Career Shadow Program

Thank you for your interest in a Career Shadow experience with UnityPoint Health - Grinnell! We understand the value and importance of interviewing a healthcare professional or participating in an observation experience as part of the career exploration process. We want to help you gain useful information as to the types of skills and education required for rewarding and successful careers in healthcare.

Program Opportunities

UnityPoint Health - Grinnell is committed to providing educational opportunities for individuals interested in healthcare careers, whether they are clinical or non-clinical in nature. Our Career Shadow Program is geared toward students or individuals who are considering a career in healthcare.

Experiences include virtual interviews, in-person interviews and in-person observations. In-person observations will not provide hands-on patient care.

  • Virtual Interview: 30 minutes maximum. Open to those 14 years of age and older.
  • In-person Interview: 30 minutes maximum. Open to those 16 years of age and older.
  • In-person Observation: 8 hours maximum. Open to those 16 years of age and older. Additional time is contingent on the individual's needs and area of interest. Approval will be at the discretion of the Healthcare Host.

Parent/guardian consent to participate in any experience is required of all participants younger than 18 years of age.

Career Shadows are not clinical rotations and will not meet the requirements for programs that require clinical contact hours or internship hours, nor will it fulfill the requirement for volunteer or community service hours.

Application Process

Everyone interested in a virtual interview, in-person interview or in-person observation must:

  • Complete and submit this application.
    • For shadowing with a healthcare provider (i.e. MD, DO, ARNP, PA, etc.), use this email address to submit your application and required documentation.
    • For shadowing with a non-provider (i.e. nursing, therapy, radiology, etc.), use this email address to submit your application and required documentation.
  • Sign the Consent and Release from Liability Form included with the application.
  • Include parent/guardian signature on the application for all participants younger than age 18.
  • Provide an acceptable copy of your immunizations (only for in-person observations). Required immunizations for in-person observation include:
    • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): Two valid doses of MMR vaccine or laboratory results indicating evidence of immunity to Measles, Mumps and Rubella.
    • Influenza Vaccination: If your observation experience happens October - March.
    • COVID Vaccination: Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, one dose of Johnson & Johnson) OR an approved exemption to begin shadowing at UnityPoint Health. COVID booster strongly encouraged.
  • Review Self-Guided Orientation below.

Application must be completed in full and documents received at least two (2) weeks prior to scheduled experience to be considered for participation in the Career Shadow Program. If these documents are not received, your application will be closed without notification. 

Self-Guided Orientation

Career Shadows are unpaid.

Interviews and/or observation hours are unpaid and will not provide any "hands-on" involvement during the experience. The participant will be paired with a qualified UnityPoint Health - Grinnell Healthcare Host. The Healthcare Host will be prepared to answer questions about a typical day, education and skill. 

Confidentiality and HIPAA

All participants must comply with rules designed to protect patient privacy. 

  1. Participants will not access any patient medical records or proprietary business information.
  2. Protected Health Information (PHI) includes patient name, names of relatives, patient address, photos, email address, phone number or other information that can be used to identify an individual.
  3. The participant will not share patient information from their experiences with anyone.
  4. Patient information will not be released via social media or any other electronic or personal communication medium by the participant.
  5. No patient care is allowed.
  6. Participants may not take photos of patients, procedures or the UnityPoint Health - Grinnell facilities.
  7. Patients trust us with their healthcare information. Participants are required to maintain strict confidentiality and privacy about patient information.

Infection Prevention

  1. Participants with known exposure to a contagious agent, who have active colds or infections or who do not feel well, may not observe.
  2. Participants will be asked to leave if the Healthcare Host believes the participant presents a risk to the staff or patients.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  1. Keeping our patients, visitors, guests, staff and providers safe is a primary safety goal in all UnityPoint Health - Grinnell facilities.
  2. Mandatory PPE will be enforced by the Healthcare Hosts where and when appropriate.
  3. All participants will be notified if this specific safety matter is in place during the participant's experience.
  4. Different PPE may be required in different areas of the hospital and hospital properties.
  5. PPE examples include but are not limited to: facial masking, handwashing, ear plugs, non-slip shoes, etc.
  6. Participants will be required to demonstrate appropriate application and utilization of the PPE associated with the area they are visiting.
  7. Discussion and application of the site appropriate PPE will be done with their Healthcare Host upon arrival at their experience.


  1. UnityPoint Health - Grinnell reserves the right to open, cancel or close any or all interview or in-person experiences at its discretion. 
  2. All participants must be accompanied by their Healthcare Host at all times during their experience.

Professional Conduct

  1. Cell phones and other electronic devices will be silenced or turned off during the experience.
  2. Sending and receiving text messages or phone calls at any time other than break time is disruptive and disrespectful.
  3. Appropriate language will be maintained during the experience.
  4. The use of tobacco products and vaping is not allowed anywhere on UnityPoint Health - Grinnell facility campuses and property.
  5. No gum chewing, food or drink during your experience - unless accompanied by the Healthcare Host over a break or mealtime.
  6. Participants will comply with all appropriate policies and procedures of the clinical area(s) where the experience is held.

Professional Appearance

  1. Participants must dress professionally with closed-toe shoes.
  2. No perfume or cologne. Long hair pulled back and secured. Clothing must be clean. Jewelry must be conservative. No jeans, shorts, sweatshirts, t-shirts, tank tops or ball caps. No sandals, flip flops or high heels. Socks must be worn.
  3. Participants that are dressed inappropriately will be asked to reschedule their experience.
  4. Participants will be required to wear a temporary UnityPoint Health - Grinnell I.D. badge at all times during the experience. It will be issued to the participant at the beginning of their scheduled experience.

UnityPoint Health - Grinnell does not discriminate based on race, color, sex, religion, marital status, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, veteran's status or age.

Career Shadow Tips

  1. Park in the visitor parking lot.
  2. Leave valuables at home or locked in a non-visible area of your vehicle. UnityPoint Health - Grinnell is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  3. Ask questions! We want this to be a learning experience for you.
  4. A light meal is suggested before you begin your experience as it may help with queasiness or nausea. Please let your Healthcare Host know immediately if you feel dizzy or nauseated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact my Healthcare Host if I need to?

After submitting your completed application and all applicable forms, a UnityPoint Health - Grinnell representative will reach out and provide additional information about your observation experience, including applicable contact information.

I've returned the application and applicable forms and have a day scheduled for my experience. What do I do if I'm sick on my scheduled day?

Please be considerate of our patients and staff and reschedule your appointment. Contact your Healthcare Host as soon as you know you will be unable to attend.

What should I do if I'm late on the day of my scheduled experience?

Contact your Healthcare Host as soon as possible and let them know you will be late.

What do I need to bring with me?

You may want to bring a small notebook and a pen for questions/thoughts and a small amount of cash and/or credit card to purchase items from the cafeteria. Cell phones are allowed but must be turned off or set to silent during your experience. No backpacks, tote bags or purses should be brought with you. We are not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items; please leave valuables at home.

How do I know what day I will be observing?

Completed applications will be reviewed, and if your request is approved, you will be notified of the date, time and location to report for your observation experience.