Approval Process for Clinical Observers

A clinical observer is usually someone with the U.S. equivalent of an M.D. degree who is invited by a UT Southwestern clinical faculty member to watch clinical procedures in the University Hospitals or Ambulatory Clinic setting for the purpose of advancing personal knowledge in the field of medicine. Clinical observers may only shadow or “round” with the sponsoring clinical faculty member or his/her delegate, and may not touch or interact with patients. The duration of any authorized clinical observation is limited (see Observer Grid, below.)

It is common for international medical graduates to come to the U.S. for clinical observation under a B-1 Visitor for Business visa classification. The sponsoring faculty member can provide an invitation letter to facilitate B-1 visa issuance. However, under UT Southwestern policy, individuals who otherwise qualify may be cleared for these activities without regard for their nonimmigrant visa classification.

Rarely, a prospective international visitor will be required by the funding entity or home country government to visit UT Southwestern with a J-1 Research Scholar visa classification. If this is the case then in addition to the following steps for authorization to observe, the sponsoring department and prospective observer must also complete the J-1 Checklist documentation. For more information about visa procedures contact the Office of International Affairs.


For details regarding who may be authorized to engage in clinical observation at UT Southwestern please review:

Approval Process for Prospective Clinical Observers

1. UT Southwestern clinical faculty member wishes to host an international observer

2. Faculty member or support personnel in sponsoring department review HSO-153 Observers in Patient Care Areas and Observer Grid to determine:

  • a. Whether the individual meets UT Southwestern observation requirements
  • b. Which area(s) must provide the necessary approval:
    • i. For observation in hospital/operating rooms call the Department of Clinical Education and Professional Practice, 214-633-4590
    • ii. For observation in UT Southwestern clinics, see Observers in Ambulatory Clinics (MyUTSW site; UTSW password required)

3. Initiate approval request based on instructions from the relevant area(s)

4. Once the request to observe is approved, submit a PeopleSoft HCM “Add a New Person (Not Recruited)” form so an ID number and badge may be issued.

    • i. Relationship should be Observer
    • ii. Job Code is OBS
    • iii. Expected End Date –  Best practice is to enter the end date of the observation period (usually 30 days or less) so that the form automatically expires

5. When the HCM form is fully approved and the visitor has arrived, access the Employee ID number in PeopleSoft HCM and coordinate with Human Resources to have a UTSW badge issued for the visitor.