Old-Sponsored Clinical Observers




Clinical Sponsored Observing Experience




This program is for a student that already has the sponsorship (a physician that agrees to allow the student to observe their clinical practice in Erlanger Hospital).  Observerships are not intended for medical students, particularly those who have already begun formal clinical rotations (i.e., students in the last two years of medical school).


*Note:  The Office of Graduate and Medical Student Education is not tasked to find a physician to supervise an observing student.  It is the responsibility of the individual observer to find a physician willing to permit the observing experience.  At the discretion of the supervising physician, this could include time in the physician's private office.  


Remember, "observing" means that the individual cannot actually be involved in giving patient care, conducting a history or physical, or assisting with a procedure.  The individual can only "observe". *Malpractice insurance is not provided by the institution for observing students nor is it available via the hospital or the University of Tennessee.


Observing students have requested these brief experiences and are volunteering to participate, so in no way is there a real or implied employer/employee relationship between the University or Erlanger with the individual observing.  The physician agreeing to supervise the student's observation assumes responsibility for the actions of the observer. 


Due to UT policy, students under the age of 18 are unable to observe UT faculty.


Due to state regulations, no one under the age of 18 can go into hospital operating rooms, critical care units, or emergency departments. 


Physicians are NOT permitted to observe in clinical sponsored observing experiences.


Observing experiences with UT faculty must be approved by the department in which the physician holds a faculty appointment.  UTCOMC and Erlanger Health System provide the needed regulatory education and documentation so that the student (and physician) can remain HIPAA-compliant.


Typically, the University of Tennessee and Erlanger do not offer a formal observing experience for students wanting to observe physicians within the hospital.  At this time, Erlanger is not offering job shadowing experiences for students with nurses or other allied health professions. 


Erlanger has requested that the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga handle requests to observe physicians who hold faculty appointments and/or are members of the Erlanger Medical Staff.  Physicians and our UTCOMC department may consider an application from a high school or college student for a limited time, usually one half-day up to a two-day observing experience, but some physicians may be willing for a student to observe for longer periods.  That is up to the physician and the UT Department (if the individual is a faculty member).  The Department of Medicine permits only one half-day up to one full-day observership.  Approval and availability of any observerships are subject to the individual department.  Physicians and our Departments may deny requests due to other medical student and resident demands as well as individual physician schedules. 


Erlanger also requires observers to complete an online HIPAA course prior to final approval for the observing experience:

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
  • Once an application has been received, a supervising physician must agree to the observing experience
  • Immunization records (Proof of MMR, Chickenpox immunity & a negative TB skin test within 12 months) must be emailed to: MSE@erlanger.org
  • The GME Coordinator will set up the observer for online HIPAA training and send instructions with a link
  • Once the observer has completed HIPAA training (valid for one year) and email the certificate received to: MSE@erlanger.org
  • The GME Coordinator will authorize Erlanger HR to create a photo ID badge with the FUTURE DOCS logo, indicating the inclusive start and end dates for the experience
  • The individual will report to Erlanger HR: 330 HAMPTON STREET, CHATTANOOGA, TN 37403, to have a photo taken on the first day of the observing experience and will need to submit the badge to the Office of Graduate & Medical Student Education (GME) at the end of the observing experience.  The Office of GME is located in the Whitehall Building, 960 East Third Street, Suite 104, directly across from the main Erlanger hospital.  It is on the first floor and just across the hallway from the elevators  (phone # 423.778.7442).
  • The student and physician's office will coordinate when, where and whom they will meet for their first day of observing.

At this time, the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga does not have nurse practitioners or physician assistants on staff and cannot accommodate nurse practitioners or PA students needing clinical



Erlanger does have clinical affiliation agreements with other universities for advanced nursing and physician assistant programs; however, the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga Dean's Office must confirm that those clinical experiences within Erlanger do not interfere with our medical student and graduate physician medical education before.  Advanced Nurse Practitioner Students and Physician Assistant Students whose schools have clinical affiliations with Erlanger can apply for clinical rotations through Erlanger https://www.erlanger.org/job-opportunities/job-shadowing.  Once reviewed the applications and required documentation, then the Erlanger representative will contact you with further information.


The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has a program usually in May or June each year for high school seniors called Youth Leadership Forum.  Click on the link the left for more information.  You may also contact the Medical Society at 423-622-2872 for other possible observing experiences with area physicians.


Revised 01/2019

UT College of Medicine Chattanooga     960 East Third Street, Suite 100     Chattanooga, TN 37403     (800)947-7823, ext 6956     info@utcomchatt.org

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