Pupil's guide to medicine student shadowing

Updated on 7 July 2023

Important guidance and advice for pupils who shadow a University of Dundee medicine student.

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Your student shadowing day

Please take some time to read through this document, as it contains important advice and guidance that you will need to adhere to during your visit. You’ll may be within both University of Dundee and NHS buildings therefore you must be aware of the regulations of both.

What is a student shadowing day?

During a student shadowing day, a Reach pupil will accompany a current medical student during their typical day at University. This will involve pupils attending lectures, tutorials, clinical skills sessions and clinics etc. under the supervision of the medical student. You may also be in clinical areas and meet NHS patients as a representative of your school and the University therefore you must remain professional at all times.

What are the benefits of a student shadowing day to pupils and students?

School pupils gain an invaluable insight into the practicalities of being a medical student and learn about different teaching styles and clinical training. A significant impact of these days comes from introducing the pupil to the medical school environment and chatting to real students about their experiences. This gives the pupils a lot of motivation and confidence in their abilities to pursue a place at medical school. Additionally, student shadowing days provide interesting experiences for the pupils to reflect on within their UCAS personal statements and discuss at interview.

Medical students also benefit from hosting a school pupil. Students enjoy the opportunity to share their experiences and help applicants. Some may also get the chance to do some ‘teaching’ depending on what their day involves. Being a role model and mentor to the pupils is valuable for job and further training applications.

During the sessions you may get the opportunity to participate in activities. Please remember that the medical students you are with may be your future peers and the consultants and academic staff may be your future leaders. Therefore be aware of your attitude towards the tasks and lessons. This is a great opportunity for you to network and get to know medical professionals who could help you with your future careers. The people you will meet have all volunteered to host you for the day so will be very keen to help and advise you.

Dress code

Please dress smartly. As you will be shadowing current students in clinical and non- clinical areas we expect you to adhere to the same NHS guidelines that they follow. School uniform is not required, but you may wish to wear your school uniform without your tie.

Examples of unacceptable garments on include, but are not limited to, denims, leggings, casual sportswear, shorts, combat trousers, caps/hats, overly tight or revealing clothes or items of clothing bearing inappropriate slogans. Think about how you would like to see your own doctor presented. Hair must be clean, tidy and off the collar whilst in clinical areas. Long hair below collar length should be tied up close to the head.

You must not:

  • wear denim trousers or skirts that are too short
  • wear watches or jewellery, unless it is your own wedding ring
  • wear high heels, shoes must be closed toe
  • wear nail varnish or false nails, they should be short and clean

On the morning of your visit

You will need to be one time. Medical students are required to be punctual at all times therefore we expect this of you too. Please ensure you are aware of where and when to meet your medical student and if you are unsure then contact your student before to clarify. Late coming may result in cancellation of your student shadowing day.

If you have any problems on the morning of your visit please contact the student who is hosting you in the first instance – their details are in the log form. If you do not manage to make contact with the student then please call Jan on +44 (0)1382 381899. Your shadowing day could be cancelled if you are late and you do not inform us.

Safety arrangements

Ensure that you are aware of all safety arrangements within all of the buildings that you are visiting. Ask your student to alert you to the fire exits and meeting points. You must stay with your student host at all times. You will be in many clinical and high-risk areas therefore safety is paramount. If you are unsure of anything at any time then ask your student or the consultant/supervisor in charge.


Medical students have certain privileges and responsibilities different from those of other students. Because of this different standards of professional behaviour are expected of them.” – General Medical Council (GMC)

As aspiring medical students we expect you to display professional qualities that encompass your attitudes, behaviours and learning. Becoming a doctor requires you to reflect about, develop and demonstrate that you can behave professionally in relation to duty, adaptability, open-mindedness, self-reflection, self-improvement, life-long learning and the pursuit of scholarship and excellence and this starts now!

During your visit to the University of Dundee we expect you to fully engage in the student experience and behave responsibly and professionally at all times.

Feedback and incident reporting

We always welcome your feedback on the student shadowing days. We want to hear about your experiences with the student. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve on our processes please let us know. Feedback forms will be sent to you via email after your student shadowing day.

Should any incident occur during your student shadowing, or if you any cause for concern then please let Amy know (

Other useful reading

GMC Good medical practice

GMC Professional behaviour and fitness to practice: guidance for medical schools and their students


This opportunity will give you an insight into studying medicine at university. By participating in this shadowing visit, you are showing that you are actively taking an interest in studying your course and that you understand the work necessary to succeed.

How to make the most of your student shadowing day - reflections

If you are applying to University this year, we strongly advise that you discuss your student shadowing experience in your UCAS personal statement. We have included a short reflection form in this guidance. You may find answering the following questions to be useful in reflecting on your experience. You should try to answer the questions as fully as possible. These questions will give you an idea of the level of reflection needed in your personal statement. Remember, admissions tutors are keen to know what research you have done on your chosen courses. It is also important to relate what you have gained from this experience directly to why you should be successful in your application. Use the questions below to make some memorable notes.

What classes did you attend?

What teaching styles did you experience?

Which buildings did you visit and what facilities did you use?

What did you learn about studying at University?

What did you learn about studying medicine at University?

What skills did you use and develop during your day?

Were there any skills which you felt you could improve before beginning your degree?

How are you going to improve these?

What part of your day did you enjoy the most and why?


Amy Stewart

Reach Project Officer

+44 (0)1382 388900