The Nathan Smith Society Shadowing Program

An Overview

Dartmouth College undergraduates considering a career in medicine can get a first-hand look at the profession by participating in the NSS Shadowing program. A "shadowing" experience at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), White River Junction VT VA Medical Center or in another medical care setting can provide an unique view of medicine for the Dartmouth College undergraduate that can be invaluable in career and educational planning. It is designed to give students a first "taste, feel and smell" for medicine by bringing together the student with a health care professional in a patient care setting such as the clinic, operating room, birthing pavilion, emergency room or intensive care unit. Note that it is an observational, not "hands-on", experience and thus differs from volunteer programs. The program will also be open to students from other colleges on a case-by-case basis (for example, those returning home for a term).

Interested students must be:

  • an undergraduate student enrolled at Dartmouth College (the program is NOT open to graduate students, high school students or employees)
  • in good academic standing
  • an active member of the Nathan Smith Society (NSS) (blitz Nathan.Smith.Society@Dartmouth.EDU to join)

At the beginning of each school term, the NSS will schedule a meeting to discuss format and requirements of the program, coupled with interactive discussions on professional conduct, ethics and patient confidentiality. This meeting will be REQUIRED of all participants. A document detailing the code of ethical conduct for all students and medical personnel at the DHMC and a Policy Statement on the Privacy & Confidentiality of Patient Information are REQUIRED READING for all participants in the shadowing program.

From this web site, students can register on-line for the program. This registration form includes basic personal information and electronic signatures agreeing to enrollment, liability and confidentiality provisions of the program. This site also includes a list of shadowing opportunities offered for each term and a preferences ballot that will allow students to express preferences for various shadowing experiences for that term. The NSS Executive Committee and its faculty advisor (Dr. Lee Witters, office: Room 122, Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center) will then select, by lottery, students for experiences that term. Selected students will be notified by Dr. Witters . Dr. Witters' office will supply identification badges for each student (required by state law to be worn when at the DHMC). In addition, all students will have to complete an immunization verification form with Dick's House (details to be announced each term). Students will be responsible for contacting the chosen faculty mentor to set up the experience. Students chosen for opportunities that involve the operating room will be required to go through a further OSHA orientation process (very simple; just read and sign a form and get some other signatures & review two training modules (to be supplied as .pdfs) . Students must re-enroll each term by the same process, so that experiences can be rotated among all interested students.

Shadowing requires a major commitment from the pre-health student and from the program mentors/faculty. All physicians and other health care providers are first responsible for the welfare of their patients ; their primary teaching responsibility is to the interns/residents and to students of the Geisel Medical School. Many events can occur to change these primary commitments and these changes can, in turn, alter a scheduled shadowing experience. Every effort will be made to reschedule the experience, but there is not always a guarantee this can occur. In addition, it is very important that the student make every effort to attend a scheduled experience and/or to notify the involved faculty well in advance if for any reason attendance is not possible. In the event that a student has to cancel a shadow experience, rescheduling will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Proper dress and deportment are also essential.




DHMC Policy Statement on the Privacy & Confidentiality of Patient Information (REQUIRED READING FOR PARTICIPANTS)