Do you have a general interest in health care as a career but aren’t quite sure where to get started exploring? Try out a few positions before you narrow your focus. Shadowing is a great way to do this, and it’s highly recommended by career counselors. Spending a day or two on the job with a health care provider offers insight into your options before you’ve committed time and energy to pursuing them.
Shadowing can offer a glimpse into regular duties, hours, work environment and the tasks that those in your careers of interest perform every day. It has long-term benefits as well, like potentially resulting in a mentor relationship. Lucky for you, there are health care providers all over your campus, making shadowing quite easy at this time in your studies.
See how nutritionists help students establish healthy habits
Nutritionists educate about the effect of nutritional choices, encouraging patients to make the best decisions for their bodies. The nutritionist on your campus likely works closely with dining services and focuses on planning meals, marketing healthy options and coordinating programs to help people get more out of their meal plan. Your on-campus nutritionist may also provide services specifically for students. This can include developing meal plans, counseling healthy lifestyle choices and finding alternative options for meals in the dining facilities.
If you’re interested in a career that promotes health from the inside out, reach out to the nutrition center to see about shadowing opportunities.
Explore how sports medicine keeps college athletes in the game
Chances are you’ve attended a sporting event and seen an athletic trainer in action. Not only are they on the sidelines at the big game, but these health care professionals do a lot of extra work behind the scenes as well. From injury prevention to injury rehabilitation, athletic trainers are a very important part of any campus athletics program.
College athletic trainers have several responsibilities. They work to prevent injuries and also provide on-the-field first aid to injured athletes. If you want to be part of the team and help people at the same time, talk to the athletic department about shadowing an athletic trainer.
Experience the difference psychiatrists make in students’ lives
Campus psychiatrists help students overcome trauma. Psychiatrists, not to be confused with psychologists, diagnose and treat mental illness. Treatment is designed entirely around the individual and the field is constantly evolving. On top of treatment, psychiatrists can also help educate and inform the college community about depression, suicide and other mental health issues.
More and more college campuses are realizing the importance of promoting the availability of mental health services to students who need them. Contact your mental health services department to talk about shadowing a psychiatrist, but keep in mind there may be some things you cannot observe due to HIPPA regulations.
Learn about research that happens outside the campus library
As new diseases are discovered and new treatments are needed, health care providers rely heavily on research. A college campus is a great place to shadow a researcher in the health care field.
There are several ways to get involved with research in the health care field, including becoming a nurse researcher. Researchers spend a lot of time designing and conducting studies, analyzing data and writing reports.
If your college has a medical school or hospital, consider talking to some nurse researchers about job shadowing opportunities. If you don’t have access to a medical school or hospital, talking to faculty may be your best bet as most have taken semesters to focus on research in their field and might be willing to discuss their experiences with you if you ask.
The career exploration possibilities are endless
Don’t be put off if your campus doesn’t offer job shadowing as an option, or if they can’t accommodate your request at this time. There are many other ways to see the jobs you’re interested in action. Consider volunteering or even an internship program. You can also reach out to local providers off campus for job shadowing opportunities as you take the next step to making caring your career.