Job Shadowing/Volunteering

In keeping with the missions of the Universities we serve, the SHC PT Department offers job shadowing/observational opportunities during the fall and spring semesters (not during summers or J-term) for students with an interest in Physical Therapy.  Due to the nature of our clinical practice, volunteers should expect to spend their time assisting and observing Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs)--not Physical Therapists.  Volunteer performance evaluations are completed by the PTAs.  Students who want or need direct experience with a PT (e.g. for PT school applications) should make job shadowing/observational arrangements elsewhere.  It is also important to note that we cannot predict nor control how many patients or what types of patients students will observe.  To minimize disruptions in patient care, only ONE STUDENT may volunteer during a designated time period (e.g. 8-10 am Mondays).  This policy is non-negotiable.


Students who need an evaluation of their observation experience must volunteer/shadow a minimum of 20 hours and a maximum of 40 hours (This does not apply to students doing a Field Experience through the ESS program). 

Students who do NOT need an evaluation of their observation experience may volunteer/shadow up to 30 hours maximum (no minimum required)

Due to scheduling constraints we can accommodate a limited number of students each semester for an ESS "field experience" (ESS 320).  ESS 320 students who have been accepted should bring their TYPED Field Experience Contract with the "Work Schedule" left blank (this section can be completed once you fill-out hours on our schedule).  Refer to this fitness internship form for information on our address, phone, etc.  (For the Specific Duties..., on the Field Experience Contract, type "See attached".)  PRINT & ATTACH (i.e. staple) THE FITNESS INTERNSHIP FORM TO YOUR Field Experience Contract & bring these together.

ALL students observing/job shadowing are required to read, print, sign and bring this confidentiality formYou will not be allowed to start until you turn-in this form. 

ALL students observing/job shadowing are required to prepare and bring a time log sheet to each observational session, to keep track of their hours. This sheet MUST be initialed (or signed) by an SHC PTA at the end of each observational session for verification of attendance.

ALL students are required to schedule observational sessions at the PT Dept. front desk once they have been oriented.   Again: ONLY one student may observe at any time—no double-booking is allowed.

ALL students must sign a patient confidentiality form before observing patients.  

At the end of your volunteer experience, you must complete the top portion of this form, paste a head-shot photo, and return to SHC PT (hard copy or via email).  WE WILL USE THIS FORM FOR FUTURE RECOMMENDATION REQUESTS.  IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE THIS FORM , WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE A RECOMMENDATION.

Dress Code

ALL students are required to dress & act professionally, & wear name tags (we will provide name tags if needed). No jeans, shorts, or sandals (or other open-toed shoes).  Collared shirts & belts are required.  Shoes must be clean.


ALL students are expected to assist staff with non-technical PT procedures (e.g. assembling/disassembling hot or cold packs), & simple, routine cleaning (e.g. cleaning treatment tables).  Students are encouraged to interact with patients but should do so without interfering with staff or the therapy process.

Students are expected to be punctual and consistent in their attendance. If you are unable to report at your scheduled time, call the PT department immediately.  Students who fail to show for 2 volunteer shifts without notifying the PT department in advance will be removed from the schedule.


To begin the job shadowing/observation process:

  1. Read the Requirements and Expectations above
  2. Once the fall or spring semester has started, send an email to Chris Durall, PT ( requesting to volunteer and indicating that you have reviewed all the information on the website.  Make sure to include how many total hours you want to volunteer.  Note: if your email is sent during the summer or J-term, you may not receive a reply until the subsequent semester has started. 
  3. You will receive a reply from Chris w/ further instructions.  Re-send your email if you do not receive a reply within 7 working days.
  4. If we have reached our quota of volunteers, you will need to make arrangements to volunteer at another site (e.g. Gundersen-Lutheran, Franciscan-Skemp Mayo)