UNC Hospitals Volunteer Services does not arrange placement for shadow visitors. Interested parties must contact hospital departments directly to set up shadow experiences. After a department agrees to work with a shadow visitor, the preceptor and visitor must follow the directions below.


Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older to shadow.

Do not email your immunization records to volunteer services. Please bring with you at the time you pick up your badge. Also, please make sure you make a copy of your records before turning them into our office. We will not provide you with a copy at a later date. All records must be in English.

Requirements and Forms

Current UNC-CH students need to complete HIPAA Training. Effective July 1, 2017 shadow visitors will need 2 Step TB testing or a negative IGRA blood test. Please refer to OHS requirements below for specific immunization requirements. During flu season shadow visitors must have a flu shot. UNC-CH students must have their student ID to show Volunteer Services when you pick up your shadow badge.

Current hospital volunteers (volunteered within the past year) and Hospital Employees do not need to complete any of the following steps, but must bring their Hospital ID to show Volunteer Services. You do need to pick up a shadow badge and cannot wear your Volunteer or Employee badge when you shadow.

If you are interested in shadowing, you must complete all the following steps:

  • All shadow visitors, please read the Shadow Visitor Policies
  • Complete the HIPAA Training. If you have any issues, please try using Internet Explorer. You will receive a confirmation email. Print this email.
  • Print a Shadow Visitor Immunization Verification form and have it completed by your health care provider or bring your immunization records as proof using this checklist.
    • You may pick up your badge and turn in your Immunization Verification Form completed by your physician, or hard copy records using the immunization checklist as a guide, to Volunteer Services 24 hours or more after we have received the email request from your preceptor.
  • Please contact the person you are shadowing at least one day prior to your scheduled shadowing time to confirm that your request has been emailed to our office. You will have to reschedule your shadow visit if we do not have the completed request from the preceptor.
  • The Volunteer Services Department is open for badge pick-up Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. We are not available on weekends to process or pick-up badge requests. We are located in Memorial Hospital on the Ground Floor.
  • NOTE: Shadowing is not permitted in operating rooms.

To the Preceptor

Please read the Shadow Visitor Policies. (please note that there are multiple HIPAA modules. Please make sure the visitor is directed to the Shadow Module and not the Med School HIPAA test)

Send an email to Volunteer Services with the following information:

  • Name of Shadow Visitor
  • Preceptor's Name, Department, and Contact Phone Number
  • Date(s) of the visit - beginning and ending (not to exceed 6 weeks)

Emails must be received at least 24 hours in advance.

Shadowing for Rehabilitation Therapies

As a shadow visitor, you will have the opportunity to observe UNC Rehabilitation Therapy practitioners. Due to the high demand for shadow hours, we are limiting all experiences to three (3 hour each) blocks per shadow visitor per calendar year. Shadow opportunities are for undergraduate students only.

View the calendar below to request the discipline/area of practice you would like to observe. Please do not select dates more than 3 months out. Please be aware that the team you select to shadow with may need to cancel and reschedule your appointment depending on the needs of the team and clients on caseloads.

Each team will try to give, but cannot guarantee, you at least 24 hours advanced notice if your session needs to be rescheduled. If we have to reschedule your shadow experience, we will not count that missed session against you. However, if you do not call or no show we will count the missed session as used.

Rules for Shadowing

No cellphone use during patient observations.

Everyone is required to review and follow the hospital’s dress code policy.

We ask that you send an email to Volunteer Services.

In this email, please include the following:

  • Contact information
    • Name
    • Telephone number
    • Email address
    • A brief statement of intent
  • The dates and times that you would like to shadow (3 only)

You will receive a confirmation email after your shadow experience has been approved. Once you receive this email, you can bring your paperwork (HIPAA training certificate and proof of immunizations) to the Volunteer Services office and pick up your shadowing badge. If you need to cancel, please give us 24 hours notice. To cancel or for information, please reach out to Kristel Maes, Therapy Services Educator, via email. For our department, you do not need to reach out to the preceptor prior to shadowing.

Each team will try to give, but cannot guarantee, you at least 24 hours advanced notice if your session needs to be rescheduled. If we have to reschedule your shadow experience, we will not count that missed session against you. However, if you do not call or are a no show, we will count the missed session as used.

Visit Rehabilitation Therapies Clinical Education to learn more about related opportunities. For Shadow locations and instructions upon your arrival review this attached list. After the completion of your shadow session, you will need to complete this Shadow Confirmation Survey for verification (1 survey per shadow session). Click to find directions to the Rehab Therapy Services office.

Updates from UNC Medical Center’s Occupational Health Services (OHS):

TB Screening for Participants in the Shadowing Program

Effective July 1, 2017, UNC Hospitals will require tuberculosis screening in the form of a current (within the last 12 months) two-step tuberculin skin test (TST) or blood test (IGRA) for all new participants in any shadowing program or role.  If shadow visitor has prior history of two-step TB testing, one TB skin test must be within 12 months of shadow date. 

This brings our procedure for new shadowing participants in line with the current CDC recommendations for baseline tuberculosis screening in health care environments and with procedures already in place at UNC Hospitals for new employees and volunteers. Due to the variations in duration of stay for these participants, a current two-step TST or current IGRA must be completed prior to beginning any program at UNC Hospitals.

Notification Regarding Proof of Chickenpox

On Aug. 1, 2017, verbal history will no longer be accepted as proof of past chickenpox disease per ACIP/CDC recommendations. Proof of chickenpox will be accepted only if one of the following criteria are met:

  • Documentation of two (2) doses of varicella vaccine (at least one month apart)
  • Documentation of Herpes Zoster (shingles) vaccine
  • Documentation of Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP) diagnosed disease – chickenpox or shingles
  • Documentation of Positive Serology (VZAB blood test)

2017 Tdap Guidelines From the CDC

In February 2017, the Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults Aged 19 years or Older, United States 2017 became effective, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and approved by the CDC.

All adults should receive a Tdap vaccination. UNC Health Care shadowing requirements include Tdap vaccination and therefore, all shadow visitors who have not had an adult dose Tdap (i.e., at age 11 years or older) will be required to demonstrate receipt of updated Tdap.

Serve Others 

Serve others in a meaningful way and learn about the many career opportunities offered in a health care setting through UNC Medical Center's Volunteer Services.

Volunteer Stories

  • Sock Monkeys

    After decades crafting sock monkeys for pediatric patients at UNC Hospitals, Nidia Scharlock was honored in November with a ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill and the dedication of a cow named Mookie.

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  • A Second Chance

    By rescuing Whiskey and giving her a second chance, Silvia Kreda, PhD, lung researcher at the School of Medicine, and Preston Parker are helping patients and families during illness and recovery.

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  • Elaine Hill Awards 2016

    Volunteer Services honored Ann Kennedy with the 2016 Elaine M. Hill Distinguished Volunteer Service Award. Kennedy has volunteered with UNC Mammography since 1991 -- and with UNC Hospitals since the mid-1970s.

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