Experiential learning through a health professional shadowing program


Bell, P. (2010). Experiential learning through a health professional shadowing program. Journal of Cooperative Education and Internships, 44(1), 34-41.


Priscilla Bell at Whittier College


job shadowing experiential learning pre-health education Kolb learning cycle CEIA

Related Institutions

Whittier College / WHittier / United States of America


Pre-health science students need experiential activities to complement the lectures in their undergraduate curriculum. As a result, the Whittier College Health Professional Shadowing Program was initiated to provide a short-term exploratory experience for lower division students. Health professionals were recruited by a survey of physician alumni and through referrals from College staff. Professionals from nine fields were included but most of the two-hour appointments were with physicians and pharmacists. Participation in the program and the follow-up evaluation allowed students to have an effective learning experience according to current learning theories. In the first five years, 75 students participated in the program with 105 visits to offices of health professionals. The success of the program was assessed through two surveys of current student and alumni participants and yielded a total response rate of 56 percent. Responders compared their personal skills to those needed by a professional in the field shadowed and commented on actions that they would need to take to better prepare themselves for the field. The survey also demonstrated the value of the program, as nearly 25 percent noted that the shadowing experience helped them determine that they did not want to pursue a career in the field shadowed. In contrast, 38 percent noted that the experience confirmed their desire for a career in the field shadowed. The differences in the survey outcomes between the current students and the alumni seemed to reflect that the alumni had a more realistic understanding of their own personal strengths and those needed for the profession. This may have been a result of the fact that many were already in professional school in the field in which they had the shadowing experience. (Journal of Cooperative Education & Internships, 2010, 44(1), 34-41).

Associated Resources

External Links