Medical Observations and Job Shadowing

Medical observations, often referred to as observations or job shadowing, are opportunities to observe a professional in their work.  For example, shadowing a provider, dietitian, lab scientist, etc., is a great way to find out if a career in healthcare might be right for you.

Observing can give you a better understanding of what someone's typical day is like and give you good experience to talk about in future job applications and interviews. It’s also a great way to gain familiarity with different specialties and healthcare environments.

Seattle Children's endeavors to offer medical observation opportunities to shadow professionals who work across the organization.

Medical observations are intended for:

  • Individuals who are 18 years of age or older and out of high school.
  • Individuals who are interested in the medical field.
  • Individuals who work in healthcare and are interested in different aspects of a pediatric hospital setting and not seeking or being granted medical education credit.

Those eligible to apply for observations:

  • Post-secondary students, including undergraduates, post-bacs, and pre-medical students
  • Medical students, including all University of Washington medical students

    Other individuals may be eligible to observe through different intake processes:

    • Licensed and/or credentialed individuals (MD, DO, DDS, ARNP and PAs) are processed by Medical Staff Services. Please contact them directly at for specific application details.
    • If you are in a current U.S. residency or fellowship training program, you must be processed through the Office of Graduate Medical Education at Seattle Children's as a visiting resident. Please contact them directly for specific application details at
    • Seattle Children’s employees: If you are currently employed by or affiliated with Seattle Children’s, please see our internal application on CHILD. Search for "Observing Program."

    Groups currently ineligible to observe:

    • High school students, under age 18. 
      • Medical observations do not fulfill requirements for high school senior projects. Those who are still in high school are not allowed to observe. See a description of our opportunities for high school and youth service projects.
    • International observations are currently paused.

    COVID-19 Vaccination Required

    COVID-19 vaccination is required to observe at Seattle Children's.  If requested, all observers must provide proof of the COVID-19 vaccination series with the second dose occurring at least two weeks prior to the first date of observation. Additionally, observers will enter the date of their vaccination(s) in their request form.

    Influenza vaccine, often known as the flu shot, is also required for the current season (but only during the timeframe of October 1–April 30).

    Requesting an Observation

    If you are interested in observing at Seattle Children's, you must complete the observation request form, which includes a HIPAA/compliance attestation and immunization details (see above for immunization information).  

    Before you submit the observation request form, we strongly encourage you to reach out and connect with a department or provider to help expedite your request.  A description of our departments can be found in the Clinics section of our website.  You can also visit our Provider Directory and return to this form later to complete it after you have been in touch with a provider and confirmed that they are willing to host you.

    If you choose to submit a request without identifying a provider who has agreed to host you, it may delay your request – processing time will increase to six weeks or longer depending on department availability.

    Submit your request

    Due to the high volume of requests we receive, we cannot accommodate all requests – they are subject to availability and department discretion. Please note that not all departments are able to accept observation requests.

    To support your understanding of the process of requesting an observation at Seattle Children's, review our guide for external requestors

    For more information, please see the FAQs for medical observations at Seattle Children’s in addition to the program information below.

    Important Program Information

    • Required vaccines
      • COVID-19: Record of two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Observation cannot begin until two weeks after second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
      • Influenza: Flu vaccine for current season (only required from October 1–April 30).
    • Timeline

      The placement process can take six weeks or more, depending on the department and time of year. You can help expedite your request by reaching out directly to the provider or department you are interested in observing and including their contact information in your request form. See our directory.

    • Yearly maximum

      Due to the high volume of requests we receive, we are limiting observations to one per student per six-month period, up to two in a 12-month window. All requests are subject to availability and each department will approve or deny the request.

    • Length

      Observations are generally a 1- to 2-day experience not to exceed 39 hours.

    • Visitor badge

      Observers are required to check in daily with Security and will receive a visitor badge while on site. It is expected that they will be escorted while visiting any Seattle Children’s location.

    • Network access

      Observers are not provided any network or Seattle Children’s email access.

    • Academic credit

      Observers will not receive any academic credit for this experience and will not be classified as an official student, resident or medical staff member of Seattle Children’s.

    • Role

        Observers will not provide medical care during this experience. As an observer, your role is “visitor” and is totally hands-off.

      • Approval process

        If approved, the applicant will receive an approval email indicating they can now coordinate directly with the provider or point of contact that was provided. The observing team does not schedule or approve requests; our team helps to ensure compliance with all Seattle Children’s HIPAA and privacy policies for observations.  All further communication will be directly from the provider or the point of contact provided.

      • Symptom-free

        If the observer has any symptoms including but not limited to fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose the observer should not come to any Seattle Children’s locations. The observation must be rescheduled once they are cleared by their primary care provider.