Physician Assistant Shadowing For High School Students

Our high school student physician assistant observation placements are intended for students aged 16 and 17 to gain valuable first-hand experience shadowing medical doctors in hospitals. The program is suited to students with serious aspirations to pursue physician assistant careers, and those considering it as a potential alternative to medicine.

We have start dates available throughout the year on our residential programs in Europe and the Caribbean, with options to learn on a dedicated high school student program (for under 18s only) or join one of our integrated programs that allow you to share some aspects of the experience with pre-health college students.

Having hosted well over 10,000 students since 2010, we are recognised as a world-leader in pre-health student shadowing experiences with a passionate commitment to ethical practice.

Your Physician Assistant Hospital Placement

This is a “work experience” program, designed specifically to show you first hand what the reality of working in a complex hospital environment is like. The heart of the program is the pairing between student and mentor, and you’ll be matched with a medical doctor or other appropriate health professional to supervise and guide you through the experience.

From the first morning, you’ll be in your scrubs alongside your mentor, in clinics, inpatient wards, or possibly the emergency room or operating room. Whatever patient needs your mentor has to respond to, you will get to observe first hand. It’s an intense experience, and that’s deliberate – both to maximise the value of a short placement, and to give you a taste of what being a professional P.A. or doctor is like.

Our most popular program is in the Dominican Republic, an easy flight from the United States and offering the widest range of medical and surgical cases to observe. Between May and September, this operates as an exclusive high school program just for 16 and 17 year olds.

Our program in Croatia offers an experience of European medicine in a more Western environment, and is integrated year round, meaning that it hosts both high school and college students. This can be a great way to learn more about what it’s like to follow a pre-physician-assistant track through college from students who are a couple of years on from you, and of course we always maintain age-appropriate 24-hour supervision and separate sleeping areas etc.

Betsy Higgins

My placement was a wonderful experience and everyone was very kind and willing to teach me. I was even called in for a night shift surgery to observe two doctors perform a bone repair on a teenager my age. Thank you Gap Medics for such a wonderful experience.

Isabel Chan

In my opinion, there is no other medical internship program that could provide you with such an insightful and valuable medical experience, especially when you are young. Besides the hospital component of the trip, the fact that we got to explore Warsaw was genuinely amazing. I made lifelong friends from different parts of the world and I loved that we shared similar interests.

Barnabas Mealing

This was an amazing experience and worth the money entirely. I met so many nice people and learned so much from placement. It was a trip that I will never forget, with so many memories that I will cherish forever. I could not recommend this more.

Tara Pianko

The minute I got off the plane and was greeted by the Gap Medics staff, I knew I was in safe hands. I could not have been more impressed with the accommodation! The property was bright, spacious and very clean. Now to the best part of Gap Medics…the placement! I was able to witness and participate in things I never thought possible.

Chloe James

I didn’t know what to expect when I first booked onto the programme and was so nervous to go, as I had never travelled alone. But I’m so glad I did it, as I got to shadow the most friendly staff and learnt so much from seeing very interesting operations and procedures. When I got there the staff made me feel so welcome – they are all so lovely and chatty.

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.