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Eligibility & Expectations


Current Northwestern sophomores, juniors and seniors should meet the following requirements to be considered for participation in the program:
  • Be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree-seeking program at Northwestern.
  • Not have already applied to medical school.
  • Able to attend every scheduled session, including the mandatory orientation. 
  • Review the Clinical Observer Confidentiality Form (NOTE: Students do not need to meet the immunization requirements for the program at the time of application. Selected applicants must meet these requirements by the start of their shadowing experience).
  • Review the Privacy and Confidentiality Policy
  • Engage with weekly content aimed at enhancing the NU-CAP experience during the duration of the program. 
  • Complete any required surveys to ensure the continuance and development of the program.

There are typically no direct costs for participants in the program thanks to the generosity of the Northwestern Medical Group and Northwestern University. White coats are supplied as are notebooks for journaling and most immunization costs should be covered through the participant’s health insurance. Health Professions Advising will also work with Health Information Management Systems and Financial Aid to support students with limited financial resources who incur unexpected costs, or additional immunization costs to meet the program requirements. If you have any questions or concerns about costs, please reach out to our office directly.

NU-CAP Expectations


Participants are being granted access into some of the most intimate and vulnerable moments in patients' lives. It will be the participants' responsibility to understand and abide by the institutions Privacy & Confidentiality Policy, which you will be required to sign, as Northwestern is fully compliant with patient confidentiality (governed by Federal HIPAA requirements). 

Participants will not discuss any specific patients with anyone outside of the clinical site, or on social media, etc. A participant's inability to maintain privacy and confidentiality of all protected health information will lead to their dismissal from the clinical shadowing program. Further details will be shared during the program orientation.


Participants should be prepared to meet high expectations from patients, physicians and other staff who will look to you to be professional and respectful at all times. Students’ appearance and interactions with patients will directly impact patients’ and colleagues’ impression of them, the Northwestern Medical Group, and Northwestern University. Wearing a short, white ‘Student Observer’ coat and Northwestern ID badge, many patients will consider participants to be part of the healthcare team. Program participants are expected to be friendly and respectful with all stakeholders. Students should mute or turn off their cell phones while on site, and refrain from checking their phone, texting, or making personal calls.


Participants are expected to attend all six NU-CAP sessions with their assigned preceptor.  However, as safety is a primary concern, attendance is not mandated as we understand that illness and other personal issues may be a factor in missing a session.  In cases where a student cannot attend the session for whatever reason, there is an expectation that students contact HPA as soon as possible to share that information.

Dress and Appearance

Business casual attire and a clean, well-groomed appearance will serve participants well in their shadowing role. While there is no need to wear formal clothes, such as a suit, Northwestern Career Advancement offers some guidelines on dressing and appearance for interviews, which may also be useful for each NU-CAP session.

In general, denim and athletic wear are not appropriate for this experience. As participants will observe patients from many different backgrounds and cultures, dressing to show less exposed skin will serve all constituents well. In addition, students should avoid wearing heavy colognes or perfumes, open-toed shoes, and ripped, unclean, or distressed clothing and shoes.  Head scarves, if worn, should be a plain color. Short white coats will be provided to participants for use onsite.

Program Data Collection

As participants in the program, students are expected to complete a confidential pre-and-post survey. These data help different program stakeholders assess and evaluate the program with the goal of improving the student experience