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     *******  FALL 2020 UPDATE *******    

Vanderbilt Shadowing/Observation Experience activities are being suspended until further notice to minimize potential exposure of participants, staff, and patients to infectious pathogens (especially Coronavirus).

At this time, no VU undergraduate students will be permitted to shadow.  Any updates will be posted to the HPAO website.

For Vanderbilt University Undergraduate Students ONLY

                                                        (When shadowing at Vanderbilt facilities)

If you are  NOT a current Vanderbilt undergraduate , please visit the VUMC Observational Experience website (CLICK HERE).  You may also contact Linda Partridge at 615-322-2366.

 may shadow at Vanderbilt facilities by either independently finding a physician to shadow, or by applying through the AED Shadowing Program.  (Click here for more information.) 
Either way, the requirements are the same, and listed below.

Everyone is encouraged to shadow consecutive semesters.  Not only do the schools/programs prefer (or require) longitudinal shadowing/exposure to the health professions, the approval requirements for subsequent semesters will be less. (You would not need a new background check, Health Screening Form, or TB test!)  


ALL shadowing Badges issued MUST BE RETURNED TO THE HPAO at the end of EVERY SEMESTER!  The expiration date listed on your badge will be your graduation year.  The HPAO will collect ALL badges at the end of EVERY semester, then re-issue the same badge IF you are eligible to shadow in future semesters.

Attire / Dress Code:

Dress professionally and modestly : dress pants and a tie for men, dress pants or a dress for women, and closed-toed shoes.


BEFORE you get started:

IF you shadowed at Vanderbilt LAST semester 
AND  you turned in the Physician Signature Log (meeting the minimum requirements) AND Reflection Paragraph , you ONLY need:

1)      Proof of Insurance  -  Health Insurance Card Images (Front and Back)

2)      HPAO Shadowing Agreement – Image of SIGNED Agreement

IF you DID NOT shadowed at Vanderbilt LAST semester
OR   you DID NOT turn in the  Physician Signature Log AND Reflection Paragraph, you will need ALL of these: 

1)      Vaccination/Immunization Verification - THIS FORM is the ONLY form accepted
         It is YOUR responsibility to check the REQUIREMENTS and LIMITATIONS specified on the form.    
         (If you have not had a recent TB test, it could take you 2-3 weeks to complete the 2 Step TB Test)   

2)      VUMC Background Check (Valid for 1 year - Longer if you shadow continuously)
(Click here for pricing information and to initiate the background check)

3)      Health Insurance Card – Images of the Front and Back of your Health Insurance Card

4)      Safety Quiz – Image of Certificate (Must be score of 100)
          Click here to view a PowerPoint Presentation
          Click here to take the Quiz

5)      Confidentiality Agreement – Image of SIGNED Agreement       

6)      HPAO Shadowing Agreement – Image of SIGNED Agreement


  AFTER  you have completed & submitted  ALL  of the forms/surveys, The HPAO will review your items.
(Based on the volume at the beginning of each semester, this could take 2-4 business days.) 

  • If approved, you will receive an approval email with badge information. 
  • If your paperwork is not approved, you will receive an email with instructions for modifications.


Each shadowing form/requirement is considered a “survey”.

  • Once you complete each form/survey, you may continue to the next form/survey.  You will also be emailed a unique LINK/URL for returning to complete or modify a form/survey later
  • You can navigate to the various other surveys thru the “ SURVEY QUE ” (in the upper right corner of each survey)

Submit Shadowing Requirements (REDCap Survey Link Below)

AFTER you have done the "Before you get started" items listed above, Begin the REDCap Surveys and Submit your Shadowing Requirements



Requirements for Operating Room (OR) Shadowing

  • ONLY Juniors and Seniors will be approved to shadowing in an OR
  • These are to be Observational Experiences ONLY. Students are “observing” ONLY (same as shadowing in the clinics, etc). Students should not be “scrubbing in” and do NOT need a scrub class.


(You will be turned away if you do not meet these requirements!)

  • Vanderbilt juniors and seniors who have been approved by the HPAO  are allowed to shadow for up to 8 hours in the ORs at VCH with a maximum of 2 visits to the ORs at VCH per semester.

  • The Surgeon   AND  the Chief of Surgery must approve EACH date of surgery  for observation.

  • Click on this link to apply for approval by the Chief of Surgery:

  • You will receive a confirmation email from Justin Smolder when approved.


  1. View this Perioperative Presentation  "Visitor Guide to the OR"  
  2. Send an email to  at least 1 week prior to shadowing and include:
  • Student Name
  • Scrubs Size
  • Last 4 Digits of Social Security Number (or unique 4 digit number) to be used as a Personal Identification Number (PIN)
  • Start date of Shadowing Period
  • End Date of Shadowing Period (If the student is shadowing for the entire semester, the end date would be the last day of the semester.)

Linen Services will reply giving the student a unique User ID to be used in conjunction with the 4 digit PIN.

Linen Services will have the student’s scrubs available at the scrub machines located in the 4th floor locker rooms. (VUMC Critical Care Tower - Female Locker Room # 4351 and Male Locker Room # 4357) Students will have 2  revolving “credits” for the machines.  Scrubs are tracked by student ID and must be returned at the deposit machines in a timely manner.

For questions regarding ordering scrubs, please call Linen Services at (615) 343-9431.