Job Shadowing at Allen Hospital & Marshalltown Hospital 

Students Smiling

Day in the Life Event

Day in the Life Job Shadow.jpg

A Day in Life is an interactive healthcare career fair, where high school students age 16-plus will have an opportunity to explore different fields and career paths within the healthcare industry. During the event, students will be able to talk with representatives from a variety of departments.

Departments include but are not limited to:

  • Radiology
  • PT / OT / ST
  • Lab
  • Pharmacy
  • Nursing (OB, ICU, ED, Med-Surg)
  • Respiratory Therapy

Learn what a typical day is like and what education is required to follow a particular career path.

Demonstrations and hands-on activities provided.

2023-2024 Schedule
  • Thursday September 28, 2023
  • Friday, November 10, 2023
  • Thursday, February 15, 2024
  • Thursday, April 11, 2024

Job Shadow Program Overview

Thank you for your interest in participating in a job shadow at UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital or UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown Hospital. We’re committed to providing educational opportunities for individuals interested in healthcare careers, whether clinical or non-clinical in nature. Our Job Shadow Program is for students or individuals considering a career change or exploration.

Job shadows are unpaid, observational hours only and will not provide hands-on experience. Our job shadow opportunities are for students or individuals considering career exploration or a career change. You will be paired with a job shadow mentor and must remain with them throughout the job shadow experience. Your mentor will be able to answer questions about a typical day, education and skill requirements, and generally what the position involves.

Students must be at least a junior in high school in order to job shadow. If students are under the age of 18, they must also have a parent or legal guardian sign their application. Appropriate accident and liability insurance is the responsibility of the job shadow participant and/or parent or legal guardian.

Job shadows will normally be scheduled between 8 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday. Some departments within the clinic or hospital are generally unable to accommodate job shadow requests, such as CPC (Child Protection Center) and Behavioral Health Services. Requests are subject to the department manager’s approval and may be limited due to staff availability or workload. Some departments may have other specific parameters that must be met.

For inquiries, please contact

High School Students

A Day in the Life, Interactive Career Exploration is a four-hour program designed for high school students to learn about different healthcare professions.* During each of our four dates, students will be placed in small groups and will be introduced to various departments and positions in the healthcare field at Allen Hospital. Experiences may include what a typical workday is like in a particular department, hands-on activities related to a particular field, demonstrations or what education is required to enter the healthcare field.

Dates for the 2023/2024 academic year are:

  • September 28, 2023
  • November 10, 2023
  • February 15, 2024
  • April 11, 2024

* High school students who are interested in doing a job shadow in a particular department must first attend a “Day in the Life” session prior to requesting an individual job shadow opportunity.

Application Process

In order to apply for a Job Shadow experience, you must complete the following steps.

  1. Download, save, complete and email a Job Shadow Application
  2. Email completed application to
  3. Review the Self-Study Orientation packet
  4. Upon review of your application, you will be contacted. A minimum of two weeks' notice is required prior to actual placement.

Our first priority is meeting the needs of our patients. While we attempt to accommodate the learning needs of our students, at times we may decline a request for a job shadow experience even if all the requirements are met. Please remember that we need to have adequate resources to serve our patient population. In addition, some areas require a high degree of sensitivity and are not suitable for job shadowing. If your request is not approved, you will be notified.


I've returned all the forms and have a day scheduled for my job shadow. What do I do if I'm sick on my scheduled day?
Please be considerate of our patients and staff and reschedule your job shadow day. Contact your assigned staff person or hospital department.
What happens if the weather is bad and there is a snow or ice storm?
If you feel uncomfortable driving for any reason, it's best to call and reschedule.
What should I do if I'm late on the day of my scheduled visit?
Call your assigned staff member as soon as possible and let them know you will be tardy.
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 to get something from the cafeteria. Cell phones must be turned off or set to silent. No backpacks, tote bags or purses. We are not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items so please leave valuables at home.
How do I know what day I will be shadowing?
Completed applications will be reviewed and approved by the department contact. If your job shadow request is approved you will be notified of the date, time and location to report. You will also be given the name and contact number of the staff member you will be assigned to.
What if I need verification of the job shadow?
If you have a form that needs to be signed, please bring it with you on your job shadow day and your assigned staff person can sign it.
Can I use this experience to fulfill requirements for volunteering?
No. The requirements for volunteering are different. If you would like to be a volunteer, please contact our Volunteer Services Office at (319) 235-3692.
I'm coming home from college for the weekend. Can I job shadow tomorrow?
We need at least 1-2 weeks' notice before your request will be approved. That gives us ample time to review your submitted forms and ensure the information is complete. We also need time to set up a job shadow mentor for you on a day that works for them. Please plan accordingly and submit your forms at least one week in advance. Most job shadow experiences are scheduled Monday through Friday.

