Job Shadowing

A letter to potential Job Shadow Program participants

Dear Participant,

Thank you for sharing your interest in the Job Shadowing/Observation Program at Prairie Lakes Hospital. The goal of our program is to provide experiential learning opportunities regarding health careers and skills that different occupations require. During the shadowing experience, you will have the opportunity to see, firsthand, the healthcare workplace and the day-to-day work of professionals in the healthcare field. Participants will not be permitted to take part in hands-on patient care.

There are a few key facts about the program that you need to know:

  1. Eligibility – Students must be high school juniors, seniors, or older to participate. The minimum age is 16 years old.
  2. Shadowing time – The program allows you to shadow in one area, unit, or department for up to 8 hours. (Hours/length of observation may vary, depending upon the department.) For students who have not already identified a hospital employee to shadow: Each shadowing schedule is based on a matching process between the student's initial request and the best opportunities available.
  3. Prerequisites for participation in the program – Prior to beginning a shadowing experience, applicants must fill out an application packet, which contains:
  4. A Job Shadowing/Observation Application form, with three areas of interest outlined by student and student's information
  5. A HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) test, to be completed after reading and understanding the associated materials
  6. A signed confidentiality statement

Prairie Lakes Hospital's Job Shadowing/Observation Program does not arrange physician shadowing opportunities, but if a student has arranged to shadow a physician, the same prerequisites apply.

It is extremely important that you understand confidentiality, as you will be observing patient care and procedure, listening to conversations regarding patient care and treatment, and possibly reading printed documents or computer printouts. You will not be able to shadow without having signed the confidentiality statement.

Other job shadow notes:

Do not bring anything that you don't really need. Examples include purses or backpacks (lock in the trunk of your vehicle if you are driving.) Miscellaneous items such as books, magazines, journals, chewing gum, etc.

  • Smoking – This is a smoke-free facility. You will not be allowed to smoke on site.
  • We ask you to refrain from making personal phone calls during your experience at the hospital. If it is necessary to make a phone call, please ask.
  • Be sure to eat well on the day of the shadowing experience.
  • Report to the Human Resources Department unless otherwise instructed the morning of your shadowing.
  • Do not come in if you feel ill, have a fever 100 or more or have a contagious disease. Call the assigned employee to let them know you will not be coming to the hospital.
  • Wash your hands—sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself twice while washing hands. Be sure to wash hands at the beginning of the experience, frequently during the shadowing, and before leaving the hospital.
  • Do not enter a room marked "Isolation." Such rooms will have colored cards beside the door and will say "Contact," "Airborne," "Droplet," or "Protective." Do not transport specimens.
  • Do not touch blood or body fluids or any questionable substance, If you accidentally do, wash the area and report it IMMEDIATELY. Do not remove trash or dirty linen from patient rooms. Do not take any potentially contaminated items outside of the hospital. Remember this is an observational experience only.

We have a downloadable application packet with the required forms and signatures that you will need to turn in before you can be a job shadower or observer.

Download the Application

Once you have completed your packet, please send all of the paperwork to the shadowing program contact, Jannelle Olson. Your information can be faxed to our office at 605-882-7720, dropped off at the Human Resource Office, or mailed to our office at the following address:

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System
c/o Shadowing Program/Human Resources
401 9th Ave NW
Watertown, South Dakota 57201

If you have any questions feel free to contact us by phone at (605)-882-7710 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Once we have your completed paperwork, you can schedule your shadowing hours. We look forward to helping you explore your career options in healthcare and hope your experience will be rewarding.

Jannelle Olson
Human Resources

Dress and Appearance

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System's Job Shadowers/Observers have a responsibility to adhere to the hospital's dress policy. Therefore your attire, grooming, and personal hygiene are critically important. We require that you observe the following specific standards regarding personal appearance and neatness while shadowing/observing in the hospital:

Shirts and Blouses - No lingerie or spaghetti straps, cut-off sleeves, racer-back tops or revealing or plunging necklines are allowed. Short or cropped shirts are not allowed. Cleavage must be covered. No see-through clothing or clothing with indented armholes. Shirts need to be tucked in.

Dress and Skirt Lengths - Lengths of dresses and skirts must be professional and show good taste. Tight dresses and tight skirts are not acceptable.

Sleeves - Clinical personnel must wear shirts and dresses with sleeves. Non-clinical personnel may wear sleeveless shirts or dresses as long as they are in good taste and undergarments are covered.

Pants - No stirrup pants, blue jeans, bike shorts, leggings, sweat pants, jogging pants or skorts are allowed.

Hair - No distracting extremes in hair styling or coloring.

Hosiery - Personnel must wear complementary socks or hosiery.

Shoes - Shoes must be worn at all times and must be clean and in good repair. Athletic shoes must coordinate with uniforms and should be white. Shoes should match or complement your uniform or outfit. Open-toed shoes are not acceptable. Shoe heels cannot be more than three inches high. Flip-flops and stiletto heels are not permitted.

Perfume, Aftershave, and Lotions - No strong, heavy scents or fragrances are allowed. All scents are discouraged.

Tattoos - Candidates should wear clothing that covers tattoos.

In addition, candidates might be required to wear scrubs or special attire for certain areas.

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