Work shadowing quite simply refers to a process where one staff member 'shadows' or follows another in their work role for a period of time. In practice, work shadowing provides an opportunity to increase knowledge, skills and understanding of a particular job role through first hand observation. It also provides a means of gaining insight into how the local health service operates, and how a particular work role fits within the overall organisational structure.
Actively seek out work shadowing opportunities. They allow you to better understand your role, that of others within your team, the health service, and the community. They also allow you to develop your professional networks. Use work shadowing to support your orientation and your ongoing development.
Potential people to shadow may include:
- Allied Health Professionals of the same discipline within your team
- Allied Health Professionals of other disciplines within the health service
- Other health professionals within the health service
- Other health professionals in partner organisations, for example Aboriginal Medical Service.
The time spent shadowing will vary depending upon the person you are shadowing, the direct relevance of their role to yours, and the particular context. A day is a good start. It may be useful to organise several work shadowing opportunities with the same or different people spread over a period of time to maximise your learning opportunities.
Talk to your line manager and identify relevant work shadowing opportunities.
Work Shadowing & You
- Have you been provided with work shadowing opportunities?
- If not, who would be a suitable person/s within your organisation to shadow?
- How can you seek out opportunities to shadow?
- How could work shadowing impact your development and practice?