The Vanderbilt Observation Experience (VOE) activities are suspended for the remainder of 2021 to minimize potential exposure of participants, staff, and patients to infectious pathogens (especially Coronavirus).  An update will be noted when it is confirmed that the program will resume.  The program has resumed for ONLY the staff at VUMC wishing to shadow for a career path change/advancement. No exceptions for non-VUMC staff will be granted.   

For questions, please email voe@vumc.org.

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) Observational Experience program allows students and working professionals to learn about careers in health care.    This program is strictly observational only, there is no hands-on activity permitted.  No physician observations will be scheduled on the weekends or holidays.

Applicants may request one observational experience per calendar year, not to exceed eight (8) hours.  Additional hours may be requested based on school program requirements, however, accommodations may not be feasible and are made on a case by case basis and only if a preceptor is confirmed in advance.  

Observers are limited in some clinical areas for the safety of patients and the observers.  No high school students are permitted in the Operating Rooms, Emergency Departments, or Pediatric Intensive Care Units.  

Observations are limited to only one, 8-hour shadowing opportunity in the Children's Hospital Operating Rooms per calendar year.  

 The VOE program requires at least a one-step TB  test that has been completed in the past, it doesn't have to be current.  If you've never had a TB test, a one-step test is required.​


Submit an initial online application. Applications must be received at least 30 days prior to your requested observation experience start date, unless an observation is pre-approved by a preceptor.  NOTE: You will need to submit the application with a date 30 days out, however, in the 'goals/objectives' space put the date(s) that you are approved to shadow and this can be changed upon submission.  Observation confirmations may take longer than the 30 days to confirm and in some cases it may not be feasible to fulfill the request for an observation.  You will be notified via email if this is the situation.
After your VOE application is processed and a VUMC vendor background check, which will cost approximately $36.25 and may include additional charges for each jurisdiction you've resided in,  has been completed and cleared, you will receive an email with authorization and instructions for beginning your observation. You will receive this information at least one week prior to your observation start date.
Individuals participating in an observational experience will receive an indentification badge with the student special/observer category designation.  This badge will have an expiration date on it which will be the 'day after' your actual observational experience.  At the conclusion of an observational experience the badge must be turned into the badge office or to your designated Vanderbilt host to be destroyed.
If on the day of your observation you are ill (cold symptoms, fever, etc.), please email and/or call (if you've received a phone number) your preceptor and the VOE@vumc.org to let us know and also reschedule for a later date.  If you come to the observation with cold/flu like symptoms, you will be sent away.


To begin your VUMC Observational Experience request, click on one of the following which best describes you to obtain specific information.

I am a:
- High School Student
- Nursing Student
- Medical Student
- Other Type of Student (college student/graduate student)
- Working Professional or other Non-Student
- Physician