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 career 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 internship coordinator at least a semester in advance to set-up the experience. Certain programs/majors have clinical experiences built into the curriculum already so ask your academic advisor about this. In addition to the opportunities provided by the College, students are encouraged to network with professionals they already know in the field for shadowing and clinical exposure. Meeting with the health professions advisor during the first-year is a great way to start planning and is crucial to moving a student forward on their career path. First-year students can also participate in First LEAP to meet professionals in various fields.
Before shadowing or obtaining an internship through the College, students must sign a waiver (see link below). Students under 18 must also have a parent/guardian sign the release. After completing these experiences, students 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.
Volunteering and informational interviews are additional experiences beyond shadowing and clinical opportunities to explore careers a student is interested in pursuing. 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.
Meet with the health professions advisor 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!!