Shadowing or clinical observation is a critical component in preparing for a health career. We encourage all Prehealth students to shadow clinicians in their prospective fields of interests. Shadowing several times and in several different specialties can provide a realistic view of medicine, an understanding of the many ways one can participate in health care, and the skills and capabilities that are needed in a profession. For more information on shadowing, volunteering with patients and gaining clinical experience, see the webpage on Finding Experience. The Office of Health Professions Advising at Duke provides training and shadowing clearance for current Duke undergraduates (sophomores through seniors who are in good academic standing) who wish to shadow within the Duke University Healthcare System (DUHS). Applications for shadowing open each year on October 1st and once you are cleared, will allow you to shadow until the following September 30, or graduation, whichever comes first. You are required to complete the entire training and clearance process for each period in which shadowing takes place. This shadowing clearance is only valid at Duke and is not transferable. 


The information is provided to list the process involved for Duke students to participate in shadowing at Duke University Hospital. Please read the instructions carefully and ensure that you follow the steps of the application process mentioned in Sections A-HPA Shadowing Training, B-Student Health Immunization Requirements and Duke University Hospital’s Approval, and C- Identifying an Experience. We encourage you to begin immediately exploring your options to find experiences and connecting with clinicians. Ask professors who are also clinicians, reach out to research mentors who are physicians or who know practicing clinicians, ask other students or staff. But DO NOT ask a physician that you meet or have met while volunteering in Duke Hospital’s Volunteer Program. One of the requirements of the volunteer program is that this program is volunteer only, and not shadowing. In order to shadow, you must be compliant with immunization requirements and complete the HPA Online Shadowing Training Program. Our clearance process follows both federal and hospital guidelines, so campus partners assist in checking records and give approval for clearance. It is best to submit a complete packet when applying for student health clearance. Final clearance can take as long as a month, so we ask for your patience and professionalism as you wait during this process of approval. However, failure to monitor your emails for alerts and submitting an incomplete packet to Student Health will delay your application. 

Deadline to apply for Summer 2023 is August 1, 2023
SECTION A: HPA Shadowing Training Program

HPA Shadowing Training Program will take approximately one (1) hour to complete. It is recommended that you complete the training in one siting as you will not be able to return to the training module once exited. To begin the training please select the Qualtrics Survey here. As part of the training, you will be required to review and provide written consent to the following:

  1. Complete the online HPA Shadowing Training Program Module (Certificate of Completion)
  2. DUHS Confidential Agreement
  3. DUHS Visiting Observer Agreement
  4. Duke Health Code of Conduct Brochure
  5. DUHS Emergency Alerts
  6. TB Attestation
  7. Background Check
  8. DUHS Visiting Observer Checklist
  9. Privacy and Security Training
SECTION B: Immunization Requirements for Student Health Clearance (Incomplete applications will NOT receive approval)

Listed below is a compilation of the required documents requested by Student Health in order to receive clearance. To see what is on file for your immunization here at Duke, please see the Student Health Gateway Portal. Please gather all documents listed below and submit a PDF file of the following immunization records to In the event that documents do not meet requirements, communications regarding compliance can be found by logging into your Student Health Gateway and clicking on "Messages" on the left tool bar. Your Duke email will notify you when a new message has been sent. Please note: Do not send partial and or incomplete requests of immunization records. Your application will not receive clearance to participate in shadowing until all compliant records are received:

  1. Name, date of birth, Duke Unique ID# (begins with "o"), indicate new application or reapplying (if previously participated) for shadowing, volunteering or both in the Subject Line.
  2. One (1) dose of TDAP within the last 10 years
  3. Two (2) doses of MMR or a positive antibody titer
  4. Two (2) doses of Varicella or a positive antibody titer
  5. Proof of TB testing in the US in the past 6 months from the application date
    • IGRA blood tests (QuantiFERON-TB Gold or T-spots) or ppd skin tests are accepted. 
    • All IGRA tests must include the lab report.  
    • All PPD skin tests must include date placed, date read, result in mm, interpretation, and signature and credentials of the person reading the test. 
    • PPD skin tests must be read within 48-72 hours of placement.
  6. COVID-19 (World Health Organization (WHO) approved series and recommended booster), per CDC time guidelines. Exemptions/Deferral - Those seeking approval for medical/religious exemptions or pregnancy deferral should email to request an exemption form. Students who already have an exemption on file, do not need to send another form.
  7. 2022/2023 Flu vaccine. There will be campus flu shot clinics offered by Duke Student Health across the Duke University campus.
SECTION C: Identifying a Shadowing Experience

We encourage you to begin immediately exploring your options to find experiences and connect with clinicians. Ask professors who are also clinicians, reach out to research mentors who are physicians or who know practicing clinicians, ask other students or staff. But DO NOT ask a physician that you meet or have met while volunteering in the Duke Hospital Volunteer Program. One of the requirements of the volunteer program at Duke Hospital is that this program is volunteering only, and not shadowing. Set-up your first shadowing experience. Visit Finding Experiences for more tips and information.

SECTION D: Clearance Notifications

There are two forms of official clearance/approvals required to participate in HPA Shadowing Program. You must receive both authorizations prior to beginning an experience. Please monitor your emails so that you can respond to alerts that require your immediate attention from all partners involved in our clearance process:

  1. Student Health - (SH clearance for required immunization records). This communication will be the first set of approvals required to shadow. The communication will state that “you have fulfilled the health requirements to begin Shadowing”
  2. Clinical Education – (Final Clearance for shadowing within DUHS). The notification will state that “final clearance has been established for shadowing within DUHS” and include the approved DUHS Site/Location, Sponsor, the start and end date for the shadowing period. 
SECTION E: Tracking Your Experiences

Keep a journal to track each of your shadowing experiences, noting any observations and reflections. Connect your observations when thinking about the core competencies. You may find it helpful to record the individual names of clinicians, start and end dates, site location, the number of hours completed and any significant observations, events or noteworthy occurrences during the experience. Start tracking your shadowing experiences using the Prehealth Experience Log.  This information will be used in completing your application for Prehealth profession schools.


For Clinicians Interested in Having a Student Observer

If you are a Duke affiliated physician, nurse, physician assistant, physical therapist, pharmacist or other health care professional interested and willing to host a current Duke undergraduate, we greatly appreciate your time and mentorship of our students.

  1. Please complete the Qualtrics Form.
  2. If you have any questions, feel free to call or email us (contact information is below).

Please note that Duke undergraduate students can make arrangements to shadow at any time, but they may not actively shadow until they have been cleared through our office. If you are unsure if the student who has contacted you is currently cleared, you can ask them to forward their email from Clinical Education or you can contact our office directly.

Questions regarding shadowing can be directed to:

       RJ Jones, Assistant Director and Shadowing Coordinator:

       HPA Office:  919 684 6221 or