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Observation Hours

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Observation Hours Process
for Therapy Programs (PT, OT or Speech) or Radiologic Sciences Programs (Radiography, Sonography and Radiation Therapy)

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is pleased to provide opportunities for students applying to programs that require observation hours as part of their application process. Please note, this program is ONLY for individuals who have imminent plans to apply to a program within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences that requires observation hours. This program is not intended to provide shadowing experiences or to be considered volunteer service.

We currently have observation opportunities in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, radiology, sonography and radiation therapy at a variety of locations. It is students’ obligation to know their programs' requirements and to obtain the documentation form(s) the program requires prior to the start of observation hours. 

We can accommodate a limited number of students; therefore, we encourage students to begin the observation process at least six months in advance of their application date. We cannot guarantee that we can provide all of the hours a student wants or requires.

Process to Obtain Observation Hours:

  1. Review the available opportunities in therapy (PT, OT and speech), radiologic sciences (radiography or radiation therapy) and makes contact with the observation staff member directly).
  2. If your first choice cannot accept you, then contact your next choice, and so on. If a site can accept you, they will e-mail Volunteer Services that you have been accepted.
  3. Once Volunteer Services receives confirmation that you have been accepted, you will receive an e-mail with further information including the application, self-study orientation, and TB screening requirements.
  4. Complete the requirements as outlined in the email. When completed, come to Volunteer Services (157 Doan Hall, 410 W. 10th Avenue) any business day between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to turn in paperwork and receive an Observer badge. The student is now considered an observer.
  5. Volunteer Services will e-mail the observer and the staff member that the observer is cleared for observing. It is the observer’s obligation to contact the staff member to arrange an observation schedule if one has not already been set. 


    The observers are responsible for knowing their program’s requirements and obtaining documentation forms prior to beginning observation hours. The observers are responsible for ensuring documentation forms are completed concurrent with observation experiences. The Observation Site Contact cannot and should not be asked to re-create documentation after-the-fact. 

    In addition, observers are asked to log observation hours for Medical Center purposes. Depending on the observation site, Observers will either be using a computerized time clock or paper time sheets. Information on timekeeping will be provided by the Volunteer Office. Please note, in most cases our records will NOT be sufficient for application purposes.

    Required Dress Code for Observers

    Observers will be interacting with patients, families and staff and therefore must look professional. The following guidelines must be followed:

    Pants: Wear nice pants. No jeans, shorts, scrub bottoms or athletic pants. Pants should not have holes, drag on the ground or be excessively baggy. 

    Tops: Males should wear a shirt with a collar; a short-sleeved golf shirt is fine. Women should wear a blouse or top with sleeves. Tops should not be low-cut, sheer, off-the-shoulder, show the midriff or have any sayings on them. 

    Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes. Clean athletic shoes are acceptable. No sandals or Crocs with holes. Socks must be worn.

    Jewelry/Piercings: Observers may not have more than two piercings per ear. Facial piercing jewelry (e.g. eyebrow, tongue, lip, etc.) is prohibited. Facial nose piercing is not allowed unless: It is small enough to be covered with a band-aid. If a nose ring is worn for religious purposes, the observer must supply the manager with proper documentation to support this.

    Parking fees are the responsibility of the observer. Driving directions and parking information are available by clicking here.

    If you have questions about this process, contact University Hospitals Volunteer Services at Margaret.High-Thomas@osumc.edu  or 614-293-8653.