Extracurricular Clinical Experiences (Shadowing)

The UW School of Medicine recognizes that some Foundation students may have an interest in seeking additional clinical experiences outside of their Foundations of Clinical Medicine (FCM) core experiences. These extracurricular clinical experiences allow students the opportunity to explore different areas of practice that are not a part of their Foundations Phase blocks and courses. Students, faculty, and staff should review the policy below. Please contact the SOM Extracurricular Clinical Experiences team for more information or questions.

Policy for Extracurricular Clinical Experiences (Shadowing)

This policy is necessary to ensure ongoing access to valuable clinical education resources for all learners in the region and for credentialing and liability purposes. Students who participate in approved School of Medicine non-credit medical educational programs receive liability coverage*. This policy will guide students, faculty, interest groups, and community preceptors when considering a request and assist the Foundations campus in the approval of an extracurricular clinical experience (ECP).

Any elective clinical experience that occurs during the Foundations or Consolidation & Transition Phase of the curriculum.

ECE examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Clinical opportunities in specialties identified by individual students or through student interest groups;
  • Clinical opportunities with clinical guides, college faculty or Foundations of Clinical Medicine as long as it doesn’t interfere with required coursework.


Policy Statement
Foundation Phase student participation in clinical experiences offered outside the FCM curriculum must be approved and will be monitored and tracked by each Foundations campus.

Requirements, Procedures and Guidelines
An extracurricular clinical experience must meet the following criteria:

  1. Does not adversely impact access to community preceptors for required and elective preceptorships, clerkships and residencies;
    1. The Foundations Dean and Clinical Dean will work together with residency program directors as needed to ensure appropriate experiences for all learners;
  2. Does not interfere with required activities of FCM, Foundation Phase blocks or courses;
  3. Does not adversely impact student participation or performance in FCM, Foundation Phase blocks or courses;
  4. Does not conflict with a Student Progress Committee prohibition on curricular activities.

Prior to any participation in an extracurricular clinical experience, students must follow the process outlined and receive a formal approval via email from their Foundations campus.

*See liability coverage for medical students in the M.D. Program Handbook

This policy does not include experiences which student register for University of Washington credit or experiences which are part of the required Foundation Phase curriculum such as:

  • Required Primary Care Practicum;
  • R/UOP;
  • TRUST experiences;
  • FCM remediation;
  • Service learning;
  • Preceptorship which is set-up as a University course and offered for credit.


Setting up Extracurricular Clinical Experiences (Shadowing)

Students in Seattle are able to set up shadowing experiences by:

  1. Contacting the departmental medical student program office and inquiring about the availability of faculty – at this time, students can determine expectations, goals, and frequency of shadowing;
  2. Students must notify the medical director’s office of any shadowing experiences done at the Harborview Medical Center (HMC)**;
  3. If you are a pre-medical student, please visit this website for more information and advice with shadowing as an undergraduate.

As a reminder, students in Seattle do not need to register for shadowing experiences. Additionally, letters of good standing are not provided by Academic Affairs for shadowing experiences.

Students within the region (i.e., Spokane, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) should contact their sites for more information about shadowing experiences:

ContactSite LocationEmail Address
Nancy HallAlaskanjhall@uaa.alaska.edu
Whitney VincentIdahowvincent@uidaho.edu
Kayla OuertMontanakayla.ouert@montana.edu
Erin Van AntwerpSpokaneetwerp@uw.edu
Natalia Tugwell-BrownWyomingntugwell@uwyo.edu

**Students should include their name, year in school, physician supervisor or sponsor, and date(s) of shadowing when emailing the medical director’s office; remember to cc your physician.