Job Shadowing: A Glimpse into the Future

How job shadowing can help students prepare for life after high school.

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Job Shadowing: A Glimpse into the Future

Job shadowing posing for their annual photo

Job shadowing posing for their annual photo

Patricia Newman

Job shadowing posing for their annual photo

Patricia Newman

Patricia Newman

Job shadowing posing for their annual photo

Landry Sloan, Staff writer

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Job shadowing is an amazing opportunity for high school students who wish to go into the medical field in the future. Students are able to follow, or “shadow”, a nurse or doctor at Longview Regional Hospital in order to see what a day in their life is like. This incredible opportunity allows students to learn from a real situation while also allowing them interact and find where they belong in the medical field.

Health Science teacher Shonda Irvine has been at the  head of this student program for almost four years.

“Job Shadowing gives these kids a very up close and personal look at day to day life and what nurses, doctors, therapists, and aides go through on a regular basis. It kind of helps them decide if they can handle it or not. We have had a few things to make or break some students as to whether or not they want to do that particular profession.”

While this is an extremely beneficial program, there are some downsides.

Junior job shadowing student Damara Williams says, “There are certain types of proper etiquette and manners that you do have to do, and it can be hard for us to remember that the patient is number one at all times.”

The students are also unable to touch any equipment, patients, or medical supplies for the safety of everyone involved. Additionally, the students must sign a waiver that directly states that participants cannot speak about anything that they see or hear while job shadowing to others. It can be very hard for participants not to tell everyone they know about their experience, but it can be considered a breach of confidentiality, or a  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation. This can result in a lawsuit against the hospital.

Before beginning the job shadowing program as a junior, students must take two health science classes where they learn about confidentiality and HIPAA violations. While learning in a classroom is helpful, there is no better teacher than experience. So while these classes help students prepare for their future, job shadowing helps them apply all they have learned.

Irvine says, “It gives the kids more of a hands-on experience. There is only so much you can learn from paper. So it kind of puts them in the field and in the path to see what goes on everyday. I think it enhances their passion for the medical field and everything involved with it.”