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About the Program

About the program

Our goal is to program provide a hands-on learning for future doctors, nurses, occupational and physical therapy students in a controlled environment. Faculty of Health Sciences clinical instructors use our teaching centres (Clinical Education Centre and the Clinical Teaching Centre) to offer creative clinical education that is based on patient-centered care.

The CEC enhances traditional opportunities for students to learn and develop their clinical and communication skills in a unique experiential. Key to our success is the role of Kingston citizens who willingly participate. Since its inception in 1972 as the Clinical Learning Centre, Kingston community volunteers have been helping to teach the health science students in a fully accessible facility specifically designed to replicate a variety of hospital and community-based clinical settings.

The teaching and learning connection between the participants and students is condensed through a variety of opportunities where the students practice their clinical and communication skills (i.e., histories, interviews, and/or physical examinations) and the Volunteer Patients (VP) share their authentic information. Students may ask the volunteers questions regarding health history, daily routine, psychosocial aspects of their lives or family background. This questioning can be very personal. The volunteers are in control of the depth of information they are willing to provide and are not obligated in any way to talk about matters they do not wish to share. Bound by the health professional’s Code of Ethics, volunteers can be assured that all information is kept in the strictest of confidence.

This type of participation is in contrast to our Standardized Patients (SP) who learn a role or character and portray it during their interactions with students. An SP might learn a number of characters throughout the academic year and is never expected to share their own health history with our learners.

Who are Volunteer Patients?

Volunteer Patients (VP) are “real” people who allow health science students to interview them about their health, family and lifestyle; or to conduct non-invasive physical examinations. They provide valuable feedback and are key in students developing their clinical and communication skills. They:

  • Are people of any age (infants, youth, adolescents or older adults)
  • Are from all walks of life
  • May be healthy or living with an illness or disability

What is a Standardized Patient?

Standardized Patients are a group of diverse community members who learn a role or present a specific condition and allow health science students to conduct interviews or physical assessments based on specific learning outcomes. This is a paid position and SPs are expected to provide feedback and stay "in character" when interacting with the students. Our SPs:

  • Are people of 16 years of age and older
  • Are from all walks of life and experiences
  • May be healthy or living with an illness or disability

How often would I come in?

As a participant in our patient programs, you would receive an orientation tour of the Centre, be asked to fill out an application and sign a Consent Form. This usually takes about an hour.

During the academic year (September to November and January to April), SP/VP Patients are matched to sessions and course requirements. Scheduling is done at the participants convenience and the type of session for which they are best suited.

Must I participate in physical examinations?

No, you decide what sessions you would feel comfortable doing.

Do patient sessions involve diagnosis or treatment?

These learning sessions are not a substitute for care, advice or treatment. Our students are at the very early stages of their learning and are not ready to perform these skills.

How do I get involved?

If you are interested in becoming a Patient Participant, please contact hscelp@queensu.ca.