8 Physician Shadowing Programs in San Diego!

Shadowing is critical in helping you decide on a career in healthcare. But finding programs near to you can sometimes prove difficult.

If you’re based in San Diego, these physician shadowing programs could be a great fit for you.

Before we dive into the list of physician shadowing programs in San Diego, why don’t you check out our other physician shadowing guides? We cover all major U.S. cities!

List Of Physician Shadowing Programs In San Diego

UC San Diego Health Observership and Shadowing

UCSD welcomes individuals interested in observerships and shadowing in various departments across their School of Medicine.

U.S. residents must have a formal shadowing request sent on their behalf to the Office of Compliance and Privacy first. This must come from a representative of your desired department/program.

International residents are advised to reach out to Health Sciences International with enquiries: hsinternational@ucsd.edu

Research programs running through the institution include:

  • Sports Medicine Summer Academy Online: a chance for incoming 11th and 12th grade students to learn more about musculoskeletal medicine via participating in lectures and virtual shadowing.
  • Reproductive and Oncofertility Science Academy: a chance for incoming 11th and 12th grade students to learn more about fertility medicine in young cancer patients via participating in Saturday sessions throughout the summer led by Dr. Ericka Senegar-Mitchell.


Scripps Physician Shadowing

Scripps hospital group has several clinical shadowing placements across all of its hospital campuses, outpatient centers, and physician offices across the San Diego area.

Programs include:

  • High School Exploration Internship Program: five-week internship bringing students from around the country to explore more about medical sciences.
  • University City High School Collaboration: 12-week internship offering UC High School students work-site exposure, shadowing various health care professionals across three different departments.
  • Young Leaders in Health Care Program: open to high school students in northern San Diego country to shadow side-by-side with Scripps ER physicians.
  • Student Placements: onsite training for students interested in Nursing, Allied Health, Pharmacy, Physical/Occupational Therapy and more.
  • Scripps Mercy Trauma Surgery Internship: unique program available for USD pre-medical students to participate in clinical rotations with trauma surgeons and staff. Contact Cassandra Gomez (cagomez@sandiego.edu) for more details, or see the information sheet here.

Scripps hosts more than 2,000 students per year across their various shadowing programs.


Palomar Health Pathmaker Internship

Palomar Health’s Pathmaker program is offered to high school and college-level students and places them alongside different health care professionals under their guidance and support.

The program runs across three hospital campuses (Palomar Medical Center Escondido, Palomar Medical Center Poway, and other outpatient facilities), and is structured by levels.

Level 1 is designed for current high school students aged 16-18 and is expected to be a 96 hour (6 months) commitment. Level 2 is for college/adults aged 18 or over and is a 240 hour (15-month) commitment. Level 3 is a Medical Interpreting Program offered to fluent Spanish-language speakers.

Interns are recruited every 3 months with interviews held throughout the year.


Other Opportunities For Clinical Shadowing In San Diego

As well as applying to the organized shadowing programs listed above, it can be worth researching and enquiring about possible hospital volunteering programs in San Diego and the surrounding area.

Signing up to volunteer can help you build a network among physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other healthcare workers that could lead to important shadowing opportunities.

Check out our list of opportunities for hospital volunteering in San Diego here.

PA Shadowing San Diego

  • Katie Applegate, PA-C: Orthopedic Physician Assistant working in San Diego and alumni of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (2015)

What About Private Shadowing?

It’s possible to set up private shadowing programs with physicians (and other healthcare workers) in San Diego.

Here are some important tips on how to secure further shadowing opportunities in the city and surrounding areas:

  • Contact your own personal care provider (PCP) and enquire about shadowing
  • Look up major hospitals in the area and check to see if doctors practicing there are alumni of your college (email them and explain the situation)
  • Try cold calling/emailing physicians listed on the facult list for different UCSD departments
  • Check out volunteer opportunities in the city, get orientated and introduce yourselves to members of the medical team personally
  • Consider applying for hospital scribing jobs in the city

I Want To Shadow A Certain Specialty Doctor, What Can I Do?

If you’re looking to learn more about the various areas of medicine (and the differing roles) then shadowing can help.

Finding opportunities is generally the same across all areas of medicine and health. You’ll want to contact departments (and physicians) directly and see if they can put you in contact with specialist healthcare workers in areas you may be interested in.

Final Thoughts

A physician or clinical-based shadowing program is important for any student interested in allied health careers. Not just future doctors but nurses, physician assistants, and anyone in between!

Hopefully, the programs above can help give you an introduction as to what life in healthcare is all about.

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