Shadowing and Clinical Experience

Students pursuing careers in health care are expected to shadow and participate in clinical opportunities. Health Professions Advising assists current Elmhurst University students as they search for experiences.


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. Before shadowing or obtaining an internship through the University, Elmhurst students must sign a waiver. Elmhurst students under 18 must also have a parent/guardian sign the release.

Clinical Experiences

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 Elmhurst students should connect with their academic advisor about this.

Other Opportunities

In addition to the opportunities provided by the University, Elmhurst 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.

Experiential learning is a graduation requirement for Elmhurst students. Some students will meet this requirement through their major. Another option is completing EXP 250. Please read the application packet for more details.

Volunteering and Informational Interviews

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.

Elmhurst students have connected with professionals in many areas including those listed below.

  • Family practice physician and her medical residents
  • Pediatric occupational and physical therapists
  • Equine and exotic veterinarians
  • Podiatrist, physician, and nurse practitioner in an orthopaedic practice
  • Perfusionist during open heart surgery
  • Respiratory therapist in a local teaching hospital
  • Physician assistant in a dermatology practice
  • Dentist in a community clinic
  • Pharmacist in a senior residential community

Meet with the health professions advisor right away to learn more about these opportunities for current Elmhurst University students. Early planning is crucial!

Shadowing and clinical experiences offered through Health Professions Advising are only for current Elmhurst University students.

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