Office of Observation and Learning Experience (OLE) FAQs

Find answers to some frequently asked questions about the Office of Observation and Learning Experience (OLE) below.

Can you help me find a sponsor or preceptor?

No. The learner should contact UK HealthCare professionals directly or work with a program coordinator to acquire a sponsor or preceptor. The UK HealthCare services page provides a variety of information that may be helpful.

May I begin my learning experience prior to submitting all requirements or acquiring my badge?

No. You may only begin your learning experience after all requirements have been submitted, you have received approval from OLE, and you have acquired the appropriate badges.

I’ve been processed before. Can you use my existing information?

Maybe. Submit your request and OLE will pull your file, confirm participation eligibility, and discern if additional documentation is required.

What is the onboarding timeline?

Allow 3+ weeks. Onboarding requests are responded to within 48 business hours.  Verification of submitted onboarding documents is about 2 weeks.  Badge processing is 1-3 days.   

What is the difference between an ID badge and a companion badge?

An ID badge showcases the learner’s name and photograph, while the companion badge clearly states the role of the learner as an observer, student, or research learner. All learners must wear both an ID badge and a companion badge during their experience.

Companion badges extended by partnering areas will state: medical student, medical observer, nursing student, physician assistant student.

What if my learner doesn't have a companion badge?

Contact OLE or the appropriate partner area (COM, Nursing Staff Development, Physician Assistant Studies). All learners are extended a companion badge after required documentation has been received and verified; it must be worn at all times during the learning experience.

What is the difference between an “observer” and a “student?”

An observer is an individual (student or non-student) who is observing only. This may also be referred to as “shadowing”. Observing does not include the following: direct patient care; hospital or ambulatory privileges; providing consultation or advice related to patient care; and performing work related activities.

A student is an individual who is engaging in activities beyond observing as part of their learning experience and for academic credit or training requirements. A student may observe as part of their learning experience; however, a student is also granted the privilege of doing more than observing as long as those activities are pertinent to their formal education.

How long may I observe?

Generally, six months. If you are observing for course credit or program participation, then you may observe as long as required and as approved by OLE. If you are observing for another reason such as personal interest or for medical school applications, you are granted a total of six months to observe.

May I submit another request to observe after my first observation is complete?

Yes. You may always submit a request. However, individuals may not exceed six months of observation for personal experience. Your file will be pulled to ensure the request is not in conflict of policy.

May I have more than one sponsor or preceptor at a time?

Yes. Be sure to provide OLE with the names and contact information of all sponsors and preceptors for approval.

Do I need to meet the immunization requirements if I’m not entering a patient care area within UK HealthCare?

Yes. The immunization documentation is required for all learners entering the UK HealthCare enterprise.

May I decline any of the required immunizations?

Maybe. Declination or exemptions must be for medical contraindications or religious beliefs. All requests must be submitted to the UK University Health Services office via an online process. Please reach out to the OLE office for additional information.

Are Tdap, Dtap, and TD the same thing?

No. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) is a vaccine for adolescents and adults that protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Dtap and Td are different and do not fulfill the immunization requirement. Tdap was first recommended in 2005.

Does OLE pay for background checks and drug screens?

No. The cost of screens is borne by the learner. Some learners may be affiliated with a program that covers the associated costs.

Does UK HealthCare pay for parking?

No. UK HealthCare does not pay for parking. However, you are provided with the opportunity to acquire a parking pass for select areas of campus through UK parking and transportation services.