Johns Hopkins Medicine Observership Program Information


If you are considering a career in healthcare, becoming an observer of medical care at Johns Hopkins Medicine may be of interest. An observership is an educational experience that allows you to shadow a member of the medical staff or workforce (sponsor) and learn more about the field. This experience may give you a better understanding of what a clinician's typical day is like. Observerships are for educational purposes only.

Please review the information below carefully. If you do not comply with these expectations of behavior, it will result in the termination of your observership and privileges from the Department of Volunteer Services.

Who can apply to be an observer:

  • An individual who desires an in-person educational experience that is best acquired by closely observing or "shadowing" a healthcare worker.
  • Observers must be 15 years of age or older.
    • Observers under the age of 18 must provide a signed parental consent form.
    • May include high school and college students and those who are not currently enrolled in school but are interested in the healthcare industry.

Program Guidelines

An observership at Johns Hopkins Medicine:

Shall not exceed 100 hours over the course of 12 months.

Does not constitute medical training or award academic credit.

If it involves clinical care, patients have the right to refuse having an Observer present during examinations and discussions. If a patient refuses to permit an Observer to be present during examinations and discussions, the request must be honored.

May be available at any of our participating sites:

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center

Sibley Memorial Hospital

Suburban Hospital

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians

Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Centers

Prior to Beginning an Observership

1. The Observer must identify and obtain agreement from a Sponsor prior to applying for an Observership.

2. Once identified, the Sponsor directs the Observer to initiate a Johns Hopkins Observer Application. Observer requirements include:

  • Creating a user account in the online registration system.
  • Indicating the Sponsor's name and email on the application.
  • Confirming dates and locations of the Observership.
  • Completing and submitting for approval the required documentation in the Johns Hopkins Observer Application. This includes:
    • Parental consent, if under 18
    • Required vaccination records
    • Confidentiality Pledge for Visitors
    • Bloodborne pathogen acknowledgement

3. The identified Sponsor will receive a Sponsor Agreement via email from the online registration system.

4. Once the Sponsor signs the Sponsor Agreement, it is forwarded to the Participating Organization's Volunteer Services.

5. The Participating Organization's Volunteer Services assures completion of all required Observer documentation.

Once an Observership Begins

1. On the Observer's first day, the Participating Organization shall provide the Observer with a temporary badge after assuring completion of all Observership documentation requirements.

  • Observers are not issued an employee ID badge, JHED ID, or keys.
  • Observers with known exposure to a contagious agent, have active colds or infections, or who do not feel well, are not permitted in the healthcare facility.

2. The Participating Organization's Volunteer Services shall inform the Observer about policy expectations including:

  • Process for logging dates and hours spent observing into the electronic volunteer management system.
  • Requirement to be under the direct supervision of a Sponsor/Designee at all times while in a work area.
  • Proper attire while in the healthcare facility.
    • The Observer shall not wear a lab coat or scrubs unless required for the observation area and shall return to normal dress as soon as possible.

3. The Sponsor/Designee assures that the Student Observer DOES NOT have physical contact with patients and does not have access to electronic medical records (EMR) systems.

How to Find a Sponsor

The Volunteer Services Office does not match individuals with observership opportunities. Prospective observers must independently research health care providers at Johns Hopkins hospitals or health care centers and secure observership dates with a sponsor. To find a physician or dentist, go to

While many Hopkins providers enjoy teaching interested individuals about medicine, there is no guarantee or obligation for physicians to take on observers. Please be polite and give physicians plenty of time to set up the observership, as well as the right to refuse.


Ready to Apply? Apply Here