Volunteer Patients (commonly referred to as VP’s) play an integral role in the delivery of Medical education. The volunteer patient program provides an opportunity for people of all ages, genders, physical conditions, and backgrounds to participate in the education process of the medical students in the Northern Medical Program. Being a VP can be very rewarding and it is a vital component to the success of our students!
Who can be a VP and what can I expect?
Anyone can be a VP! You just need to be comfortable being a teaching model for a group of students and having several people perform repeated, non-invasive, physical exams and also being asked questions about your health, family and lifestyle.
As a VP you may be asked to wear a hospital gown but you won’t be asked to do anything painful or intrusive. You will be fully informed about what will happen and you will provide your consent prior to participating.
VP’s can spend anywhere from 1 to 3 hours in a clinical setting at the University Hospital of Northern BC with up to 4 to 8 medical students, under the watchful eye of their physician tutor. The VP is there to allow the student to learn about a particular body system. Examples would be the heart and circulation, the shoulder and elbow, head and neck, etc.
What types of patients volunteer for the NMP?
There are two types of VP’s, those who are “healthy” and have no obvious signs and symptoms of a medical condition (patient without findings) and those that do have a medical condition and have obvious signs and symptoms (patient with findings).
It is important to have both types of patients so our medical students can learn baseline physical examinations on a VP with no findings and then perform the same exams on patients with findings so that they can see how different medical conditions can present on the various body systems.
If you or someone you know is living with any of these conditions, we would like to hear from you.