The Dr. Dennis J. Patterson
Center for the Health Professions

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Shadowing and Clinical Experiences

Students pursuing careers in health care are EXPECTED to shadow and participate in clinical opportunities. Shadowing is a short-term experience where a student observes the daily activities of a professional in their field of interest, and this can be done at varying locations as students are exploring different paths. Clinical experiences (similar to an internship) are longer term opportunities to learn more in depth details and foster a stronger understanding of the profession at a particular site. Clinical experiences can be completed for credit, and individuals must meet with the CHP staff at least a semester in advance to coordinate these details. Certain programs have clinical experiences built into the curriculum already so ask your academic advisor about this. In addition to the CHP opportunities, students are encouraged to network with professionals they already know in the field for shadowing and clinical exposure. Coming to the CHP during the first-year is a great way to start planning and is crucial to moving a student forward on their career path.  

Before shadowing or clinicals through the CHP, students must sign a waiver (see link below). Students under 21 must also have a parent/guardian sign the release. After completing these experiences, the CHP has studetns fill out a reflection to share what they learned from the experience (see link below). This reflection helps us better serve students in the future so we can offer other opportunities and further advising. For clinical courses (for credit), there are more specific assignments associated with the experience instead of this reflection.

Shadowing/Clinical Waiver

Health Care Reflection Sheet

Guidelines to an Effective Shadowing Experience

 

Volunteering and informational interviews are additional experiences beyond shadowing and clinical opportunities to explore careers a student is interested in purusing. Volunteering at hospitals and clinics can be a great hands-on way to learn more about the field as well as give back to the community. Informational interviews are meetings in person or over the phone with professionals where students can ask questions about their work, training, etc.

Some examples of professionals you could observe or meet with are listed here.

  • Perfusionist during open heart surgery
  • Veterinary Dentist
  • Physician in a family practice clinic
  • Pediatric Pulmonologist  
  • Physician Assistant in orthopedics in spine and sports medicine
  • Physical and Occupational Therapists in pediatric rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation Counselors
  • Speech-Language Pathologists in a clinic setting
  • And many more!

Come to the CHP right away to learn more about these opportunities. Do not wait until your junior or senior year to plan out these experiences. Early planning is crucial. Your commitment to serving others in health care begins today!!

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