Physician Assistant Clinical Shadowing

Our Physician Assistant hospital shadowing program has been developed to give aspiring P.A. students first-hand experience of the working hospital environment under the mentorship of an experienced Medical Doctor.

It is a residential program, with students living together in our dedicated Gap Medics guesthouses while placed in hospitals in Europe or the Caribbean. Start dates are available throughout the year, and placements are available from one week to three months duration.

As the leading specialist provider of pre-health student shadowing experiences, we’ve helped over 10,000 future physician assistants, doctors and nurses to stand out on their applications through real-life experience.

Your Physician Assistant Shadowing Placement

The value of shadowing experience as an aspiring physician assistant is increasingly recognised, both to help you to make strong, well-informed decisions about your future career path, and to equip you with knowledge and understanding to help you stand out during the selection process in this hugely competitive field.

The Gap Medics program pairs students at various stages of their pre physician assistant journey with medical doctors to directly observe all aspects of their day-to-day clinical work. A typical day begins with reporting to your mentor for a short briefing, then accompanying him or her either on ward rounds, in outpatient clinics, or into the O.R. if you’re on a surgical placement. You are not required to have any clinical training or experience, as the program is entirely observational – but if you do have, your mentor will take this into consideration and adapt the experience to your skill level.

This program sits alongside our pre-med shadowing program, so a single Gap Medics placement can serve you well if you’re considering both potential paths (both are mentored primarily by medical doctors).

Depending on which program location you choose (Croatia, Dominican Republic, or if you’re organising for a group Thailand or Africa) you’re likely to be able to experience either a specialist medical environment (such as trauma or maternity), or a more general hospital setting to give a broader overview. Whatever your requirements, our expert Placement Advisors are here to help and give you advice to get on the most appropriate program for you.

Audrey Kelly

I had some fascinating conversations about the social elements involving medicine with my mentors. If you have the opportunity to go on a Gap Medics placement, do it! It really helped put me on the right track for applying for medical school. You won’t regret it.

Alex Pasculle

I would recommend Gap Medics to any student thinking of a career in healthcare. This internship was much more than a way to strengthen my medical school application. It was a once and a lifetime opportunity that not only allowed me to receive real medical experience, but gave me a brand new outlook on a career in medicine.

Seongwoo Jeong

I particularly liked the weekend adventures organized by the in-country team… especially as it meant I was able to spend time bathing and riding elephants! The people I met while on placement were from all over the world and shared my passion for medicine. It was incredible to experience the culture with them and I keep in touch with quite a few of them today!

Kiera Hardy

Not only was the hospital placement fantastic, but the staff members at Gap Medics made the placement unforgettable. Since completing the programme, I have secured a place to study medicine, and I definitely believe my experience at Gap Medics helped. My time overseas was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Grant Rutledge

Despite the lack of resources, the doctors I shadowed were determined to do their best and fight for the most positive outcome for their patients. They worked well with what they had and were very keen to pass on their knowledge to us. Being able to take advantage of this learning opportunity was something I was extremely grateful for.

The Famous Gap Medics Social Life!

Your time in the hospital shadowing physicians can be an intense experience, especially in a foreign country – but our support service and the social side of our program make it a whole lot less daunting.

Wherever you go, you’ll live in one of our own safe, secure and super friendly Gap Medics houses. Rooms are shared with students of the same gender, which is a great way to help you quickly form friendships you’ll keep for years to come, and the lively atmosphere around the social areas and gardens with private swimming pools is a huge part of what makes our programs so popular.

Around half our students come from the United States, with the rest coming from the UK, Australia, and many other countries around the world. As well as that peer support, every program has a dedicated Gap Medics staff team made up of passionate local people under the leadership of an experienced Program Manager. From the person who meets you at the airport, to the Chef who cooks your meals and the Student Coordinator who will personally introduce you to your hospital mentors – all are part of the Gap Medics family.

Our Ethics

Gap Medics is a proudly ethical business, and we take seriously our opportunity – our responsibility – to contribute to the communities in which we work.

It’s very important to us that our partner hospitals gain real benefit from the program, and part of the fee you pay goes directly to them. This extra income stream is a huge help to hospitals that often struggle with under-funding, allowing them to buy equipment, medicines, beds, and even employ extra staff as a direct result of receiving students.

We pass on a further proportion of your fee to the individual doctor who personally mentors you each week, as an important recognition of their value to the program. In hospitals where funding limitations often mean losing the best health professionals to private practice or the draw of better pay overseas, the extra income our mentors receive has a real impact in retaining talent to serve the local population.

Our Operations Managers put a great deal of focus on professional ethics when working with our partner hospitals to ensure that the presence of students doesn’t compromise safety (their own or other people’s) or patient care. Placements are strictly observational, except where the supervising clinician allows students to undertake activities that do not require specialist training (such as taking blood pressures) under close supervision.

We also believe passionately in respecting and taking care of our natural environment, and that influences every operational decision we take. We are gradually converting as many of our houses as we can to solar energy and installing reverse osmosis water purifiers to cut the use of plastic water bottles. We use fresh, local, seasonal ingredients in the food we cook wherever possible, and some of our houses already compost our food waste to feed the garden to grow more.

Get involved!

Our program is designed with the flexibility to fit around the other commitments of busy pre-health students who join us from all over the world. Placements are available starting any week of the year, and you can choose to spend from one week to as long as you like (most students choose between two and four weeks).

Apply using our simple online Application Form, and you can pay the Registration Fee ($450) securely online to immediately secure a position on our waiting list. One of our expert Placement Advisors will then contact you by phone or email to confirm your placement, guide you through the next steps of the process, and get you set up on our online preparation portal, My Gap Medics.

If we do not have availability for your preferred destination and dates, we’ll work with you to find an alternative option – or refund your Registration Fee in full if we are unable to offer you a placement at all. Please bear in mind that our programs are very popular, especially between May and August, so the earlier in advance you can apply the more likely you are to get your first choice.

The remaining cost of your placement depends on the destination you choose and number of weeks (see our Prices page). This covers a comprehensive package that includes your hospital placement, professional mentoring, global health tutorials, accommodation in our own Gap Medics House, food prepared fresh by our in-house Chef and personal support from our friendly team every step of the way.