Work shadowing as an introduction to working life for first-year students
Students are prepared for their upcoming training period with a three-day work shadowing period that takes place in the first semester of their fresher year. In work shadowing, small groups of students visit the work environment of a hospital or nursing home one day a week and participate in patient care with a mentor nurse.
The goal is to introduce the students to multiprofessional team work and their future work environment. The orientation days encourage students to recognize their learning needs from the viewpoint of working life.
At times, the employer has also assigned the nursing students to pay particular attention to certain work phases or tasks during the workday. This then becomes the topic of the training reports written by the students. Topics might handle things such as the nurses’ methods for approaching patients or a nursing team’s cooperation. In their reports, the students base their reflections about their professional development and the profession itself on the work community.
The Aalto University School of Science and Technology has developed a model of work shadowing that involves cooperation between present students and graduated students. Work shadowing allows the students to observe the alumni at work for one day. The goal is to widen the students’ conception of working life and the opportunities available in a given line of business.
Work shadowing as a tool in cooperation between schools and working life
Skills needed in working life evolve and change constantly. Keeping up requires intense cooperation between learning institutions and working life.
The North Karelia Chamber of Commerce offered the teaching staffs of the North Karelia Municipal Education and Training Consortium and the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences an opportunity to participate in a three-week working life period. The results were encouraging and useful to all concerned: the learning institutions, the employers, the teachers and the students.
As an alternative to the three-week working life period, the teachers could take part in a programmed and active work shadowing day. Attempts at compromises between the one-day model and the three-week model were not successful. The role of the observant visiting the workplace has to be clear: either a visitor (one day) or a trainee (three weeks).
The working life periods of the project (Vahvaa osaamista Pohjois-Karjalaan työyhteisöistä) were participated by 145 teachers. For more information in Finnish, please refer to the publication “Opettajat toisissa töissä – Yritykset opetuksessa”, which is a guide to the implementation of the teachers’ working life periods and to increased cooperation between enterprises and learning institutions.
Aalto University, Career Services, Innovation Centre, School of Science and Technology: “Work Shadowing”
Layne Heidi, designer/instructor, VALOA project, Career Services, University of Helsinki
University of London: “Work shadowing at Birkbeck”
Laurea Degree Programme of Nursing, interview with Lecturer Ulla Parviainen: “Ulkomaalainen opiskelija työyhteisön voimavarana”
North Karelia Chamber of Commerce: “Opettajat toisissa töissä – Yritykset opetuksessa: Opas opettajien työelämäjaksojen toteuttamiseen sekä yritysten ja koulumaailman yhteistyön tiivistämiseen”
Turja Heli, designer/instructor, VALOA project, Career Services, University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki, Career Counsellor Eric Carver: Work Shadowing exercise (1 ECTS) Curriculum for Career fall 2010
University of Toronto: “Extern Job Shadowing Program”