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Nurse shadowing for high school students

January 5, 2021

High school students can find it difficult to get healthcare experience, given their age and limited connections. If you are interested in nursing, you might be wondering can you shadow a nurse in high school? 

Yes, you can shadow a nurse in high school. It’s all a matter of making the right connections to a registered nurse who will allow you to shadow them. We will explore how to find a nurse to shadow and what you should consider if you are a high school student interested in nursing

The Bureau of Labor statistics projects a 7% growth in job demand for registered nurses from 2019-2029. This makes nursing an excellent career choice for current high school students. 

Job shadowing is an important part of deciding which career is right for you, especially if you plan on pursuing a career as a healthcare professional. There are many jobs to choose from within the healthcare field, as well as deciding which medical specialty is right for you

We help students decide if medicine is right for them as they shadow doctors on the frontlines of international hospitals and clinics. Our program is designed for students who are interested in nursing, midwifery, physician assistant or becoming a doctor. We can give you the opportunity to explore your options and get a unique global health perspective all at the same time. 

How to find a nurse to shadow

There are several avenues you can pursue when looking for a nurse to shadow

Ask everyone you know that has a connection to the healthcare field – it doesn’t have to be nursing specifically. By reaching out to all your personal connections, odds are someone is going to know a nurse – or another healthcare professional who can connect you with one. 

It also gives you a higher chance of receiving a “yes” if you already know the person or one of your connections can vouch for you. 

If you still can’t find a nurse to shadow, you will have to start reaching out to hospitals or nurses, either by phone or email. Check the hospitals nearby or search for registered nurses in your area and see if you can find contact information.

It may take you some time to find a nurse who will allow you to observe them. If you are planning to shadow during your school break, you will need to start this process well in advance. Should you not hear back from a nurse right away, you can send another email or message, but you may also want to start looking elsewhere. 

Our Global Pre-Meds program also assists students who are interested in nursing and global health through our doctor shadowing programs. We can be a great option for students looking to shadow because all you have to do is apply, instead of looking for the right placement yourself. 

We have selected medical doctors who serve as your mentors, and we assign you according to your interests. This means you may be placed with peers who are also pursuing nursing. 

Your mentors are there to show you a range of medical cases, providing you with knowledge that will serve any healthcare professional, and will even allow you to shadow with a colleague if they feel there are worthwhile cases for you to observe. For example, if your goal is to be a cardiac nurse, they may allow you to observe an interesting cardiac surgery if it comes up. 

Another way you can make connections and understand the nursing profession is through volunteer opportunities. Volunteering at a hospital or clinic, even if it is not directly involved with nursing professionals, can help you build connections in that hospital. It would be much easier to apply to shadow at a hospital or ask a nurse to shadow if you already have experience in that facility, or really any medically related experience that shows you’re trustworthy. 

At Global Pre-Meds, we ask you to provide references when you apply to ensure that we have highly motivated, responsible students on our program. We place students directly on the frontlines and we want to make sure that you, the patients, and hospital are protected. You are not required to have any medical experience, and we offer programs specifically for 16-18 year old high school students. You will get the exact same experience as our older students, but with additional supervision. 

Why is it important to shadow a nurse? 

Nursing is a diverse profession that allows you to work in many areas of healthcare. It’s important that you understand the level of patient care that is required, as well as all the other responsibilities that come with the profession.

Not only does shadowing give you the chance to understand what it’s like to work in the hospital, but by developing a relationship with the nurse you are able to ask questions about their work life balance – how work interplays with their personal life. This helps you decide if the lifestyle is right for you.

Building relationships with healthcare professionals while you are in high school helps you develop connections that will benefit your future. Even if you decide nursing is not right for you, you will have a medical professional in your corner, who can write letters of recommendation and serve as your reference.

But this means it’s a good idea to shadow one nurse for a significant period of time. Shadowing a nurse for just a few hours will not give you the full experience.

Our Global Pre-Meds programs are two weeks long, and we hold them during school breaks so that you can focus solely on the experience. Included in your program fee is your housing, meals prepared by our in-house chef, transportation to and from your placement, and 24/7 support. 

You will get unique experience that few high school students have the opportunity to. While you will be shadowing a medical doctor and not a nurse specifically, the experience you get in a professional working hospital will give you a solid understanding of global health as well as surgical and medical cases. 

Check out our program dates and apply today!