Skip to content

Sponsored Observers

Erlanger has requested that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine Chattanooga process requests to observe physicians who hold Faculty appointments and who are members of the Erlanger Medical Staff. These are called Sponsored Clinical Observing Experiences. The UTHSC College of Medicine Chattanooga cannot process requests to observe physicians who do not hold UT Faculty appointments. This program through the University is for students who are over 18 years of age (usually high school seniors or college students). Our Sponsored Clinical Observing Experiences are not permitted for individuals who are already physicians or for medical students who have completed the first or second years of medical school.

Sponsored Clinical Observing Experiences are for a brief, limited time -- no more than two days. Approval and availability of any observing experiences 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.  

This program is for a student who already has the sponsorship of a Faculty Physician who agrees to allow the student to observe the Faculty Physician within Erlanger Health System. The UT College of Medicine Chattanooga and its Graduate and Medical Student Education Department are not responsible for finding a Faculty Physician to supervise an observing student. It is the responsibility of the individual observer to find a physician who holds a University of Tennessee faculty appointment who is willing to permit the observing experience within Erlanger. At the discretion of the supervising physician, this could include time in the physician's private office.  

"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.  Also, Children's Hospital at Erlanger requires that only students 18 or over can go into areas at Children's.

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

Click on the link to view the Clinical Observing Requests for Physicians and Students 2019.

Click on the link to view, print, and complete the Application for Clinical Sponsored Observing. Instructions and all required documentation, including a letter of recommendation of good standing, immunization records, proof of a negative TB skin test within the past 12 months, etc., are included in the application.  All this required information as well as the completed application must be emailed back to

Click to view, print, and complete the acknowledgement statement that must be signed by the Observing Student and the Faculty Physician. Clinical Sponsored Observer Acknowledgement. The statement documents that the Observing Statement and the Faculty Physician have read and agree that the clinical observing experience is for observation only and cannot include hands-on involvement in physical examination, clinical procedures, or access to the electronic health records of patients. 

Given approval of the observing experience: 

  • The student will receive an online HIPAA compliance presentation that must be reviewed before the start of the observation.  
  • On or before the first day of observing, the student will report to the Human Resources Department of the Erlanger Support Services Building on Riverside Drive to have a photo taken for an Erlanger ID to be worn at all times the student is within Erlanger or the physician's officce.  The ID will include the individual's name, identify him or her as an Oberving Student, and will indicate the start and end date of the eperience.  At the end of the experience, the student will return the badge to the Faculty Physician or the Graduate & Medical Student Education Department 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.

Erlanger does have clinical affiliation agreements with other universities for advanced nursing and physician assistant programs. Advanced Nurse Practitioner Students and Physician Assistant Students whose schools have clinical affiliations with Erlanger can apply for clinical rotations at Erlanger by visiting the Erlanger job shadowing webpage (please see link below).

More information about Erlanger's job shadowing program can be found on the left-hand menu or by clicking on the following link:  

Last Published: Apr 16, 2021