School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care

Volunteer patient program FAQ

These are some of the questions commonly asked by people interested in taking part in the volunteer patient program.

  1. Will the student examine me?
  2. What types of physical examination will be done?
  3. Will I have to remove my clothing?
  4. Is my previous health history important?
  5. How often will I be required?
  6. What else should I know about being a volunteer patient?
  7. Do I need to be an actor?
  8. How will my personal information be treated by the students?
  9. Will I be paid?

Will the student examine me?

For some teaching sessions we do ask you to allow the student to examine you. For other sessions this is not required. We will let you know before each teaching session what to expect.

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What type of physical examination will be done?

Students will perform focused physical examinations based on the patient case. These examinations may include:

  • listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope
  • pressing on the abdomen, neck, face and limbs
  • using an instrument to look in the ears, eyes, nose and throat
  • taking pulse and blood pressure
  • checking muscle strength, reflexes, range of motion and gait.

At no time are invasive procedures performed – for example, blood draw, X-ray, throat cultures. At no time are intimate examinations performed – breast, pelvic, rectal. Each session is conducted under the supervision of a doctor.

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Will I have to remove my clothing?

On some occasions males will be requested to wear loose-fitting shorts or boxers and females to wear a camisole or sleeveless top where there is a need to examine the abdomen, thigh area or lower back.

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Is my previous health history important?

Yes. Some sessions in fact require patients who match a medical case. We are seeking individuals with a history of:

  • joint pain or arthritis affecting the shoulder, hip, knee, neck or lower back
  • neurological conditions including past history of stroke, Parkinson’s disease or other conditions affecting muscle strength and sensation
  • heart conditions including heart murmurs, heart valve replacements, pulse irregularities
  • lung conditions or past abdominal surgery
to name a few.

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How often will I be required?

Sessions are scheduled according to student needs and program requirements.

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What else should I know about being a volunteer patient?

Sometimes we will ask you ‘act’ out a role. We describe this teaching method as a simulated patient session.You must be able to respond like a real patient would and be able to maintain a patient’s character and possibly simulate a physical condition. You may need to repeat tasks many times in succession without change.

Being a simulated patient can take energy, concentration and good communication skills. You need to be comfortable discussing personal health issues.

Strong verbal communication skills are required. Punctuality, reliability and flexibility are also important.

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Do I need to be an actor?

No, although many actors work as volunteer patients. The focus is on providing the student with an educational opportunity, not a performance or dramatic interpretation.

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How will my personal information be treated by the students?

Medical students are subjected to the same legal requirements of confidentiality and professionalism as doctors. This is an area of the curriculum which is strongly reinforced, monitored and assessed.

Sometimes we may take images or recordings of a teaching session to help us develop our teaching materials. We would never take images or recordings of our sessions without first acquiring your consent and we would also seek your consent and permission before publishing or distributing the images or recordings.

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Will I be paid?

For some teaching sessions we are able to make a small payment as a token of our appreciation.

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School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care

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Last updated:
Thursday, 1 October, 2015 1:07 PM

http://www.sparhc.uwa.edu.au/2625119