Healthcare Professional Job Shadowing


  • Preview an array of preofessions of your interest.
  • Explore a variety of career settings: hospital, rehabilitation center, and clinics.
  • Shadow experience is expected by all professional programs and required by some.


  • Short term shadowing (1-8 hours)
  • Long term shadowing (9-40 hours or more)



  • Be neat, clean, and tidy looking.
  • Dress professionally. 
  • Dress pants, proessional shirt and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Wear socks. Wear tights or pantyhose if wearing a skirt.
  • Hair must be neat, clean, and well groomed.  Long hair must be tied back.
  • Jewelry must be professional and kept to a minimum.  No pierced jewelry, except earrings, may be shown. 
  • Fingernails should be clean and neatly trimmed.

Do NOT Wear:

  • Excessively tight, revealing or baggy clothes.
  • Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts or sweatpants
  • bare midriffs, strapless or spaghetti strap tops or tank tops
  • Open toe or open back shoes
  • Excessive make up
  • Cologne, perfume or scented lotions
  • Gum chewing is not permitted. An occasional breath mint is acceptable.
  • No cell phones.


  • Out of courtesy, arrive at the facility 5 minutes early.  this practice will help avoid a late arrival and help you maintain a responsible image.
  • If you have a chnage in your schedule or are ill, contact the person you are shadowing to let him/her know you need to reschedule.
  • Arrive prepared!  Some students choose to carry a pen & notebook.
  • Be sure to eat somehting prior to shadowing to avoid fainting.
  • Act courteously and respectfully at all times!
  • If given a task, try to follow it exactly.  If you are unclear, ask for the directions agian.
  • Display active listening skills and positive attitude. 
  • Send your shadow mentor a hand-written thank you note.


  • You may be required to sign a HIPPA confidentiality agreement.
  • During your experience you may be exposed to a paitent's private feelings, actions, and records.  Everthing you see and hear should be kept confidential both inside and outside the hospital or health care setting.

Positive Assertiveness

In order to make this an effective learning experience, you will want to show visible interest and excitement in your shadowing opportunity.  Demonstrate confidence in your abilities, as well as enthusiam and commitment to health care.

Suggested Questions

  • What is your job title?
  • What are you main tasks on a typical day?
  • Whar are your most importatn activities?
  • What problems or challenges are there in this type of work?
  • What are the benefits of doing this kind of work? (Pay, fringes, advancements)
  • What kind of training or educaiton qualified you for your job?
  • What entry-level jobs are there in this field?
  • What special Skills are needed in your work?
  • What advice would you give someone trying to enter this field?
  • What do you like best about your job?
  • What do you like least about your job?
  • What is an entry-level salary for this job?
  • What is the highest salary for this job?
  • Describe other benefits provided by this company: Insurance, leave, educaitonal opportunities, vacation, other?
  • What do you remember most about being an undergrad?
  • How did you get from college to where you are now in your career?
  • What one piece of advice would you gie me if I wanted to pursue this career?
  • Ask the employer for a business card for future reference and networking.


  • What type of work did you observe during your Job Shadow?
  • Describe your Job Shadow site.
  • What did you like best about your Job Shadow experience?
  • What did you like least about your Job Shadow experience?
  • What surprised you most about hte experience?
  • What do you think was the most important thing you learned from the experience?

Where to Job Shadow....

  • OSF St Mary Medical Center
    • Contact- Shelley Willett, Volunteer Coordinator 309-344-3161 Extension 1252
  • Other facilities in the 18 county area listed belowcan be set up
    • Contact- Jennifer Talbert, West Central Illinois Area Health Education Center 309-344-9789
    • Counties include:  Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, Jersey, Macoupin, Mason, Morgan, McDonough, Pike, Schyuler, Scott, and Warren.

An observation experience is essential for students pursing a health care career.  Job shadowing allows one to preview professionals of interest.  Observation also allows one to explore a variety of career settings. It may take some time ot set up the shaowing experience so allow at least 1-2 weeks before you would like to actually begin shadowing.