Observership Program: Frequently Asked Questions

How early should I apply for the observership program?

Please apply at least 2-3 months before your anticipated begin date. This provides ample time for you to obtain a visa, for GPE to coordinate your observership with the division, and to clear you for the observership.

Will I have patient contact as an observer?

The observership is strictly a shadowing experience with no hands-on patient contact.

If I am a foreign medical student studying in the United States, can I still apply?

Foreign medical students studying in the U.S. should seek clinical opportunities with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

If I am an international student studying outside the United States, can I still apply?

International students studying outside the United States can still apply for an observership; however, the duration is typically limited to 4 weeks.

Can I request recommendation letters after I complete the observership?

Given the limited nature of an observership, participants are unable to perform clinical care. CHOP faculty cannot provide letters of recommendation or complete evaluation forms for participants. However, observers will receive a certificate of attendance for the dates of the observership.

Am I able to observe with more than one division?

You are welcome to apply to more than one division. You must submit goals and objectives for each division to which you’d like to apply. Due to the limited nature of our observership program and the large number of learners here at CHOP, time spent in multiple divisions is not guaranteed.

What should I wear for my observership?

Observers and Visitors are expected to be in business casual attire on arrival to CHOP. Examples of appropriate business casual attire may include skirts of significant length, jackets, dresses, sweaters, shirts, dress pants, or khakis. Clothing should be clean and pressed. Jewelry may be worn in moderation.

Some items of clothing are not permitted in the hospital, including jeans and clothing or accessories that present safety concerns, including open-toed shoes or sandals. Excessive jewelry is not permitted in patient care areas.

At the discretion of CHOP staff, an Observer or Visitor may be asked to remove an item that poses a safety hazard to his/her work environment (e.g., acrylic nail tips).
Reasonable accommodations will be made based on religious and/or cultural observances or practices such as, but not limited to, style of dress, head coverings, facial hair grooming requirements.

Department-specific professional dress and appearance policies may apply throughout the experience, and the Departmental Contact will provide you with more information regarding the department’s protocol.

Does CHOP assist with obtaining a visa?

CHOP does not provide a visa for short-term observers, but we will provide you with an acceptance letter in support of your visa application.

What type of visa should I apply for?

Most observers apply for a B1/B2 visa. Please ask the Global Pediatric Education coordinators if you already have a different visa.

What can I expect to see during my observership?

The types of procedures and cases that you may see during your observership vary widely depending on the division of interest. Once accepted and cleared to begin the observership, the division will provide you with more information.

Can I apply for an observership if I do not plan on being a physician?

Yes, we do offer observerships for other healthcare professionals, including nursing students and licensed nurses, Child Life trainees, and other health professions. There may also be other opportunities to observe with other non-clinical areas depending on the department’s availability.

Can I take pictures and videos?

Due to patient privacy CHOP does not allow visitors and observers to take pictures and videos.

Will I be assigned a one-on-one mentor during my observership?

Our observership program does not guarantee the provision of a mentor to each observer. Your clinical division will create and provide you a schedule for your observership which includes an array of activities and education experiences. These schedules are subject to change and depend on a variety of factors including staffing, patient acuity, etc.

Will I be provided on-site housing during my observership?

No, CHOP does not have onsite accommodations. Please refer to our Welcome Packet for more information on housing.