Professional Observation Days
PROFESSIONAL OBSERVATION DAYS (PODs)
The POD Program is designed to enable Polk State College students to explore the many career options that exist within a career category or area of interest by offering guidelines to assist both the student and the POD site staff.
A student may choose to pursue a POD within a meta-major or within a specific career area. The POD may be completed in successive days or intermittently, depending on the student’s needs and the sites scheduled for the POD. There is no minimum or maximum to the number of PODs a student may pursue as long as the POD guidelines are followed.
The POD may be completed as a for-credit course activity, or may be completed to meet the student’s individual needs, such as networking, career exploration, or career planning.
Examples of PODS:
- Meta-major POD: Social and behavioral sciences and human services:
- Agency – Social Worker/case manager
- Public Schools – Speech-Language Pathologist
- Hospital – Patient Education
- Clinic – Mental Health counselor
In the meta-major POD the student might be shadowing a variety of different professionals in a variety of work environments.
- Program/major POD: Healthcare Administration:
- Non-medical health and wellness provider (e.g., Eye Clinic)
- Public health agency (e.g., Polk County Health Department)
- Hospital (e.g., LRMC)
- Clinic (e.g., Bond Clinic)
- Long Term Care (e.g., Life Care Center SNF)
- Other (e.g., Dental office)
In the program/major POD the student would be shadowing a specific type of professional, but in a variety of potential work environments.
* This educational experience is for observation and is not an internship.
POD Suggested Activity
Students who are completing PODs should be dressed professionally and in accordance with attire guidelines for the setting. In some cases, personal protective gear may be required (protective eyewear, etc.), and students are expected to comply with those safety requirements.
Students may observe activity, tour a facility, sit in on meetings, or participate in non-technical activities that provide an example of the organization’s work. Students may even attend orientation to gain a broader perspective of how the organization operates.
Students should follow all site policies, which may include but are not limited to: arriving on-time; following any safety guidelines as posted or instructed, and behaving professionally at all times.
Students should not perform any technical work on a POD.
Students may observe, but should not verbally participate in meetings unless asked for their input.
Students may take notes but should be aware of and compliant with any confidentiality policies during and after their POD.
Students should be mindful of business etiquette at all times.
If a student’s presence is disruptive in any way, he/she may be asked to leave
POD Suggested Interview questions
Students may have an opportunity to ask questions of a professional while on site for a POD. Examples of questions that might be helpful include:
- What skills do you find to be the most critical or important in your line of work?
- What college classes were the most helpful to you as you look back on your education?
- What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing this as a career?
- Do you perceive a gap in skills with new hires, and if so what are they and how can a student or new graduate fill that gap for themselves?
- What do you find to be the best part of your job?
- What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?
- If you chose a different line of work, what would it be?
You may not use your POD visit to solicit for a job or an internship. Additionally, you should keep any/all questions professional and career-focused. Furthermore, students should not ask questions about pay or on anything that could be considered to be of a personal nature.
You will be asked to sign a POD waiver when going to any work site.
If you are completing a POD as part of coursework, you may need to document your observation hours and have them validated by your POD site contact.
It is good practice to send a “thank you” note to your POD site contact following your visit.