, office manager, or other staff members that were really helpful, be sure to write one to them also. You can never write too many thank you notes.
When do I Send a "Thank You"?
If there is a dentist you plan to shadow continuously, we would recommend you wait until you are done shadowing them. On the other hand, if you plan on visiting a certain office only once (i.e. a specialist you just want to learn a little more about), we would recommend sending it within a day or two. If you write the letter that evening and send it the next day, it will ensure you don't forget.
What should my "Thank You" say?
This is totally up to you! Do your best to express your thankfulness for all the help they have given you. We'll give an example, but be sure to personalize it to your situation.
Thank you so much for allowing me to shadow you over the last year. I have learned so much about dentistry and it has deepened my desire to become a dentist myself. I loved being able to see all the different procedures you did and how well you interacted with all the patients who visited your office. It was an eye-opening experience. Again, I appreciate all the time you took out of your daily schedule to teach me so much.
Your letters should be handwritten. This shows that you are taking the time to individualize your letter to each person. It also looks more professional in our opinion.
Write down what you want to say on scratch paper for practice. Not only will it let you practice your handwriting for a second before the actual letter, but it lets you get your thoughts in order before using one of your cards.
Use a good pen. Going back to our last point, test it out before you start writing. The color of the pen doesn't matter so much, but we would stick to a black or blue one in most cases.
What do you think makes a good thank you letter? Did you do something besides a thank you letter to show your appreciation? What tips would you give to a pre-dent writing thank you letters? Let us know in the comments!