Shadow Observer Experience

We offer an observation opportunity for those individuals who desire to gain exposure to the health care field.

The job shadow program will allow you to observe an employee performing his/her daily duties at the following facilities: Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH), Canonsburg Hospital (CH), Forbes Hospital (Forbes), Saint Vincent Hospital (Erie, Pa.), West Penn Hospital (WPH), Wexford Hospital (WXH), and the Allegheny Clinic (physician offices). There is a maximum of 16 hours within a year for someone to shadow.

AHN Shadow experiences are classified as an experience that is 16 hours or less in a calendar year.  Please note this is purely a shadowing experience, and is not hands-on learning.  Students seeking hands-on learning for a clinical rotation required by an educational institution can view the Clinical Rotations page.

To get started with your shadow/observer experience, please review the information below:

Expectations for the job shadower/observer

All shadow students are held to the following expectations during their time at the hospital:

  • Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Come dressed appropriately according to the dress code.
  • Bring any forms or materials from your school or program, if applicable.
  • Bring questions to discuss with the healthcare professional you will job shadow.
  • Do not carry a cell phone or other personal electronic device during your job shadow as they are disruptive to medical equipment.
  • At no time will you perform direct patient care (clinical skills) or work.
  • Use proper infection control procedures and perform hand hygiene while in the hospital.
  • It is due to our staff and patients that you have this opportunity to job shadow – give them the respect they deserve.
  • Ask questions at appropriate times during your job shadow.
  • The staff person you job shadow with is your supervisor while you are at the hospital – report to this person in all cases.
  • Patients have the right to not have an observer in their room – respect this right and stay flexible if a patient is uncomfortable having you observe with them.
  • Always respect and maintain patient confidentiality, both during your job shadow and after you leave the hospital.
  • Contact the manager of the department in which you are shadowing in advance if you need to cancel the experience.

Sample job shadow questions

Here are some sample questions you may choose to ask the person you are shadowing:

  • What do you do on a typical day?
  • What are your responsibilities while you are at work?
  • What training and/or education are required for your job?
  • Is any type of prior work experience recommended?
  • What led you to this career?
  • What is the best way to enter this occupation?
  • What other jobs can you get with this same background?
  • What is it like to work at your company?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • Do you expect to be doing this kind of work in five years?
  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
  • What is the future outlook for careers in this area?
  • Has your profession changed since you started working? If so, in what ways?
  • What would you suggest I do if I want to pursue this career?
  • What qualities are important for a person to possess if they are going to enter your field?

Next steps

  1. The interested applicant must contact the department they are interested in shadowing/observing to set up a date and time. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find his/her own placement. A good resource to locate a potential placement is:
  2. The shadow application is attached here.  Before beginning this application you must have