Job Shadow Self-Study Orientation

  • The purpose of the job shadow is to provide you with a worthwhile learning experience. Come to your job shadow with prepared questions to ask your mentor.
  • Patients are our number one priority; thus, all job shadow participants must comply with rules designed to protect patient privacy.
  • This packet will introduce you to our policies on: Confidentiality & HIPAA, Infection Prevention, Safety, Professional Conduct and Dress Code.
  • It's important to comply with all of these policies to participate in a job shadow.
  • Please stay home if you are ill – we'll make every effort to reschedule your job shadow experience. Contact your assigned department if you have questions, need to reschedule or will be late.
  • Review the Self-Study Orientation Packet
  1. Patients have the right for their medical information to be kept private and confidential.
  2. HIPAA (Health Insurance and Accountability Act) regulations govern how patient information is handled. HIPAA applies to our entire workforce, including employees, students, medical staff and volunteers. It also applies to job shadow participants.
  3. You will be required to sign a form indicating that you understand the importance of patient and hospital confidentiality. In addition, you are expected to comply with appropriate hospital and clinic rules and regulations. We respect the rights of our patients. All patient-related job shadows are subject to patient approval. The patient has the right to refuse to have a job shadow participant present during a visit or procedure.
    1. Access to patient information is restricted to a "need to know" basis. As a job shadow participant, you do not have rights to access patient paper and electronic records. This includes paper and electronic medical records.
    2. However, if you job shadow in a patient care area, you may be exposed to PHI (Protected Health Information). PHI includes patient name, names of relatives, patient address, photos, email address, phone numbers or any other information that can be used to identify an individual.
  1. A breach of confidentiality occurs when patient information is accessed, used or disclosed without proper authorization
  2. Examples of situations you must keep confidential (do not share with anyone) while you are job shadowing:
    1. You may see public figures you recognize that are here for lab tests.
    2.  If you are with a nurse you may go into a patient's room and realize it is a former neighbor.
    3. You may see a classmate leaving an OB physician's office.
  3. "What do I do if I see a patient I know?"
    1. It's okay to greet them
    2. You can tell them you are here as part of a job shadow experience, but don't:
      1. Ask why they are here
      2. Tell friends, your parents, teachers or anyone else that you saw them in the hospital
  4. "What information can I share about my job shadow experience?"
    1. General information about the department you visited
    2.  Types of procedures that are typically done
    3. The education and skill level required for the jobs you observed
  5. Remember, patients trust us with their healthcare information.
  6. Job shadow participants will sign a Confidentiality Statement of Understanding.
  7. Ask yourself, "How would I want my personal healthcare information treated?"
  1. Infection Prevention is everyone's job.
  2. As a job shadow participant student you must remain with your guide or mentor, and follow their example:
    1. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve at the crook of your elbow.
    2. Wash with soap and running water for at least 15 seconds. Hand hygiene is the single, most effective way to prevent the spread of infection.
    3. Use waterless hand sanitizers. They are very effective and may be used up to 10 times between hand washing unless hands are visibly or knowingly soiled. Pumps are located in patient care areas and throughout the campus.
  3. Practice hand hygiene:
    1. Before entering a patient's room
    2. When exiting a patient's room
    3. Before and after patient contact
    4. Before and after eating
    5. If your hands have been near your mouth, nose, or eyes
    6. After using the bathroom
    7. Before and after using gloves
  1. Business casual attire is appropriate – slacks with a blouse or polo shirt.
  2. No perfumes or cologne.
  3. Long hair should be pulled back.
  4. Visible prejudicial tattoos must be covered.
  5. Jewelry must be appropriate: No facial piercings other than a maximum of 3 earrings per ear.
  6. No jeans, shorts, sweatshirts, t-shirts or tank tops.
  7. Scrubs and lab coats are generally reserved for healthcare professionals and shouldn't be worn unless the department provides them for you.
  8. Shoes must be closed toe and comfortable for prolonged walking and standing. No sandals, flip flops or high heels.
  9. Hosiery or socks must be worn.
  10. Clothing must be clean, and your general appearance must be neat and professional.
  11. Please comply with the dress code requirements. Individuals that are dressed inappropriately will be asked to reschedule their job shadow experience.
  1. Arrive 10 minutes early to your job shadowing experience and introduce yourself with a handshake.
  2. Professional conduct must be maintained at all times.
  3. The use of tobacco products is not allowed anywhere on the campus.
  4. Please turn cell phones off or set to "silent". Sending and receiving text messages at any time other than break times are disruptive and disrespectful.
  5. No gum chewing, food or drink.
  6. Patient care is our number one priority.
  1. You may park in the visitor parking lot. Please don't park in areas marked for Volunteers or Valet parking.
  2. You are welcome to use the cafeteria or The Coffee Lab.
  3. Leave valuables at home or locked in the trunk of your car. Allen Hospital is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  4. Ask questions! We want this to be a learning experience for you.
  5. A light meal is suggested before you job shadow, but please let someone know if you become nauseous or light-headed while you are here.
  6. Stay home if you are ill - we'll gladly reschedule your job shadow experience.
  7. Please arrive on time for your job shadow experience.
  8. You may contact your assigned department with questions, or reach out to,