Observership Guidelines for Clinical Experiences

Authorizing Body:

The OUWB Office of Medical Education


Lynda Misra, D.O., FACP, M.Ed.

Last Reviewer(s):

Gabriel Dumbrille, M.Ed.
Cynthia Ledford, M.D.

Date Issued:

January 30, 2017

Last Update:

 October 21, 2019


To provide a process for students to schedule and observe clinicians in a safe, efficient, and ethical manner.

Scope and Applicability:

All students enrolled in the School of Medicine

Standard Practice Guideline:

  1. OUWB students are permitted to schedule and observe clinicians at Beaumont Health through observerships.
  2. Observerships must be scheduled in advance and are approved based on several factors, including but not limited to safety considerations and space/capacity limitations.
  3. The safety and privacy of patients is a priority in considering authorization of observerships.
  4. Observerships must not adversely impact OUWB medical student curricular activities.
  5. Observership activities are limited to "hands in pocket".  Observership students are not to participate in direct patient care activities or procedures.


1. Observership Requirements

  • Observership experiences with OUWB faculty must only be scheduled on weekends, holidays, during breaks between semesters, or during Career Exploration Days. Students must not schedule observerships during scheduled class time.
  • Students must submit a completed OUWB Physician Observership Request no less than 2 weeks prior to their desired observation date.
  • In order to satisfy safety regulations, if an Embark mentorship requires a student to be in patient care settings, the student must submit an OUWB Physician Observership Request.

OUWB Students participating in observerships are subject to the following requirements:

-  "Hands in Pocket" the entire time: This means no direct patient contact or procedural participation.

-  Students must be on time for the observership and report to the correct location.

-  Students must stay with the physician they were approved to observe; The student is not to be on their own or leave to observe another physician.  Students can observe other physicians as long as the hosting physician is also present.

-  If a  patient emergency occurs during the observership, students must remain safely out of the way of responding clinicians.

-  If a student needs to leave early, or excuse themselves from an observership, students must communicate this directly to the physician they are observing.

-  If a physician gets called away, the observership is considered over at that time.

-  The student must be in good academic standing. 

2. Scheduling an Observership

  • Students interested in setting up an Observership or Embark mentoring experience must fill out the OUWB Physician Observership Request. The Request can be found online on the CareerDOC website.
  • When the request is completed, it is submitted electronically to the Office of Student Affairs.
  • The request requires immunization status and confirmation that the applicant is in academic good standing from OUWB School of Medicine.
  • Approval to shadow or observe a physician can only be granted by the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Clinical Education.
  • Exact dates of the observership will be coordinated through the Director of Student Affairs & Career Development.



  • Defined as a prearranged student interaction with a Beaumont physician in a clinical inpatient or ambulatory setting where the student is present to observe rather than participate in the delivery of healthcare. 
  • Observerships occur outside of the required coursework in the medical school curriculum.
  • Observerships include shadowing PRISM or Embark mentors.
  • Observerships provide an opportunity for students to observe what the practice of medicine entails and how the jobs of physicians in different fields of practice compare.

OUWB Faculty are attendings with faculty appointments.  No residents, or fellows can host OUWB student observers without the supervision of an OUWB faculty member.

Related Policies and Forms: