By Jocelyn Torres-Barbosa
Searching for shadowing opportunities? Job shadowing is a unique way for students to explore different professions and gain a better insight into a specific field. Many professionals are open to helping out those exploring and seeking careers. This is a great opportunity to see what something is like without the long term commitment to a specific field. Being able to shadow different professionals in the healthcare field allows for that opportunity to see first-hand what it is like on a day to day basis.
Are you struggling to find healthcare shadowing opportunities and how to approach those individuals? Here are a few tips on how to successfully find those healthcare shadowing experiences:
Network with Alumni
Being able to find a professional within the healthcare field that interests you can be difficult but a great starting point can be using the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) platform or LinkedIn. Reaching out to alumni in a desired field on these platforms can allow for narrowed down opportunities to find individuals that you can reach out to. On ASK, you already have a common connection being from the same institution and many of those individuals want to help out current students. The same applies to LinkedIn when looking for alumni from DePaul specifically. These individuals are more than willing to help you find the opportunities you are looking for. When searching these platforms, remember to use keywords such as job title, certain companies or institutions, major/degree, or a general career interest key term. This will help narrow down your search for individuals in those healthcare professions.
Utilizing the resources you already have in front of you is a great place to start! Your professors are there to help you and are more than willing to do so as well. Try going into your professors office hours explaining your situation and why you would want to find shadowing opportunities and if they possibly know of any. They may put you in touch with someone within a healthcare profession that you are interested in. If they do, make sure to thank them for the opportunity as well!
Your Own Physician or Local Clinics
Asking your own primary care physician can be a great place to look for shadowing opportunities! Don’t be afraid to give them a call or send an email regarding the possibility of shadowing. Also, try reaching out to any nearby clinics with the same goal. They might let you shadow them! But, if they don’t allow current or former patients to shadow, they might know someone who will let you shadow and help you get in touch.
Try Virtual Shadowing
If it seems like you may not have been able to find opportunities in person, try exploring virtual shadowing! Virtual shadowing became very popular after the pandemic, but is still very useful for those trying to begin shadowing. Virtual shadowing allows you to gain clinical exposure from the comfort of your home. It makes gaining shadowing hours more accessible to all students. You still get to observe and learn just about everything you would with in person shadowing like observing cases, learn how to take patient’s history, observe physical examinations and much more. The only difference between virtual shadowing and in-person shadowing is that you are not physically present in the room with a patient or physician. Instead you are watching all the scenarios from your computer screen. These are opportunities to still be able to find that shadowing opportunity while waiting for an in-person experience.
Not sure how to start a conversation with alumni, professors or professionals about these potential shadowing opportunities? Check out some of our handouts on how to Network, how to conduct Informational Interviews or some general Job Shadowing tips! You can customize each with your specific interests and general background.
All in all, it can be a stressful process on how to find shadowing opportunities. That is why finding those resources that are closest to you can be a great starting point to help try to minimize stress. Finding and using these resources will help you start down the right direction. If you need some general guidance on career exploration or resources, our DePaul Career Center Library has some great places to help you get started.
Need more guidance on placing those shadowing opportunities in healthcare, whether you are a current student or an alum? Book an appointment with Jocelyn or another member of the advising team through Handshake or by calling the Front Desk Loop (312) 362-8437 or Lincoln Park (773) 325-7431.